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.
Officially the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976 with the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong. But in the last years before the end there was already a turnaround in car styling. Forgotten were the heavy ‘no-nonsense’ Cultural Revolution bodies. Suddenly there was a look direction east and the new designs were strongly influenced by the lighter Japanese car styling of that era.
You would not expect this but the mass movement periods in China were very creative for the development of the car industry. I already described the birth of many protypes during the Great Leap Forward period 1958-1961. The styling in that period was much influenced by contemporary American styling.
Li Shufu’s first car was not a Daihatsu Charade copy but a Mercedes-Benz!
Read here how mr. Li started with taking photos of tourists with a Seagull camera to end up as the owner of five car manufacturers.
In 1980 the Englishman Oliver Barnham travelled through China and took pictures of every local made vehicle he could find. He took pictures of a BJ212-style jeep in Chonqging and Shanghai.
Both cars had military plates.