Not only Beijing made minicars in the late 1950s (see our entry “Minicars made by the Qinghua University in Beijing.“), also Shanghai did an effort to replace the pedicab and the rickshaw by small motorized vehicles. There was one big difference: in Beijing it was the Qinghua University which was behind all these efforts, in Shanghai it were several small workshops. It is possible that some factories were differently named in press releases, and that these products were in fact from the same manufacturer. But that is difficult to find out after 60 years. Here we give you the factory names as found in books and newspapers.
The first car we introduce to you is the three-seat open Haiyan 250, the name 250 based on the 250cc 2-stroke 1-cylinder Changjiang motorcycle engine which powered the egg-formed minicar. Amazing are the very small wheels. Some sizes: 2550x 1250x 1215mm, wheelbase 1250mm. Weight 240kg. Maximum speed 80km/h. The manufacturer was the Shanghai Public Service Office Corporation Mini-Car Manufacturing and Repair Works. Haiyan means Sea Swallow or Petrel.
Also from August 1958 was the closed mini-coupe Haiyan 730, a two-door two-seat vehicle. Made by the Shanghai Bus Repair Works.
The one-eyed four-seat Huke 580 was made in October 1958. Manufacturer: Shanghai Bus Repair & Construction Works.
No doors on this open minicar introduced at the National Exhibition of Industry and Communications in Beijing 1959.
Full technical details are available: wheelbase 1650mm, LxWxH 2600x1170x1460mm, weight 420kg, speed 75km/h, engine 579cc, 12hp, 2-cylinder.
About 65 were made. The factory is the Shanghai Long Distance Traffic Corporation Bus Repair Works.
The Feiyue is made from August 1958 by the Shanghai Mini-Auto Works. Feiyue means Flying Leap, another name for the disastrous Great Leap Forward.
Here too we have technical details: wheelbase 1810mm, LxWxH 2700x1200x1440mm, weight 474kg, engine 579cc 2-cylinder, 8.8kW, tyres 4.00×12.
One photo shows 21 of these minicars.
HAIYAN 730 Second Model
This is an updated version of the Haiyan CK730. This time with doors. Introduction in February 1959, in May 1959 65 units were made. Manufacturer: Shanghai Bus Repair Works.
In 1966 the Shanghai Mini-Auto Works made their second minicar, the SW710 four-seater. The engine was based on the BMW M403 Isetta engine.
The complete production was about 100 cars, of which 51 were made for the Shanghai Taxi Company.
Description: wheelbase 1820mm, LxWxH 2940x1430x1360mm, weight 560kg, 298cc 1-cylinder engine, 10 kW, tyres 4.00×12, speed 60km/h.
Air-cooled front engine, seen in 1979. Jinlu means Golden Deer.
A batch of 30 was produced in 1979- 1980. The engine was the Changjiang motorcycle engine, 750cc 2-cylinder side-valve.
The Shanghai Bus Repair Works (later Shanghai Bus Works) was the manufacturer.
ANY CAR OF ALL THESE MINIS LEFT??
Yes, one Shanghai SW710, property of the Shandong car collector mr. Bai Guang. Produced in December 1966, production number 66036.
The original engine was replaced by a (broken) electric one, which was removed by mr. Bai. Nowadays the car has a Lifan engine.
Tycho wrote years ago on Car News China this car.
All these cars, and a lot more, can you find in my Beijing book and in “Microcars from China”, available later this year.