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IP Automotive LTD


1956-64 IP Lily Mk2

To call the second generation IP Lily a complete failure would be too harsh, because it certainly was not. When the production ceased after eight years, it was the second most sold model in the history of the company, and like its predecessor, it remained the most sold car of Mamaya for all of those years.

But failing to beat its predecessor in a market that was steadily growing was on the other hand not a very good achievement. But already at the launch it was met with disappointment from many people. One thing that was turning buyers away was the styling of the body. The original Lily had been up to date when launched in 1946, and it had kind of a minimalistic and simple design, in a cute kind of way, hence the nickname “the little frog” it quickly recieved from the people. This generation was something as a mix of modern styling cues with a shape that was quickly getting old, and proportions borrowed from the Mk1 Lily in a much larger format.

Because larger it was. IP had the idea that people would lose interest in small, cramped and crude cars when the economy would be good enough to buy something bigger. But considering the traffic that only got worse every day, in cramped cities were the streets was made with donkeys and carts in mind, many people was appreciating the nimble size of the Mk1 Lily and did not like the larger dimensions. The interior space grew too, however, and could now fit five people, while the Mk1 only had seating for four. The headlamp arrangement and some of the chrome trim was inspired by the Royalist, but there was nothing even close to the sleek and elegant lines of the luxury limousine in the smaller family sedan. However, the Superlily style door handles was a feature that was liked by many buyers.

Under the body there was nothing controversial though, still built on a separate chassis and with a leaf sprung rear end, it was getting dated quickly when competitors came out with more modern cars. The big news was under the bonnet though, we said goodbye to the Meteor three-pot and got three versions of the four cylinder version of the “Saturn” engine, first seen in the Mastercab. The Lily 1500S recieved an (obviously) 1.5 liter version, 49 hp (36 kW), while the 1700DX got a bigger 1.7 litre version with 53 hp (39 kW). Both of them, however, was slower than the original Lily 1200S up to 100, at 22.1 and 20 seconds compared to the 19.6 of the Mk1. At 112 and 115 km/h, the top speed was just marginally higher, too. The 78 hp 1700GTX of course had better performance with a top speed of 142 km/h and doing the 0-100 sprint in 16.3 seconds. Although much higher top speed, it was still accelerating slower up to 100 than the 1400DX Mk1.

The problem was also that a good variant “in between” was missing. The 1500S was slow and underpowered while the 1700DX was not much better, while the 1700 version of the engine was far less refined than the 1500, and the price higher. The 1700GTX, however, was too much of an enthusiast car to be a realistic alternative for most families.


On the outside, the 1700 versions was identified by chrome trim around the windshield. Also, the GTX version used a headlight arrangement similar to the Royalist, with stacked dual headlamps, while the 1500S and 1700DX recieved only single headlights. The air ducts for the heater also was chrome on the 1700GTX version only.

Very much indeed happened with IP during the years the Mk2 Lily was produced. Not only did they introduce the successor to the Superlily, the IP Flaire, a 4x4, the IP Brigadeer, and the new middle class vehicle to slot in between the Lily and the Royalist, the IP Icarus. They also bought the remains of the bankrupt Kingston automobile brand, which meant that they not only got the ancient Kingston Greenwood in their lineup, but also the sports sedan project that was the black pit for Kingston, the Celestia. Alongside the Celestia, it was obvious that the second generation Lily was turning into a dinosaur and finally in 1965, it was time to retire the second generation, missed by hardly anyone at all.

Today, the prices of the Mk2 remain sane, after all it WAS the most sold car in the lineup, so there is plenty of them left, and there is no reason to buy a bad example. Not even the 1700GTX have recieved much of a collectors status, which makes it the best buy of the bunch as the only one that can keep up with modern traffic.


1958-67 IP Flaire

Six years after the flop with the Superlily, IP decided that it was the time to try another sports car. This time they had learned from their mistake and the Flaire was a completely different beast from the Superlily. Gone was the ancient Lily chassis frame and the handmade aluminium body, instead, for the first time in history, IP went for a monocoque construction. Another first: the rear axle now was mounted on coil springs and left the old leaf springs behind, a step forward even if it still wasn’t independent.

