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Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

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That day not that long ago I finally had a chance to visit the famous Shanghai Car Museum, located about 1.5 hours by subway from the city center. No matter, the trip is worth it. We start today with this perfectly conserved 1983 Shanghai-Volkswagen Santana.

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

Mass production of the Volkswagen Santana at the Shanghai-Volkswagen joint venture started in 1985, but small batch production started in 1983. This fine black Santana in the museum was produced in the very first batch. The characters on the grille mean ‘Shanghai’.

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

The Volkswagen Santana B2 was one of the first mass produced passenger cars in China. amazingly, production continues until today. There were many Santana-variants over the years, such as the Santana 2000/3000/Vista, but production of the classic never stopped and in the end outlived them all. Volkswagen showed an all-new Santana on the Guangzhou Auto Show last month, but even now production of the good old Santana will continue yet again!

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

Note extra thick chrome around the small side window. Somehow the vehicle seems out of balance, especially at the rear, the 1985 models were much better. First engine was a 1.6 with 87hp. In 1987 Volkswagen added a 1.8 with 94hp. The 1.6 however continued all the way until 2006. Size: 4546/1690/1427, wheelbase is 2548.

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

Beautiful 1980’s Volkswagen wheel!

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

Vintage interior, no head rests for the front seats but it does have seat belts. The 1983 Santana was parked on a very dark booth in the museum, almost as if the museum were ashamed of it! No need for that, the B2 Santana certainly wasn’t perfect but it is a vehicle full of character and it plays a very important part in China’s short but tumultuous automobile history.

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

Shanghai Car Museum: 1983 Volkswagen Santana

Great car. Later on much more from the Shanghai Car Museum.

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  1. While a good representation of what I would say is the most popular car in China. These things in today’s modern world are rolling death traps.

    The reason they keep making them is because the taxi companies keep buying them in huge numbers.

    They are cheap to manufacture at this point and cheap to repair although from what I’ve seen taxi companies view them more as disposable than something that needs to be maintained.

    Every foreigner gets a ride in one of these as a taxi eventually. Would be nice if they would upgrade to a much safer vehicle.

  2. If I had known you were going there, I’d have liked to have met up with you. Ahh well.

    I’ve been to the museum, for me it was a surreal experience there was more staff than visitors. Surprisingly they have some pretty impressive cars in the collection.

  3. Haha, well glad I found this old 2012 post! I didn’t know you went there as well and saw the good old Santana. I’ve been to the museum as well in December 2014 and I did take a photo(with my mobile phone), of this very Santana, and it seems like it have moved to another location whereby they expanded the perimeter such that no one can get a close view of the interior. Anyway, great post!


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