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IP Automotive LTD


#1

The history of IP Automotive LTD.

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In the country of Mamaya, IP Automotive LTD was originally formed in 1932 as Dao Thang motor trucks. Since the Mamayan economy was experiencing a steady growth in the early 30s, there was an increasing demand for trucks and the Dao Thang brand actually was slightly succesful, providing a locally built alternative to the imported brands. The sales was strong enough to keep the company alive, but yet they were still looking into other markets as a source for even greater incomes.

Back in 1932, personal transportation had been a luxury that most Mamayans could not even think about to afford. After world war 2, however, the situation was a bit different. Mamaya had been standing neutral during the war, and was never really affected by it, and there was expectations that the already growing economy soon would be experiencing a real boom. Motorcycles was a lucrative market, but it was already flooded with manufacturers, which some years later would lead to something of a crash that meant that many brands had to bite the dust. Cars was still a rare sight on the roads, you saw some taxis and once in a while some cheap small car, but only imported ones (mostly from the UK) since there was no local manufacturing at all.

Cars was a market that provided too lucrative not to enter for Dao Thang. However, since they already had a vision of exporting cars, Dao Thang was suspected to be a name that would scare foreign customers away. Also, there was a fear that if the car manufacturing should turn into a failure, it had a risk of hurting the Dao Thang truck brand. In late 1945, the company was renamed IP Automotive, and IP was said to be a short for “International Products” as the goal was to get the cars exported worldwide. The trucks that mainly was sold in the home market and some of the neighbour countries was keeping the brand name Dao Thang, but the cars recieved the name “IP” like the mother corporation now was named.

In 1946 their first car was introduced, the IP Lily.
(to be continued…)


#2

IP LILY / IP RUGGER Mk1 (1946-62)

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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.

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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.


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#3

These designs are simple but they work for the era. Also you need to improve that photoshopping a tad but you’re definitely onto something :grin:


#4

I agree that I am more than a bit amateurish on photoshop. :wink:


#5

But you’re definitely onto something. Keep on improving!


#6

Wow! Apart from so mess ups on the erasure (particularly around the fenders), those are really good. You’ve matched lighting, vantage, and even focal length quite well all of which many photosh00ps fail to do correctly if at all. My honest initial impression of the green and black Lilys was:

“What a lazy piece of crap! He’s not even making his cars in Automation. He’s just… oh those are photoshops! Very nice…”

Keep it up. Work on your background removal and these are going to be something special.


#7

1949-66 IP Highway Star Mk1

Naming a vehicle “Highway star” in a country where nobody yet had seen anything like a highway may sound a little ironic today, but at IP there was great hopes for the future. Also, while some of the names of early IP cars might sound silly today, there was a love for everything american in Mamaya after the war, and what does sound more american than a “Highway star”?

Not as american was the powerplant, not a V8 or even an inline six in sight here - mounted in between the front seat and driving the rear wheels was a 1394 cc three cylinder unit, basically the same bottom end as in the new for 1949 Lily 1400DX. Lower compression meant that it did not require expensive high octane fuel though, something that was appreciated in a van that was mostly being used as a work vehicle. Also, single carburetor and a milder camshaft made the engine more suited for moving around a heavy van than launching away the little 1400DX pocket rocket. Though all four gears was probably needed - the 44 hp (32 kW) engine had a hard work getting it to the top speed of 80 km/h even when empty.

What was even worse than the lack of acceleration was the lack of stopping power. The brakes that was inadequate for the light IP Lily made the heavier Highway Star into sort of a death trap when it came to braking, despite the lower top speed. Of course, nothing got better by the complete lack of a crumple zone or the fact that none of the safety thinking from the Lily was carried over to the Highway Star. Lots of hard and sharp objects in the passenger compartment, and the rear hinged doors (which were there for ergonomical reasons, to make the drivers seat easier to entry) often popped open in frontal impacts even at low speeds - if they didn’t blow open by the wind long before that.


Since the Highway star was offered with both left- and right hand drive (the Lily was not offered with left hand drive before 1951), jokes said that was the reason for the dual gas caps. Actually the reason was much simpler - the early Highway star van had dual gas tanks, one on each side between the body and the interior of the loading compartment. That was unfortunately another doubtful feature from a safety standpoint, making the vehicle prone to fires in the event of a side impact.

But neither safety or performance was what sold this vehicle. In a country with a steadily growing economy and an almost unlimited need for commercial vehicles of all types, everything that did haul also did sell, and the Highway star was a success despite its flaws. Interestingly enough, it was only offered as a cargo van from the factory. IP made the decision to concentrate on making just one model, and left it to the aftermarket to make conversions like passenger vans, camper vans, ambulances or even pickup trucks - and it was done too, with varying results.