Under the bonnet you no longer found a shaking 1500 cc 3-cylinder, instead the 1900 Saturn engine from the Mastercab had recieved dual carburetors, a new head with smaller combustion chambers, and a sportier cam profile. The result was a power output of 76 hp and a torque of 140 Nm, maybe not impressive by todays standards or even then, but it still gave the light car decent performance. The 0-100 sprint was done in 15.2 seconds and maximum speed was 162 km/h.

Unlike its predecessor, the Flaire enjoyed a moderate success. It was of course not a volume model, expensive and impractical as it was compared to the Lily, but it still boosted IP as a brand, especially on the export markets.

In 1966, it recieved the “Hicam” 4-cylinder engine, which had 26 hp and 10 Nm more than the Saturn engine it replaced. That raised the top speed to 172 km/h and improved the 0-100 time to 12.1 seconds. Also, disc brakes up front made the stopping more secure. On the outside it was fewer changes. The turn signals were now orange, there was separate reversing lights in the rear since the turn signals now were where the reversing light originally was, and the chrome trim on the bonnet disappeared. That helped to blow some new life into the Flaire until it was replaced by the Flaire II in 1968.

Today, the prices are steadily rising, the Flaire definitely have recieved collector car status, and the most sought after model years are the 1966 and 67 Flaires, since it had only moderate changes to the outside but was more modern underneath with better brakes and performance.


1959-77 IP Brigadeer Mk1

Introduced in 1959, the Brigadeer was IP:s entrance in yet another market. Built on a ladder frame, with solid axles front and rear, 4wd and manual locking differentials, one could really call it a real offroader.

In a country like Mamaya, with lots of rural roads or even places with no roads at all, the Brigadeer quickly became a steady seller. It proved to be a competent 4x4 that was loved by farmers, forestry and construction companies, even the Mamayan army, and many more.

Under the bonnet we could find the 1900cc variation of the “Saturn” engine, as found in the Mastercab, coupled to a 4 speed manual gearbox, hardly any fancy stuff, but functional. The same could be said about the interior, none of the comfort equipment we are used to today, four rock hard vinyl upholstered lawnchairs to sit on, and of course no power steering at all. This 1900DX version was the only available variant.

In 1966 the model recieved a slight update. On the outside, there was a bit more of chrome, but the differences was mainly found under the bonnet. Power steering was now standard on all models, and you could choose between two engines that replaced the 1900 “Saturn” engine. The basic version (1900 DX2) had the 1900 “Hicam” OHC engine with a power output of 75 hp and 128 Nm, originally a construction from the Kingston corporation, but other than that identical to the old 1900DX. The 2600 GLX was a different animal though. With a much more luxurious interior (even featuring two jump seats in the luggage compartment, making it a 4+2-seater), a (for its time) premium sound system, automatic transmission and discbrakes, it was almost a limousine on offroad tyres. Also, the engine was the 2.6 litre “Stellar” V6, basically the Stellar V8 from the Royalist II with two cylinders cut off, and because of that an “odd firing” engine. Fed by a 2 barrel carburetor, it put out 109 hp and 194 Nm, giving the huge beast some decent performance.

In 1970, the 2600 GLX was discontinued and replaced by the new Grand Brigadeer. The wheelbase was increased by 3 decimetres, the exterior was offered with metallic paints for the first time in the Brigadeer history, square headlamps replaced the round ones, the interior was more comfortable than before, with the “lawn chairs” replaced by more comfortable seats, and a back seat that now could take 3 passengers. Though the jump seats from the GLX was now available only as an option. Its 154 hp and 290 Nm 3.5 litre V8 was borrowed from the Royalist II, all in all this was a package that clearly could give cars like the Jeep Wagoneer and new Range Rover a run for its money, even though the body was starting to show its age.

Another model that was introduced in 1970 was the Brigadeer Uti-Lite, a complement to the little Rugger pickup truck. Mainly identical to a 1900 DX model, except for the bed in the rear. The two new models was enough to blow some interest in the ancient Brigadeer line for some more years. Though in 1977 the story was over, the competitors was coming out with more modern offroaders and the Brigadeer had to be updated. But in its 18 years of production, it made history. Not only was it the first 4wd vehicle from IP, it was also the first entrance in the by then fairly new luxury SUV market.

