Indian automotive industry has been flourishing since the introduction of global brands. But, this was not always like this. There are carmakers that tried to grab the opportunity and introduced cars that are now long forgotten. Let’s take a look at 5 such lesser-known cars of the Indian automotive industry.
Meera Car | Year: 1949
India just got its independence. Tata Nano is not India’s first mini-car. It was the Meera car made by Meera Automobiles. Shankar Kulkarni planned to launch a car under ₹12,000 at that time. A 19hp engine powered the Meera Minicar. It had a seating capacity of 4 and could cover 19-20 km in a single litre of fuel. But, the car never took off due to unpaid excise duties and no support from the government back then.
HAL Pingle | Year: 1950
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or HAL is very well-known for building indigenous aircraft and engines for Indian defence as well as global players such as Boeing. But, do you know, back in 1950, Er. Pingle Madhusdhan Reddy introduced a prototype known as HAL Pingle. It had a 7hp 2-stroke engine under the hood and was priced at ₹4,600 before taxes. It was made for the Indian roads and HAL had planned a highly automated production with a capacity of 7000 Pingle cars. But, the car never saw the launch as the government refused to support the production at that time.
Bajaj PTV | Year: 1980
We all must have heard about the Bajaj Qute. Bajaj was a major player in the autorickshaw business back in the late 1900s. But when the government imposed some restrictions on autos, Bajaj decided to make cars out of it. The auto was given a rack and pinion steering instead of the handlebar. It had a seating capacity of 4 and delivered a fuel mileage of 26kmpl. A total of 25 Bajaj PTV or Personal Transport Vehicles were made. Due to some unknown reasons, Bajaj PTV also never came into production.
Sipani Dolphin | Year: 1982
Made out of fibreglass, the hatchback from now-defunct Sipani Motors is the only car on this list that ever went into the production phase. Made out of fibre, it was very efficient when it came to the power to weight ratio. It became a name in the rally race. For those who might know, Dolphin was termed to be a lemon car, a car that has manufacturing defects that affects the overall safety of the car. But with the launch of the Maruti 800, Dolphin was never able to get a hold of the Indian market.
Aravind Baby Model 3 | Year: 1966
When Mr V.P. Tampi and Mr K.A Balakrishnan Menon were appointed by the Maharaja of Travancore to bring a car for the majesty, Mr Menon came up with the Aravind Baby Model 3. It is India’s first indigenous car built in a small garage with a few blacksmiths. And the result? Aravind Palace Special was born and Maharaja was more than elated. Yet, without further support from the Indian government, Aravind was not able to take this car to mass production and it became a glimpse in the vast history of the Indian automobile.
So, these are 5 of the many lesser-known or forgotten cars in India. Do you any of these cars or some other cars that are now long gone? Do let us know in the comments section below.