Today in Chinese Car Brands That Time Forgot (CCBTTF™):Guangzhou Yunbao. Guangzhou Yunbao was a car manufacturer based in then Huadu city, now a part of Guangzhou, lying in the northern part of the city., Guangdong Province. They made several cars, all of them connected to Nissan in some way, for most of the 1990’s.
Yunbao was set up using technology and equipment from lots of foreign companies from all around the world, including Japan, the USA and France. For a list please scroll down to the bottom of this article. One of Yunbao’s early goals was to set up an extensive local supply network in China to reduce dependency on imported products with the first target being a local parts content of 40%, though no clear deadline for this target can be found.
Yunbao’s operations covered an area of 1.75 million square meters with a total production area of 60 thousand square meters. It is obvious then that they had plenty of room for expansion. 8,000 cars were produced in the years up to 1994, with 1800 of those being produced in 1994.
Users of Yunbao’s vehicles, including private buyers and government agencies apparently spoke highly of Yunbao’s products and indeed Yunbao was looking towards becoming a major player in China’s automotive market in the 21st century, something that they didn’t get to do unfortunately as in the late 1990’s, Yunbao was taken over by Dongfeng Motors who rebranded Yunbao as Fengshen and thus some of their products continued to be made under the new name Fengshen Motors with Yulon motors. Fengshen continues to this day as a sub brand of Dongfeng and the original factory site is still in use.
Of note is the fact that Yunbao produced their own engine for use in some of their cars – the 6v87q – a V6 of around 3 liter displacement making somewhere around 100 kW. This engine appears to have only been used in the YB6470 Y30 wagon.
Now, onto the cars!
Mercury Villager (YB6480)
One of there more commonly seen cars and perhaps the most interesting of all the cars they made was the YB6480 – based on the Mercury Villager and thus a distant relative of the Nissan Quest, hence the Nissan connection. Of course this car was just a Mercury Villager that was assembled in China through a CKD operation. The YB6480 was powered by the same engine that powered the Mercury/Nissan twins in other markets – a 3.0 liter VG30E V6.
Traditional Chinese text saying Guangzhou Yunbao.
A lot of these Yunbaos came fitted with Mercury badges on the front grille, although some came with these Yulon badges:
These Yulon badges weren’t a great idea because they didn’t fit!
Mercury text on the rear light, albeit with a Y missing.
Nissan Cedric Y30 Wagon (YB6470)
In a previous article I have discussed the YB6470 – a Nissan Cedric Y30 Wagon produced by Yunbao. For a full write up on that car please refer to that article.
Nissan Patrol Y60
Yunbao also assembled GQ (Y60) Nissan Patrols during the 1990’s, although these are harder to identify without looking under the bonnet for the VIN plate since it seems most left the factory without any external badging, or the badges that may have been there were removed by their owners. Happily, we have managed to find pictures of real Yunbao patrols and also some pictures of VIN plates! All Patrols made by Yunbao were identified as YB2030s and all were labeled as being 7 seater vehicles, which as I will point out later was not necessarily correct.
Nissan Patrol Y60 Low Roof LWB (YB2030 #1)
First up we have a lovely example of a low roof long wheelbase Patrol manufactured by Yunbao.
This particular car still had its original badging attached! See the YB2030 badge just to the left of the Nissan badge on the door handle, as well as the 广州云豹 badge and 4WD badge above them.
Interior was standard Nissan.
This car was powered by a petrol engine, seems to be the TB42 4.2 liter straight 6.
Although the exact details are not legible, we can see that the VIN plate is indeed from Yunbao, though it lacks the English words present on other Yunbao cars.
What a coincidence! Right as I was about to publish this article a friend shared photos with me of a YB2030 he saw just this afternoon! Here we can see the YB2030 badge and the cute little 4×4 badge.
Nissan Patrol Y60 High Roof LWB (Safari) (YB2030 #2)
The second Nissan Patrol body style produced by Yunbao was the high roof Safari.
Engine appears to be a TB42. Note the Yunbao VIN plate at the far back on the left side.
Nissan Patrol Y60 SWB (YB2030 #3)
The third and final Nissan Patrol body style produced by Yunbao was the short wheelbase.
The owner of this particular car had swapped the engine to a Toyota 1KZ unit. The 1KZ was a 3 liter diesel engine used in Prado, Hilux, Hilux Surf and Hiace vehicles. This car was likely initially equipped with the TB42 Nissan engine.
A lovely shot of the VIN plate and a source of confusion – it says this car is a 7 seater!
Nissan Vannete (YB6440)
Likely the rarest of Yunbao’s products that we could actually find photos of is the YB6440 Nissan Vanette. We can’t say for sure exactly what engine powered the YB6440, only that it seems all of the cars were blue and manual.
It’s amazing to think that this sticker has survived for 20 years without coming off! The fact that it was only a single sticker on the rear tailgate leads us to suspect that there was a high chance that this car had very low local parts content and perhaps that complete or near complete cars were brought to the factory and had the sticker stuck on and 5 minutes after arriving were driven out of the factory to customers.
Vanette badge on the bonnet above the left headlight.
Nissan D21 Pickup
A car that we have been unable to find any other pictures of is this Nissan D21 based pickup truck called the YB1020. We will keep hunting and update the article if we find any!
Nissan Civilian (YB6620)
Yunbao also produced the Nissan Civilian bus, although we have so far been unable to find any pictures. The Civilian was far less popular than the Toyota Coaster in China, which was produced by a seemingly infinite number of companies and that trend continues to this day with newer Coasters outnumbering newer Civilians by about a million to one.
Nissan Bluebird U13 (YB7200)
Finally we have left Yunbao’s latest product to last – the YB7200. The YB7200 was introduced towards the end of Yunbao’s life before being taken over by Dongfeng and so these are far rarer than their Fengshen badged younger siblings.
All Chinese made U13 Bluebirds came with this SSS badge affixed to their boot lids in what was likely an attempt by the companies to make them more luxurious or sporty than they actually were.
This particular car was a 1998, right around when Yulon got involved.
Before I finish this article I just have to share this with you. This picture was apparently taken in 1986 and the reason I have posted it is:
There is a Guangzhou Yunbao badge on the fender! Now, we cannot confirm the actual date of the photograph since 1986 was atleast 5 years before Yunbao came into being, though the model of Wrangler – YJ, was made from 1986 to 1995. However, we suspect that it is very unlikely someone would import a new Jeep that quickly and that maybe the actual date was 1996. It should be pointed out that the Toyota Hiace in the background was made between 1982 and 1989. This is definitely something we will keep digging for more information on and of course if you can shed any light on this Jeep or indeed any other Yunbao product please do let us know!
List of foreign companies involved in Yunbao:
FATA SpA – Specialists in Industrial Plant Engineering and Construction provided casting equipment.
Striko – Provided furnace equipment.
Laempe Reich – Provided core machines
A company called Eckel provided some manufacturing tools for the V6 engine, though I can’t figure out what exactly, the Chinese is 发动机缸体全套摸具 which translates to engine cylinder body full set of tools.
An American company BATRD provided Spectral Splitting Equipment, though I could not find any company called BATRD, any help would be much appreciated.
Gerhing – Provided some tooling for cylinder grinding.
Obara – Provided welding equipment.
John Bean – Provided their FMC wheel alignment equipment.
A German company called AHS provided various vehicle diagnostics and testing equipment.
Rochester – Provided 3D CNC equipment.
SGI – Provided Computer Graphics Workstations.
French company Strim provided computer software.