The Indian automobile industry is considered to be one of the largest automotive markets in the world with many cars either being launched or being facelifted every day. Over the years there have been many such cars that came with a bang but left without anyone even noticing. Here we have put together a list of such unusual cars in India that you might have missed.
Sipani Badal | Not the Mr Bean one
Remember the three-wheeled car that Mr Bean hated? well, this is it. The Sipani Badal was India’s ultimate answer to UK’s Reliant Robin. One of the most notable features about the Sipani Limited was that they used to make cars out of fibreglass. Initially introduced itself under Sunrise Automotive Limited (SAIL) in 1973 before changing its name to Sipani Limited during the 1980s.
The Sipani Badal was India’s first and last three-wheeled sharing its resemblance to an autorickshaw with three doors. Ultimately the Sipani Badal got its power from a 198-cc 2-stroke petrol engine which came mated to a 4-speed manual transmission powering only the rear wheels while the front wheel was used to manoeuvre this bad boy. However, the car wasn’t able to attract an audience and thus failed miserably.
Chinkara | Caterham, Made in India
The Chinkara can be considered as India’s first Caterham or kit car on the list. it came powered by an Isuzu sourced 1800-cc engine capable of making almost 90hp along with a 5-speed manual gearbox. The car was supported by a space frame chassis with a custom made fibreglass body designed by its the company’s owner itself Guido Bothe who with his wife Shama and eleven others started the company in April 2006.
The lightweight body and a powerful engine helped the Chinkara to go from 0-100 in under 8-seconds with a top speed of almost 190kmph and considering the time period under which the car was launched this car came packed with features and was way ahead of its time.
HM Trekker | The Ambassador SUV
The well-known car from HM, the Ambassador was the base for this forgotten SUV. It was literally built from the leftover parts of the Lal Batti Vali Gaadi.
It came with a ladder frame chassis and the engine, lights, steering and suspension were borrowed from the Ambassador. The engine was 1.5-litre which was mated to a floor-mounted 4-speed manual transmission.
Trishul | The Indian Police cruiser
You might have not seen this Jeep on roads but the oldy was famous for moving the police in old Bollywood movies. Not much is known about the specs. It was powered by a 500cc single-cylinder Lombardini diesel engine. This car was the only car, Patna based manufacturer made.
Tata Spacio | The stripped-out Sumo
Tata Motors has been a well-known car brand in the country with recently coming up with two of the safest cars in India, the Altroz and Nexon. But you might not have heard about the Spacio. Tata Spacio was a soft-top version of another well known Tata car, the Sumo. The SUV was powered by a 3.0-litre direct injection engine which used to churn out 70hp of power.
Force Toofan | The tough people’s carrier
If you stay in an urban area, you might have never seen this large people carrier around you as this was popular in the rural areas of India. It has a capacity of carrying 12 people, YES!, it’s that massive. Force Toofan has been a lifeline of rural areas being the only shared means of transport.
HM Veer | Ambassador, but a pick-up
You might have seen an Ambassador with a pickup. If not, no problem because the Veer pickup which was based on the Ambassador platform, was not a very famous one. Hindustan Motors tried to get into every segment keeping their Ambassador in mind. The Veer came in both BS3 diesel variant and BS4 CNG variant. It was priced around Rs. 3.30 lakhs.
HM Ambassador Estate | Ambassador, but an estate
This is what I was talking about. HM loved their Ambassador so much that they had to convert it into a station wagon too. It was also powered by the same engine as that of the sedan version.
Have a look: 10 Forgotten Station Wagons (Estate Cars) Of India
Reva i | Probably India’s first EV
Maini, the company which brought Reva in India back in 2000 was bought by Mahindra. It was the company which introduced green mobility in the country back when India used to be cool (Damn! Should have listened to them then).
Jonga | Actually a Nissan Patrol
If you are an army lad, you must have seen the Jonga. It was a truck manufactured by Nissan back in the day. It was on offered to few civilians as well. Jonga was a soldier who was ready to take bullets for the men in the Army.
This was our list of unusual cars that can be spotted sometimes on the Indian roads. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments section below.