In 1956, the Highway star recieved a quite heavy update. The brakes was vastly improved with bigger drums, which finally made stopping into less of a gamble, and the change to the legendary 4 cylinder 1699 cc “Saturn” engine meant that it now could reach 100 km/h in 22.1 seconds and actually didn’t stop accelerating until it had reached 111 km/h. From the outside, it was visible by the much larger turning signals and the front hinged doors. Also, the round taillights were replaced by larger rectangular units. The dual gas tanks were replaced by a single one inside the frame, and all of this was enough to blow new life into the Highway Star for ten more years. By 1966 though, it was appearant that the 17 year old design was a bit too long in the tooth to compete, and that meant the end of the first generation.

Unlike the Lily and Rugger, and unlike some of the competitors vehicles like the VW Type 2, the first generation Highway Star never have reached the popularity among the vintage car crowd. Good examples are hard to find, as the work vehicle it was, but when you find one it can be picked up for almost nothing. It was said that “The Lily was the vehicle you dreamed of owning, the Highway star was the one that you had to drive to earn the money to buy it”, and maybe there is some truth in that. But as the first vehicle to bridge the gap between the IP passenger cars and the heavier Dao Thang trucks, it is still a vehicle of great historical significance for the brand.

But nothing good will ever last forever, and it soon was time for IP to release their first big flop…


#8

To be honest, it is really only by accident if I managed to get all of this right…


#9

These are really good photoshops, just add some shadows and highlights onto the cars and you’re good to go :slight_smile:


#10

Superb back stories and well written. Think the cats need some chrome though, especially on the rear of the Highway Star.


#11

Don’t know what made me laugh more on your van’s first photoshopped pic - this extrathin guy behind the wheel or the car’s surprised face xD

Other than that, very good, keep it up


#12

Keep in mind that this started out as a company building cars for people that finally could afford them, barely. More chrome and more advanced designs will evolve later in the timeline…


#13

1952 IP Superlily

With the original Lily being nicknamed “the little frog”, one magazine was calling the Superlily “the flat toad” when it was released in 1952. Another magazine had the opinion that “Super Silly” would have been a better name. Looking back at it now, it’s obvious that the first attempt from IP to build a sports car was doomed from the start, but let’s take everything from the beginning.

With a steady production of the Lily, and a market screaming after commercial vehicles that made both the Highway Star and the Dao Thang heavy trucks selling like hot cakes, IP had all the possibilities to develop new vehicles for other segments of the market. One idea was to build an affordable sports car that still had a more exclusive and upmarket image than the bread- and butter vehicles IP was chunking out at the moment.

The affordability part was solved by using lots of Lily parts, like the complete chassis and the three cylinder “Meteor” engine, though in a souped up form. Sportiness and exclusivity by putting a sleek, hand-made aluminium body on top of the Lily frame. Unfortunately, it was maybe the worst of both worlds.

A top speed of 141 km/h and 0-100 time of 13.5 seconds was respectable for its time, however, it was still not much faster than a Lily 1400DX which was cheaper, more practical and could be bought directly at the dealer, not having to wait for a special order. The styling was considered ugly by most of the people and to make things even worse, the fit and finish of the aluminium body was by no means even adequate. IP had no capacity to make a hand-made aluminium body by themselves and outsorced the manufacturing, but soon realized their mistake when it became clear that the bodies probably had been slopped together.

The Meteor engine was enlarged to 1498 cc, and instead of the license built SU carburetors, it recieved a 2-barrel carb of IP:s own design, which soon proved to be unreliable. The 71 horsepowers (or 52 kilowatts) that was cranked out may have been respectable in its days, but it was starting to become clear that this engine had its roots in something that should take an economy car cheap and reliable between point A and point B rather than being a powerhouse. The NVH was reaching horrible levels, and three cylinders in a sports car was not really considered classy enough.

After the troublesome launch, sales never really took away, and it was seen as the problem child in the IP lineup that never should have been. Finally, when an accident got huge attention where the famous actress Thamwoyang Shapawat was killed in her Superlily when she lost control and spun into an oncoming Ford Customline taxicab, IP felt that they had enough of all the bad reputation the Superlily had given them, and decided to quit production after only 75 cars had been built.

Today, 11 examples are known to have survived, and the fact is that this vehicle was missed for many years in IP:s own collections. The Superlily that can be seen in the IP Automotive museum today is in fact a replica that was finished in 1991 on a Lily 1400 chassis, built after the original drawings, and to be honest, with a fit and finish that none of the original examples could not even dream of coming close to.

