Late Sh. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inside the HAL Pingle
Late Sh. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inside the HAL Pingle

An era of innovation and new India saw a majority of companies taking shape. There was one such company that currently pioneers the aerospace and defence aircraft manufacturing and designing. The name is Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). HAL is known for building indigenous aircraft and engines for the defence as well as engines for global companies such as Honeywell, Boeing etc. But do you all know that HAL had a car called Pingle in its portfolio? Yes, there was one. But why is it so well hidden in the dearth of history? Let’s explore.

The 1950s – A Concept is born 

At the time when there was a little going on to strengthen the automotive industry in the country, Er. Pingle Madhusudan Reddy made a prototype. This prototype was named the Pingle, after the designer of the car.

The Concept Car
Hal Pingle | The one-off Concept Car

This car was made especially for the Indian roads. HAL was equipped with advanced technology at that time so it was able to keep the cost of the car very low. ₹4,600 is what it used to cost before taxes or should I say it would have cost. The car never came into production. Being powered by a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine capable of producing 7hp of power, Pingle was a car that could easily ply on the Indian roads. The body was made out of fibreglass, a common material used at that time.

The cost was kept low as the production of the parts involved in the HAL Pingle was highly automated. Also, the carefully engineered car had fewer moving tools. HAL had planned on producing 7,000 such cars.

HAL Pingle
HAL Pingle

The four-door saloon had a carefully designed body which was meant for the Indian customers. The now-retro look was complemented with the oval grille at the front with HAL’s logo at the centre. Of what can be seen in the pictures, HAL’s engineering is visible in the car. The streamlining of the Pingle seems to be done with care.

But, Why no production run for the HAL Pingle?

The answer to this question is pretty simple. HAL, in the 1970s, tried to convince the Central Government of India to help them set up the production line for the Pingle, a car that would have been revolutionary for the industry.

The government refused to support production. We have already seen Aravind Automobiles and Meera Minicar failing for the same reason. Whatever be the case, another car that could have revolutionised the Indian automotive industry met the same fate of not coming into production. Yet, sadly the car remained as a prototype only.

HAL Pingle
HAL Pingle

The car was displayed in the museum of HAL in Hyderabad. But in 2017, the car went missing, reportedly stolen from the display. The first-indigenous car of India cannot be seen anywhere now, except for the photos. Do you have any information about the car which you would like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sources [1] [2]

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