As a vehicle of such historical significance, nice examples of the Brigadeer Mk1 are skyrocketing in price. Not only have many examples been driven until there was nothing left of them, they also was popular with the offroad crew for years and was often heavily modified, which makes nice, unmolested examples hard to find nowadays. Also, in a time where rust protection wasn’t really a thing yet, it happened that frames broke in half after years of rusting, which most often was an one way ticket to the crusher.


1960-66 IP Icarus Mk1


For an ever growing middle class, there was a need for a vehicle that could slot in between the spartan IP Lily and the luxurious IP Royalist. The solution was the IP Icarus, introduced in 1960. Riding on a longer wheelbase than the Lily, and using monococque construction like the Flaire. Borrowed from the Flaire was also the front and rear suspensions, Mc Pherson struts up front and a coil sprung live axle in the rear, quite an advanced setup for the era. The Flaire inspiration was seen in the handling, but unfortunately also comfort-wise. The ride you got in the Mk1 Icarus was hardly any better than in the Mk2 Lily.

Despite this, the Icarus was a strong seller. The sporty handling characteristics and the 2,5 litre Saturn inline six under the bonnet helped it gain some status among car enthusiasts, this was a sports sedan for the whole family. 100 hp meant that the 0-100 sprint was done in 13.1 seconds and gave a top speed of 160 km/h which was not bad for its time. Not very good, though, was the ancient drum brakes that still were used, and that gained some criticism in the last years of the production.

The Icarus also came with a first for IP, the first model available with metallic paint. The “Silver fish” colour first offered was very popular and is a shade that equals “Mk1 Icarus” in the eyes of many people.

Another first was that there now was a station wagon variant available. The Icarus Astro was the first wagon ever offered by IP, and that was another example of the right vehicle at the right time. The demand for station wagons were starting to grow in the early 60s.

Inside, the cars was quite well equipped for its time, seatbelts up front and a padded dashboard with walnut accents was standard, as well as an energy absorbing steering wheel, comfortable cloth upholstery (leather optional in sedan models), electric clock, cigar lighter, and much more. Though the radio remained optional, and power steering was a very expensive option that was seldom ordered. This was still 1960 after all.

In its last years of production, the Icarus had recieved some competition internally from the more modern, Kingston derived, IP Celestia. The decision was then to let the next generation of Icarus be more of a plush and luxurious cruiser while the Celestia should take care of the sports sedan market. That lead to a quite early replacement already in 1967.

Even the Mk1 Icarus is a popular collectors car today, because it’s still a very competent car for its age, yet practical and a very important piece of IP history. The wagons are going for good amounts of money nowadays, but sedans are still affordable. And if you choose to go for one, you will probably not be disappointed.


1963-70 IP Royalist II


Since you can’t only rest on old laurels, even a top notch vehicle like the IP Royalist finally needed a replacement. The Royalist II didn’t only grow in size, it also grew engine wise. Under the bonnet there was a completely new V8, the first one in company history, still using pushrod technology as most of the V-engines from the era, but at least it had an unusual feature for its time with alloy heads, which kept the weight of the engine down.

At 3,5 litre and 154 hp, it might not have been the giant powerhouse you could find under the bonnet of american cars of the era, but still it was a great improvement over the predecessors 98 hp 2.8 litre inline six. Speaking of american, you could find some influences from Chrysler cars in this vehicle. Not only in the pushbutton 3-speed automatic transmission, but also in the door handles that now were the lift-up style, mounted flush to the body, a very modern feature for its era.


Up front, the sealed beams was gone. Instead, standing rectangular headlamps with an interchangeable bulb was used. Overall, the looks was much more modern on the second generation, compared to its predecessors chubby 50s styling. Chassis wise there was a huge difference too, not only was it using a monocoque construction, it also featured things like an independent rear suspension and a power steering box with energy absorbing steering column. Inside there was of course all the latest in luxury like power windows, air conditioning and a great sound system, four individual leather upholstered seats, acres of wood trim and even safety features like 3-point seatbelts and a padded dashboard.

