IP LILY / IP RUGGER Mk1 (1946-62)
The IP Lily was introduced for the 1946 model year. The need for cheap and reliable transportation meant that the construction had to be as simple as possible, so the recipe was something that hardly was revolutionizing. It was built on a separate frame, rear wheel drive with a live rear axle mounted on leaf springs. However, the front suspension was quite modern, independent and with coil springs, which meant better comfort on the rough rural mamayan roads.
Power came from a 1188 cc 3-cylinder unit. Since sidevalves was a dying breed already in 1946, IP decided to make an overhead valve engine that could live well into the future. Fed by a license built variant of the british SU carburetor (which due to the cramped engine bay had to be mounted on an intake with unusually short runners), it cranked out 42 horsepowers (31 kilowatts) at 3900 RPM. Still, the modern aerodynamic body, 4 speed gearbox and light weight of 646 kilograms meant that it could sprint to 100 km/h from standing still in 19.6 seconds and reach a speed of 110 km/h, which were respectable performance for a small car in the 40s.
The interior provided adequate space for 4 adults, which weren’t actually cradled in luxury and comfort, but interestingly enough, there was already some thought put into passive safety. All windows was made of safety glass that would not shatter into sharp splinters in an accident, and many of the knobs were mounted on a slightly recessed panel under the dashboard, to minimize the amount of hard and sharp protruding objects in the cabin. However, it was of course still a far cry from the standards of today. IP also stated that the dual outside mirrors and turning signals both front and rear provided a level of safety that not all manufacturers was up to at the moment.
Regarding the active safety, the handling was OK for its time and performance. A somewhat front heavy construction meant that there was a bit of understeer though, and even worse was the brakes, small drums that was not really up to its task even back then, even if IP went for a hydraulic brake system instead of the ancient mechanical one, already from the start.
All in all, the IP Lily was the right product at the right time. Very soon it became the most sold automobile on the market and some years later it also had a mild success in the export markets, mostly in neighbour countries, Australia and the UK. The people of Mamaya took the car to their hearts and it soon recieved the nickname “the little frog”. Still in the 80s, you could see survivors being driven daily on the roads, and today it is very popular among the Mamayan vintage car crowd.
Since some people never can get enough, there was a demand for more power. In the 1400DX trim, released in 1949, the three cylinder unit was enlarged to 1394 cc and had a power output of 57 hp / 42 kW. Humble by todays standard, but considered something of a pocket rocket in its days. Though, as a large 3 cylinder unit, with a sporty camshaft, the engine was all but refined, and the dual carburetors needed to be synchronized for the engine to run like it should, something owners on the second hand market seldom realized, swapping the dual carb arrangement for the single carb from a 1200, which makes the original parts very hard to find today.
The higher top speed of 120 km/h and the fact that the 0-100 sprint now was done in only 14.9 seconds meant that the chassis was fine tuned for even better handling, eliminating the understeer of the Lily 1200S, and more important, larger brake drums meant that the downright dangerous lack of stopping power was somewhat improved, though still not good.
In 1953 the IP Rugger was introduced, a practical pickup truck based on the Lily that would survive the sedan version for many years. Using the 1400 cc engine block combined with the head and carburetor from the 1200 and a milder camshaft, it cranked out 44 horsepowers (32 kilowatts), marginally more than the 1200 but with a much better low end torque as the hauler it was. A similar, but not identical version was used in the IP Highway star van.
Even though the original Lily ceased production in 1955, the Rugger refused to die. In 1957 it recieved a facelift, with a front end inspired by the new generation Lily and the four cylinder “Saturn” engine replaced the old three cylinder “Meteor”. With 53 hp (39 kW) and a torque of 112 Nm, the 1669 cc unit provided much more hauling power. The interior was somewhat improved and now featured a steering wheel with recessed hub, thick padding on the sunvisors and dashboard, and even mounting points for lap belts, due to the increasing debate about automotive safety.
Today among collectors, there is something of a war going on between if the original and more clean looking Rugger or the much more powerful and improved facelift is the better one. The fact probably is, most of them would like to have one of both. The 1953-62 Rugger is recieving something of a cult status today and the prices are steadily rising, due to most of the existing examples being abused and used up years ago.
1962 meant the end of an era, the last Rugger Mk1 rolled of the assembly line, and because of that, also the last vehicle based on the original IP Lily. Still years after the last Mk1 Rugger was produced, some people were still begging IP to start the production again, since the Mk2 Rugger never had the same success in the market.