A Hongqi CA7202 A9E3L2 Century Star parade car, painted in a beautiful shade of red. The parade car is based on the Hongqi CA7202 Century Star sedan, which in turn was based on the C3 Audi 100.
The Audi 100 was made in China by the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture from 1988 to 1999, alongside the more luxurious Audi 200.
FAW, or First Auto Works, is also the owner of the Hongqi (Red Flag) brand. Under a deal with Volkswagen the Chinese manufactured various Hongqi-branded sedans based on the Audi 100 and 200. Production started in 1996 and ended all the way up in 2005.
However, they didn’t do just sedans. Hongqi also came up with a wild range of station cars, pickup trucks, stretched limousines, and parade cars. Today we take a look at the latter. Hongqi made eight parade car variants
The early parade parade cars were powered by the CA4GE 2.2 liter four-cylinder with 99 hp. This engine was made by FAW and based on an Audi design. The later parade cars were powered by a Nissan-sourced VG20 2.0 liter V6 with 123 horses.
The Audi-based Hongqi parade cars were never used in the traditional way, like for military parades or for parading foreign guests-of-honor around town. The Audi-based cars were apparently considered to humble for that! Instead, they were mostly used to parade sportsmen, astronauts, and local B-level dignitaries (directors of festivals, etc). Exact production numbers are hard to find, as usual, but in total no more than a dozen cars were ever build.
The length of the base Hongqi sedan was 4793 mm and wheelbase was 2687. There were three main variants of the parade car:
1. standard-wheelbase parade car.
2. short-extended wheelbase parade car. Wheelbase extended by 232 millimeter to 2919; bringing length to 5025.
3. long-extended wheelbase parade car. Wheelbase extended by 520 millimeter to 3207; bringing length to 5313.
The CA7220 A9El2A2 debuted in July 1998 and was the first Audi-based Hongqi parade car. It was based on the Hongqi CA7220 sedan, in turn based on the Audi 100. The CA7220 A9EL2A2 was extended by 52 centimeters in the middle.
It was painted in black and ‘Laser Red’, which, according to Hongqi, was a temporarily Ford color. And indeed it was! Ford used the Laser Red color on the fourth generation Mustang. I doubt Ford ever expected that anybody, anywhere, would use that race shade for a giant parade car.
The CA7220 A9EL2A2 at Dongfeng Square in front of the main gate to the FAW factory complex in Changchun, Jilin Province.
Note the handle bar fitted in the middle of the gray leather interior. The person-paraded would hold the handle with one hand while waving to the masses with the other. There was no convertible roof, the cover at the back is just an empty cover; if it started to rain they only option was an umbrella. Power came from the 2.2 liter four. Only one example was made.
The CA7220 A9E was an unusual parade car; it did not have an extended wheelbase and was fitted with a body kit including a rear spoiler! A sporty parade car this was, completely painted in red, but it seems to be another shade than Laser Red. There isn’t any handlebar, but it does have a roll bar. It seems this car was intended more as a convertible than as a parade car. The interior has white leather seats, and the sun visors are white as well!
Only one example was made and as far as I know it was never actually used. Power came once again from the 2.2 liter four.
The CA7220 A9EL1 was basically a short-long wheelbase version of the CA7220 A9EL2A2. It was extended by 23.2 centimeters instead of by 52. It is again painted in black and red, but this time fitted with very sporty five-spoke alloys. Hongqi also said it had a “double-speaker” system. The seats are covered with beige leather. Just one car was made.
The CA7220 A9EL2 arrived in September 1998, seen here again at Dongfeng Square, with proud factory workers. Two totally red examples were made for duty during the 1998 Shanghai Rose Festival, a big national-festival flower show. Wheelbase was extended by 52 centimeters.
The CA7220 A9El2 was the first Audi-based Hongqi parade car fitted with a real convertible roof. Handy for Shanghai’s rainy climate! It was however not an easy roof to fit, especially as there was no B-pillar. It was also the first car with side windows that could go up, the earlier cars didn’t have side windows at all.
The CA7220 A9E was a one-off made for the 1999 Kunming World Expo in Sichuan Province. It was a standard-wheelbase car with a thin B-pillar to support the roof. Interestingly, at the time Hongqi claimed the roof-mechanism was imported from the United States. The CA7220 A9E was painted in banana-yellow and fitted with standard Hongqi wheels.
CA7220 A9EL2 cabrio-coach
This CA7220 A9EL2 is probably the most interesting parade car. It was a cabrio-coach type, with a full-side frame and a retractable textile roof. It had a beautiful red-beige leather interior, with the handle bar standing on a beige beam. The car is painted in silver and stands on the sporty five-spoke alloys. It appears to be the most ‘designed’ of the parade cars, with more attention to detail then usual. It was extended by the full 520 millimeter.
CA7202 A9E3L2 Century Star
The CA7202 A9EL3L2 Century Star debuted in 2001, based on the CA7202 Century Star sedan. This is the only Audi-based Hongqi parade car that was build in ‘significant’ numbers, at least four examples hit the road between 2001 and 2005. Two known colors: red and black. It was again extended by 520 millimeter. Power came from the Nissan 2.0 V6.
The CA7202 A9EL3L2 Century Star was very pretty inside. The handle bar was located on a separator, with wood inlay and two speakers. The floor was covered in red and the seats were beige leather.
A black example in action, on military license plates and driven by soldiers. There are flowers on the bonnet and the Chinese flag hangs on the pole. The lucky men paraded are none other than Chinese astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisgeng, the crew of the Shenzhou 6 manned space mission. They wear their blue space uniforms, complete with white gloves. Parading astronauts after successful space flight is still common in China.
This a a normal-wheelbase police parade car based on the Century Star sedan. I do not know the designation. In the mid 2000’s Chinese police decided it wanted a more ‘visible’ presence on the road.
One of the things they did was to field patrols with open-top vehicles, manned by armed policemen with helmets on. Most of these open-top cars were based on 4×4’s, but in Jilin Provnce, home of Hongqi, they went for the Century Star! It looks very nice on police colors, complete with white-wall tires. Behind it a line of three Century Star sedans.
The police car was the last of the Audi-based Hongqi parade cars. Next time: the wagons.