In 1968 there was some improvements to the Royalist II. The exterior remained basically the same, but the engine was enlarged to 4.2 litres and now had an output of 176 hp, and there was improved brakes with discs all around. That was enough to keep up with the competition until 1970, when the second generation Royalist went out of production.

Today, a nice car like the Royalist, that was made in quite low numbers, of course have a collectors status. Though interest is not as high as in the first generation Royalist, the prices are steadily growing. Most interesting is the 68-70 models with the 4.2 engine, due to the more modern engine and brakes, while the exterior still remained the same as on the early cars.


Don’t know why most of my old pictures seems to have disappeared. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Guess I have to fix that someday.
Also, too lazy for photoshopping right now. For some reason I don’t manage to take screenshots either so it’s simple print screen now…
But let’s move on.
1963-84 IP RUGGER Mk2

With the original rugger having its roots in the 15 year old Mk1 Lily design, there was finally time for a replacement. This time, basing the little hauler on the existing Lily Mk2 design was not an option, instead IP decided to base the Rugger on a completely new platform. Design wise, though, you could see the similarities with the Mk2 Lily, and the question is if that really was a wise decision. The Mk2 Lily recieved criticism for its design already when it came out, nicknaming it the “Godzily”, and by 1963 the design was already 8 years old. The 1700 “Saturn” engine was inherited from the late Mk1 Rugger, but while being a good design in the Mk1, it simply could not cut it in the heavy Mk2. The performance was too poor. Sales were disappointing and it really could have had a better start.

The choices were to cancel the Rugger line altogether, giving it a refresh or develop a completely new generation after only a few years. Considering the sales success of the Mk1, IP still believed that the concept could have a chance. There was no resources in developing a new Rugger either, since many new models were in the pipeline for being released. As a last hope, IP gave the Rugger a slight refresh in 1968.

Strange enough, only a few things did change cosmetically from the early cars, like the addition of side marker lights (as required by new laws) and replacing round turning signals with square ones up front. Inside, you could tell that it was a facelifted model mostly by safety additions, like a plastic dashboard that replaced the metal one previously used, padded steering wheel hub and three point seatbelts on the outer seating positions (and a lap belt for the center seat). The differences under the skin was greater though. An 1,7 litre “Hicam” four cylinder replaced the old Saturn engine, making the performance more suited to a time with roads getting better and speeds higher all the time. Disc brakes up front could stop the truck way better than the old drums, and borrowed from the Brigadeer was the rear differential equipped with a manual locker, to meet demands for better offroad capabilities, and the ground clearance increased for the same reasons.

There was plans to let the Brigadeer Uti-Lite replace the Rugger but it simply didn’t work. There was still demand for a small and cheap pickup truck that was not as offroad oriented, especially in developing markets. To blow some more life in it, it recieved its second facelift in 1976. Finally, the stacked sealed beam headlights were gone, missed by nobody, and replaced with new round “aero” units with separate halogen bulbs, like the new turn signals borrowed from the little IP Colibri subcompact. The new refreshed grille used by other new IP models also made its debut, and those modifications made the front end very different. Some people liked it while other people said that it looked like a parody of an early 50s Chevy truck. In the back, the old round taillights was replaced with huge horizontal units with backup lights built in. Safer, but maybe not more beautiful.

The engine now could take unleaded gasoline, the wheel diameter was increased from 13 to 14 inches and now on radial tyres. Inside, safety was improved with thick padding on most of the hard surfaces, an energy absorbing steering wheel and column (now connected to a power steering box by the way), headrests and inertia reel 3-point belts on the outer positions. Even if the Mk2 Rugger never was a strong seller, it sold too much to be ignored, and this blew new life into the model, making it good enough to survive until 1984. By then it was very clear that the competition was starting to blow the doors of the early 60s design, and the third generation Rugger was becoming a completely different beast.

The Mk2 Rugger was a truck nobody did care about, a pure workhorse sold for many years that nobody had any feelings for. Being considered ugly, boring and old fashioned from the start is still hampering the popularity of the model and the values are low. Getting a 1963-67 model is simply not recommended, the performance is painfully slow by modern standards. The 1968-75 models are better and of course the 1976-84 models even better, and a bit more popular because of that. Design wise, most people prefer the late style front end, but the early style taillights, and that makes the values quite equal on the first and second facelift. Custom builders seems to prefer the first facelift and converting the front to the second facelift model, which is simply a bolt on-job.


