The list of exported Hongqis is growing. Today I counted 14 cars. Five of them in the USA, two in Japan. The other countries with each one are: France, Germany, Switzerland, San Marino, Rumania, Hong Kong and South Korea. There is (maybe) an unknown number in North Korea, but that is not confirmed.
I will show them to you, each with some words from their own story, in the order of their age.
The oldest car of this list is the Hongqi CA72 owned by mr. Don Bosco in New York. Bosco was a military attaché for the USA in China. He bought the car from the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations and Trade (Mofert) in 1988. The car was used before by the Governor of Shanxi Province in Taiyuan. According the dataplate the Honqgi is made in 1966 and has number 0200. Bosco arranged license plates in New York, first ‘New York ATP 514’, later ‘New York HONGQI’.
Number two is a second Hongqi CA72. This car is in private hands in Constanta, Rumania. The owner told me the (unconfirmed) story that the car was a gift from Chairman Mao to the Rumanian leader Ceausescu. The car is made in 1966, number 00246, and seems to be shipped to Rumania in the same year. The license number is ‘1-B-1303’, the 1-B (B for Bucharest) proves that the car belonged either to the government or a famous or rich civilian.
Next the Hongqi CA770, belonging to the Blackhawk Collection in California. In 2008 Blackhawk’s president exchanged the Hongqi for a replica of the first Benz, with the Sanhe Classic Car Restoration Company in Chengdu. Sanhe had restored the Hongqi, which was made in 1967. President Williams stated that this was the first Hongqi to ever enter the United States, but as you can find out in this list, there were two cars before him, car number 1 from Bosco in New York and car number 11 from the Petersen Auto Museum.
Two Japanese CA770. The first is made in 1967, also a very early Hongqi CA770. The car is to see in the Motor Car Museum of Japan in Komatsu. It is a Hongqi with only one red flag on the mudguards. (one flag = Chairman Mao’s Thoughts, only on the Honqgi’s during the beginning of the Cultural Revolution). There is a possibility that the car is one year older than 1967.
The second car in Japan is the CA770 bought by Toyota in China in 1970. This car was made in 1968 and is exhibited in the Toyota Museum in Aichi, Japan.
York Wong’s Hongqi in Hong Kong is number six in this list. York is an important Chinese Hongqi collector. He was the generous donor of the Mulhouse Hongqi, which you will find as number 9. The 1974 car, number 0332, is in Hong Kong in 2007 completely restored and converted to right hand steering. Originally only one Hongqi was made with right hand steering, by the Shenzhen sub-factory of FAW in 1987, the car named CA770C.
Another American, a 1974 model belonging to Auto Collections in Las Vegas. They own it since 2013. I don’t know where it came from. Though the collection was permanently for sale, they kept the Hongqi. The latest information is that the location of the collection is now closed.
In 2014 the Musée Nationale de l’Automobile in Mulhouse must have been very happy with the gift of a Hongqi. The reason was the celebration of 50 years diplomatic relations with France. Hong Kong businessman York Wong delivered the car, the Sanhe Company did the restoration. It is a 1976 model.
The next one is a car owned by Capa Ma, an entrepreneur from Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province. He lend the 1978 car to Jay Leno, a famous American journalist, who makes his program Jay Leno’s Garage in Top Gear style (a lot of noise, a lot of nonsense). The youtube video (April 2016) about the Hongqi driven and pushed by Ma and Leno is to see at the internet. The car is bearing its original Chinese license, ‘Hebei A- E7088’.
Petersen Museum bought from Towe Museum (both in California) a CA770, number 0811, from 1979. According the man who shipped the car, the car was used by the Panchen Lama during his detention in Beijing. The original registration was ‘Beijing 01 61534’. The man who shipped was a Captain Tsui, director of a Chinese Trade Mission to Oakland in 1989. The car was part of the mission, but got stocked at the customs. Tsui stayed in the US, and after eleven years, the car was released. Before his death, Tsui donated the car to an organisation called “Save Our Seniors”. They sold the car to the Towe Museum, which restored it and sold it to Petersen.
A mystery is the CA770 given by FAW to the Volkswagen chairman of the board dr. Hahn, in 1989. I don’t know how old the car is. After a short period of exhibition in the Volkswagen Museum in Wolfsburg, the car, licensed ‘WOB-V 27’ disappeared. According VW it was damaged by buglers in 2004. Since then the car is stored. Recently we got knowledge that the car is now owned by Autostadt, also in Wolfsburg.
Samsung Transportation Museum in South Korea has a very special Hongqi: a 8-meter long limo. The conversion was made in Changchun in 1994. I don’t know by who, probably a local workshop. Before, the car was seen in the streets of Changchun, licensed ‘Ji A-B2022’.
Mr. Terenzi, captain regent of San Marino in the years 1987, 2000, 2006, 2014, made many exchange travels to China. He is president of the San Marino-China Friendship Association. In 2009 he became the proud owner of a CA770, originally licensed in Beijing as ‘Jing A-12345’. On the rear site nowadays a San Marino registration is visible: ‘K5915’.
THIS IS ALL I KNOW AND I AM SURE THERE IS MORE….
Please help me whenever you know another old Hongqi outside China, or whenever you have more info about one of the cars shown here! I count on you!