The Songsan Monterey Is A Classic Americana Sedan With Modern Chinese Power

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Songsan Motors is fast becoming one of our favorite Chinese automakers. They are nuts, and nuts in a good way. They are also very real: their first car launched on the market earlier this year. On the 2021 Guangzhou Auto Show in China they unveiled the new Songsan Monterey, a retro-tastic sedan inspired by the 1957 Buick Roadmaster.

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Songsan Motors was born out of a Beijing-based motor club, originally founded in 1995. In the 2000’s the club went into business, trading and building customized motorcycles and classic cars. In 2019, they unveiled their first self-developed car, the Songsan SS Dolphin, with a design inspired by the C1 Chevrolet Corvette.

The Dolphin is in production and on sale. It is produced by BYD under a contract-manufacturing deal. BYD will also manufacture Songsan’s other cars. The platforms, power trains, software, and infotainment systems all come from BYD.

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The company’s second car is the Songsan SS Summer, a cool van inspired by the original Volkswagen Microbus. Production is set to start next year.

Earlier this year, Songsan showed the GT, throwing overboard the retro design in favor of a more modern look, complete with scissor doors at the front. Whether it will see production is yet unclear.

With the Monterey, Songsan Motors goes back to its retro roots. It is a large sedan low rider with suicide rear doors and a Landaulet rear roof. Like the American cars of the 1950’s and 1960’s it is loaded with chrome and other shiny bits. The wheels are in hot rod style, low and almost too large to fit in the arches, with shiny multispoke alloys and red brake calipers. It is huge: 5180mm/2000mm/1490.

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Unlike one may expect, Songsan isn’t some small operation sitting in the basement of the exhibition center. On the contrary, they had a large booth on one of the main halls, right across the isle from NIO. Note the odd image on the floor, depicting a Monterey and a Rolls-Royce Phantom, with the text “Legends will never die”. Now check this:

An umbrella in the doors, Phantom-style, with the Rolls-Royce logo on it. Perhaps Songsan’s next car will be inspired by a Roller..?

The Landaulet roof is very cool and great for in the summer. The show car didn’t have a roof cover, so how this works precisely is yet unclear.

The interior wasn’t quite finished yet but it looks interesting, mixing 3 modern screens with old school stuff, like the seat arrangements, the steering wheel, and the dashboard design.

Like its American examples, the Monterey has wide and very flat seats. The front looks like a bench but it are two individual seats with loads of space on every side.

The rear bench sits exactly between the wheel arches, so it is rather narrow. But it has a neck pillow. The design of the speakers, door handles, and the hand cranks for the manual windows (!) is nicely retro as well.

The Songsan Monterey will be available with two power trains, both from BYD: full electric and PHEV. The full electric will do 0-100 in 3.8 seconds, and the PHEV will be based around a 2.0 turbocharged petrol engine. No other specifications were announced at the show.

The SS Songsan hood ornament. More on the Monterey as we get it!

Via: Autohome, Weibo.

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  1. Beautiful cars. Are you a little concerned about the size. While big and long is comfortable, will these cars keep up with the mileage requirements that are scheduled downstream, e.g. In 2019, automakers Ford, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo reached a deal with the state to raise standards by 3.7% per year.

  2. Gee, ca60s.n you say “cultural appropriation”? Then again, the USSR copied Packard design for years in the 50s and 60s.

  3. Love their cars but how are they avoiding a law suit from GM, Chevy, Buick and such for copyright infringment? Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see the old styling come back but aren’t they asking for trouble.

  4. Lloyd W Bone, its fully electric! As in no gas at all – mileage standards are irrelevant. And it would have taken a great deal of original engineering.
    EVs are one area where China has a tech lead over the US – Tesla excepted. And Tesla is already making more cars in China than in the US, despite having only a fairly small market share there (Chinese customers are buying roughly eight times as many EVs as American ones are).

    The US is already paying a big price for deliberately deciding to stick to Big Oil.

  5. Very nice idea..!
    let’s bring back the “old one’s”… at least, optical 😉
    Dune Buggy, Beetle, KarmanGhia, Firebirds … 50th “future cars”… so much designs…
    all that Retro Cars will help to sell more EVs , because:
    Thers are far enough people out there , that like the Classic style more than a futuristic one…
    They contructed a retro 3-wheeler that wants to start soon – “ask” Sandy Munro…
    it looks like a old Karmanghia in the front, with classic style instruments in it, all EV…

  6. But does it pass European and US crash safety regulations? A lot of Chinese market cars don’t, and this certainly can’t unless all that ‘chrome’ is plastic (pedestrian safety regs).

  7. Why not use the original design? Those were very well worked out models in their day, and worthy of copying. I’m not familiar with infringement laws if that nature but maybe omitting ashtrays can make it “original” enough.
    Flattery is the only feeling I get from reproducing something that is iconic Americana as our midcentury cars.

  8. The Chinese and their love of theft! Taking a beautiful design like the 57 Buick and managing to ruin it. Then throwing that horrible cheap interior inside! Then imagine it with a 2.0T engine, that would be silly.

  9. Calling these designs “theft” is a bit ridiculous, since American car companies have long ago abandoned this type of retro auto styling. What’s happening here is essentially the same as an ocean salvaging company recovering an abandoned ship at the bottom of the sea.

    There’s nothing stopping American car companies from resurrecting their own designs of the past and updating them with the latest technology and safety improvements of today.


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