Chinese Car Brands That Time Forgot: Hunan Provincial Automobile Factory – Xiangjiang

Photo by Erik van Ingen Schenau

Today in Chinese Car Brands That Time Forgot (CCBTTF): Xiangjiang, a small but very special brand that made a series of station wagons and pickup trucks in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

The Xiangjiang brand was owned by a company called the Hunan Provincial Automobile Factory. The company’s logo showed a styled ‘H’ and ‘N’ connected by a white globe. Global ambitions..? The company was based in Shaoyang City in, you guessed it, Hunan Province.

Xiangjiang used two designations: HQC for the earlier models, and HQ for the later ones.

HQ 141

The company was founded in 1969 as an auto-repair shop. Their first vehicle debuted in the late 1970’s. It was a truck called the Xiangjiang HQ 141, a Jiefang CA10 look-alike.

HQ 140

In the early 1980’s the company made a deal with Dongfeng Motors to produce trucks. They were sold under the Dongfeng and Xiangjiang names. The HQ 140 was available in endless variations, ranging from tanker to dump truck.

In 1990 the company started making passenger cars next to its line of trucks. Their first car was the:

HQC 6460

The HQC 6460 was a large wagon that could carry 8 persons. The first row had two seats, the second row three. That adds up to five. There wasn’t a third row in the back but two benches, facing each other. Apparently, these two benches could seat three more persons.

The HQC 6460 was based on the platform of the BAW BJ2032C, a pickup truck, and powered by the BAW 492QA2 engine. Output was rated at 84 hp. Gearbox was a five-speed manual. The HQC 6460 was available with rear-wheel drive and with four-wheel drive. Top speed is the former was 112 km/h, the latter could go to 105 km/h.

Size: 4620/1780/1856, and wheelbase was 2750.

This is an photo from a period factory brochure, showing the HQC 6460 in fields of yellow flowers. The original owner of the brochure wrote the price on the photo: 57.000 yuan.

The interior photos are from the same brochure. The show a simple dashboard with a large one-spoke steering wheel.

This one appears to be a 4WD variant. Seats are covered with cloth and look very comfortable. Gear lever and handbrake with red knobs. Radio in the center of the dashboard. Red door upholstery very nice.

Image top-right shows the benches in the back.

Like most automakers of the time Xiangjiang developed many government variants of its cars, like these two law-enforcement vehicles.

HQC 1020S

The HQC 1020 was a four-door pickup truck based on the HQC 6460 with a short bed. Same engine as the HQC 6460, but only rear-wheel drive. It could take five passengers plus 300 kilo of stuff. Top speed was 112 km/h.

Size: 4755/1780/1770, and wheelbase was 2750. Size of the bed: 1430/1615/450.

HQC 1030

The HQC 1020 was a two-door pickup truck based on the HQC 6460 with a longer bed. Same engine again, rear wheel drive. Top speed was 112 km/h.

Size: 4650/1780/1770, and wheelbase was 2750. Size of the bed: 2150/1615/450.

These are official factory numbers but I am not totally sure about the wheelbase of the HQC 1030. It seems shorter than 2750, which is exactly the same wheelbase as the HQC 1020S and the HQC 6460.

A line of brand new pickup trucks, fresh from the factory.

HQ 6460A

The HQ 6460A was another big wagon. It was based on the same chassis as the HQ 6460 but it had a far more modern design. The big Xiangjiang badge was replaced by a simple Hunan Provincial logo in a red frame in the middle of the grille, and the word ‘Hunan’ on the left side.

Power came from the BAW 492QA2 engine, with output rated at 84 hp.

A very wild looking law enforcement vehicle.

Even though the HQC 6460A was a newer car the good old HQC 6460 was not retired. Both cars were sold alongside each other. Chinese car makers, then and now, just can’t retire any old cars. Price was 76.000 yuan.

HQ 6460B

The HQ 6460B was a modernized variant of the HQ 6460A. But again, it was not a replacement of anything. It was sold alongside the A and alongside the 6460. It had a good looking grille with the Hunan badge in the middle. Note the incredible tiny mirrors, common for Chinese cars of this period.

Likely a high end variant, with speedy wheel covers and black wheel arches.

The HQ 6460B stood on the same chassis once more but it was slightly longer: 4695/1780/1750, wheelbase 2750. Power came from another variant of the BAW 492 engine, designated 492QC-2. Output however was still 84 hp, and top speed still 112 km/h. The HQ 6460B has seven seats divided over three rows,it didn’t have benches like the HQ 6460.

Price in the early 1990’s was 86.900 yuan, and that was rather steep for its day.

And those were the cars that were sold under the Xiangjiang brand of the Hunan Provincial Automobile Factory.

Many thanks to Erik for the old street pictures. Other sources: period brochures, China Auto 1988, Automobile Technical parameter handbook (1993).