1964: The merger with Kingston motor corporation

The history behind the Kingston motor corporation is a bit strange. After WW2, Canadian immigrant George Kingston started importing army surplus, including Willys Jeeps and parts for them. Concentrating more and more on the Willys Jeeps, he finally became the official supplier for them in Mamaya. However, with the Mamayan army requiring a percentage of locally built content to buy them, Willys automobiles (not just Jeeps but also the Willys Aero) soon was being built under license by Kingston.

After some years, the Willys Aero was replaced by the Kingston Greenwood, a very bland sedan that still was based on Willys Aero technology, like the engine. It mainly competed with the IP Mastercab in the taxi market, but was met with lukewarm enthusiasm by anyone else. With the IP Icarus coming out in 1960, Kingston saw that he was losing the competition and started too many expensive projects at the same time. One of them was the “Hicam” engine, a for its time very advanced engine, available as a 4- or 6-cylinder, with an aluminium cylinder head and overhead camshaft. Some other projects started was a replacement for the Greenwood (later released under the IP brand as the “Vagant”), and some sketching on a small front wheel drive city car inspired by the BMC Mini (which finally was released in 1970 as the IP Colibri). But maybe the most important project of them all was the “Icarus killer”, the Kingston Celestia. Lots of development and even more money was put into the sports sedan which was going to feature very advanced technology for its time. Unfortunately, the Greenwood sales was falling, left as the only model in the lineup after the Willys sales ended, the amount of money was not unlimited and Kingston went belly up in 1964.

Ironically, with the Saturn engine getting a bit old, IP needed a new engine and the Hicam was up to the task. Also, they liked what they saw not only in the almost finished Celestia, but also the Greenwood replacement and the small city car would be a nice addition to the IP lineup. Also, Kingston had a great amount of dealers all over the country, which now was taken over by IP. However, the old IP dealers (now renamed the “IP Lily” dealership chain) would continue selling the old models like the Lily, Icarus and Flaire, while the old Kingston dealers (renamed into the “IP-Kingston” dealership chain) originally only sold the Celestia and Greenwood models.

The Greenwood continued on for 1964, now with the brand new Hicam engine, and the registration papers now classed it as an “IP Kingston Greenwood” instead of a “Kingston Greenwood” while it was manufactured as the “Kingston Greenwood by IP”. Meanwhile, a new generation of the Icarus was developed, and a wish to move both the Icarus and the Greenwood a bit upmarket meant that the new Greenwood was going to be based on the Mk2 Icarus platform instead, while the new Greenwood under development at Kingston was released later as the “Kingston Vagant by IP”, which is a completely different story though.

1964-66 Kingston Greenwood Deluxe sedan by IP


1964-73 IP-Kingston Celestia Mk1

More interesting than the already ancient Greenwood, the other car that came as a result of the merger with Kingston was the Mk1 Celestia. Originally going to be Kingstons “Icarus killer”, IP slotted it in between the Lily and the Icarus as a more sporty alternative than the Lily while being lighter and more nimble than the larger Icarus. Also, the Celestia was only sold at the Kingston dealerships alongside the Greenwood, and was because of that not part of the regular “IP” line of cars.

The most common model was the 4 door “Sport Sedan”, which might have been the base trim but still weren’t without its bells and whistles. Things like contoured bucket seats, wooden steering wheel and dashboard, tachometer and safety features like three point seat belts was all included in the standard equipment. Considering that, it strangely enough didn’t feature a radio, and the comfort was still rudimentary thanks to the rock hard suspension and heavy steering.

But the jewel was under the hood. A four cylinder variant of the hicam engine, 1900 cc and 100 hp. Very modern for its era, it sent the compact sedan up to a speed of 100 km/h in 11.2 seconds and, if you wanted to, a top speed of 158 km/h, not very impressive today but considered quick in its era and price class. Also chassis-wise it was very much up to date with struts up front and a trailing link rear suspension, similar to the BMW “Neue klasse” launched at about the same time.