But was the Superlily as bad as it reputation said? Probably the answer is both yes, and no. After all, the chassis was a proven unit from the Lily that had been in production for six years, however, the problem is that the Lily never was a sports car. The engine was far from refined but still could get the light car up to speed fast for its era, and if production and some decisions had not been rushed, the quality problems on the body and the new carburetor could easily have been solved.

On the other hand, the buyer with the will and the money to buy a sports car probably had no interest in a wheezing 3-cylinder car that looked like a toad that had been stomped flat, and had a name that both rhymed on, and was, Super Silly.

Of course the situation is a bit different today, if you want to get your hands of one of the 11 surviving examples (the replica at the IP museum is probably not even in question), you better bring a truckload of money while begging really nice. Being the rarest of all IP models, the first ever sports car in the lineup, and ironically enough, being one of their greatest flops, it is of extreme historical significance today.

Even though IP just wanted to forget the Superlily for many years, one feature actually survived. The door handles, with the push button mounted flush to the door, and a recess to grab at the top of the door, was just thought of as a cheap and aerodynamic way of solving the problem. However, both the ergonomics and looks actually got some nice words among all the bad press about the Superlily, so it would be a feature that survived on some models way into the 80s. So, the next time you are jumping into the cab of your early 80s Rugger truck, give the Superlily some thoughts when you open the door. After all, without the Superlily, you would probably have done it in a different way.


#14

Nice. Your photo editing skills leave me in awe and add to the realistic feel.


#15

1954-79 IP Royalist / Mastercab Mk1


After the huge failure with the Superlily, IP wanted to get their revenge. To show the world that they were good for more than just three cylinder compacts, they needed a car that could boost the brand, and their next try was the 1954 IP Royalist. Named to celebrate the crowning of king Paoyanak the third, he also recieved the first example that left the factory, and a car for a monarch, it truly was.

Four passengers could enjoy the finest of comforts the 50s had to offer in an interior that oozed of hand stitched leather and panels that once upon a time was exotic and rare trees growing in the mamayan jungles, remember that this was a long time before anyone ever gave the rainforest one single thought. Of course, if you could afford a Royalist in the 50s, you could afford someone to chaffeur you too, so to be honest, the life behind the steering wheel still was not as cozy. Still no power steering and relying on four drum brakes to stop the huge beast, but thanks to the bigger drums it actually stopped faster than the other IP automobiles of the era.

At least the driver did not have to change the gears himself, thanks to the new 2-speed “StarGlider” automatic transmission, and power came from the new 2.8 litre 98 hp “Saturn” inline six, the first in the line of the famous IP Saturn engines. But since this was the 50s, it was driving a solid axle mounted on leaf springs in the rear, not so refined today but totally acceptable back in the day. Also, the luxurious and elegant body was mounted on a ladder chassis, like most of its rivals back then.

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Of course, a car like the Royalist could never reach any higher production numbers back then, but IP still chunked out examples at a steady pace until the first generation was replaced in 1963. Calling it a sales success is maybe wrong, but it was still the right car at the right time to boost the status of the brand, unlike the heavily criticized Superily.

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Of course, the development costs of the Royalist could never be paid back by only the Royalist production, so it recieved a half-sibling that in many ways was totally opposite. Where there was hand stitched leather in the Royalist, there was two leatherette clad, hard benches in the Mastercab. Under the bonnet, IP had cut two cylinders from the Saturn six 2800, making it the Saturn four 1900. Despite only having 57 hp (42 kW), it was not much slower though, due to the 3-speed manual transmission and lower weight. On the outside the twin stacked headlamps was replaced with singular units, there was only one tailpipe in the rear, and with all the chrome painted in the same taxi yellow as the rest of the car, the exclusive looks was turned into something much more agricultural.

But as a taxi, it was good enough to be “the” Taxi of Mamaya until the production ended in 1979. Of course it got updates during the years to be on the same level as more modern IP cars, but with the bodyshell staying the same, it was still tracing its roots to the 1954 Royalist.

Getting a Mastercab or Royalist is not easy today. Mastercabs were used up and Royalists were never common to start with. Most Mastercabs were sent directly into the crusher after taxi service too. But if you want to see some really state of the art 50s engineering, good enough to survive almost into the 80s, you won’t regret buying one.


#16

Inspired of the Facel Vega? :slight_smile:


#17

Both Facel and 50-60s Mercedes are sources of inspiration, and then there is only “so much” that you can do with the front end of this body. :slight_smile:


#18

I am not the biggest fan of the designs themselves, but I really like the background given and the presentation of the models and your brand!


#19

Well, you got a proper car there. Feels like it belongs in a classic movie :grin:


#20

A car worthy some mad south-east asian dictator, I guess… :stuck_out_tongue: