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Spotted in China: the Zhonghua Car

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A very special vehicle today in Spotted in China. This is an original Zhonghua Car, seen on the Third Ring Road in Beijing by Reader Religioso, thank you for the pictures! The Zhonghua Car was manufactured from 1996 from 1999 by a Beijing-based company called the China Motor Corporation.

[archive] The body of the Zhonghua Car was made out of plastic. Platform and engine were sourced from the 1988-2000 Tianjin Xiali TJ7100 mini car, which in turn was a licensed variant of the third generation Daihatsu Charade. The engine was a 0.8 3-cylinder petrol with an output of 55hp and 76nm, mated to a five-speed manual sending power to the front-wheels.

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[archive] The Zhonghua Car was intended to be a revolutionary car for China. Self-designed and produced, made out of cheap plastic, and with an unusual wagon-hatchback shape. The company received a lot of political support, but sadly not so much financial.

Setting up production and selling the actual cars proved much harder than expected and in four years of production only a few hundred cars were made. We thought they were all long gone, scrapped due to the draconian anti-pollution laws, or simply left to rot away; but we were wrong…

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At least one example still rides the roads of the capital! Blue green color scheme, with its original roof rails. No license plate and in any way very illegal. The daring driver is a true hero, defending the History of Chinese Cars and the legacy of the China Motor Corporation. May she ride forever…

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