Also available was the Sport Coupe, not much more than a two door fastback version of the sedan, with bucket seats in the rear instead of the bench used in the sedan. Its selling points over the sedan was mainly the looks, because performance-wise they were more or less identical.

The most interesting version was not the Sport Coupe, but the Sprint Coupe. With higher compression, a performance oriented camshaft and twin DCOE type carbs, the engine was souped up to 136 hp. The top speed of 173 km/h was respectable for its era and the 0-100 sprint was done in under 9.8 seconds. Magnesium wheels on meaty rubber, requiring wider arches, showed the world that this was a real performance model that deserved all the respect as a such. The back seats was gone, the suspension lower and beefed up. Of course, this was mostly a homologation special and very few was ever made, but it sure was the car everyone was talking about in the mid 60s Mamaya.

Thanks to the timeless design and great performance, the last examples that rolled out of the factory in 1973 was almost identical to the first ones in 1964. Steadily growing prices shows that this is a collector car to count on, the Sport sedans are still possible to find while there has been more of a shortage of good Sport coupe shells, with many people building Sprint coupe clones.

The sprint coupe is a different story, don’t ever think about geting one if you don’t have a wheelbarrow full of money and is willing to look for it for a long time!


1965-82 IP LILY Mk3

If you want to describe the spirit of the Lily, it is probably most correct to say that it has never been a big or a small car, it has been the size of car that the average buyer in the home country could afford to own. With the economy growing, the Lily grew too, and instead of the old-fashioned and cluttered styling of its predecessor, it featured clean lines that can almost be seen as a transition between the early 60s “soap bar” styling from cars like the Corvair, Fiat 1300 and NSU Prinz, and the more squared off lines of the late 60s.

The old pushrod engines was now gone and the only available engine was the 1,7 litre “Hicam” OHC four, a smaller variant of the engine used in the Celestia, though a single and a dual carb version was available, the earlier with a power output of 66 hp and the later with an output of 88 hp, the twin carb used in the more luxurious 1700DX version, featuring things like an electric clock, cigar lighter and cloth upholstery instead of the vinyl used in the single-carb 1700S. Standard safety features in both, however, was three point seatbelts up front, padded dashboard, laminated windshield and a deep-dish energy absorbing steering wheel, features getting more and more common in a society where the dangers of the automobiles were starting to get more and more attention.

The new Lily was a much more modern car underneath too, inspired by the Flaire and the Icarus, strut suspension was used up front and the rear solid axle now had coil springs. Everything was of course mounted to an all steel unibody construction. Even though far from as effective as today, disc brakes were also used up front. The DX had an acceleration time of 14.3 seconds up to 100 and could top out at 149 km/h, performance considered good enough for its era. The single carb S model had a top speed of 135 km/h and used 17.9 seconds up to 100 which wasn’t uncommon for a family sedan of its age even if considered low today.

Another new thing for the Lily series was the first station wagon. Exactly as with the Icarus, it was called the “Astro” and was only available with the single cam engine in the S trim.

In 1974 when the other Lily models had to give way for the Mk4, the wagon didn’t. Seen as a sturdier workhorse than the new platform, it recieved only a slight facelift with more Mk4-like looks, especially up front. Under the bonnet now was a 1,9 litre version of the Hicam four, cranking out 74 hp, a good compromise between the 66 and 88 hp versions. In 1978, the 1,7 litre was back under the bonnet again, now with a new head with hardened valve seats, meaning it could now use unleaded fuel due to new legal requirements.

Some people gave the facelift a little bit of criticism for trying to look too much like an infamous Swedish station wagon, but to be fair it was only an update of the 1965 model with some fixtures from the 1974 Mk4. Being a sturdy workhorse it kept on selling well but when the Mk5 Lily came out in 1983 it quickly looked like a dinosaur, and it was time for the Mk5 wagon to take over.

Today, nice examples are rising in value, especially early wagons, but there is still cars left to find if one wants to pay a decent price.


1966-74 IP COMMUTER Mk1

With the Lily growing in size, there was a need for a compact car to complement the model programme downwards, that was more in the spirit of the earlier Lily models. The solution was the Mk1 Commuter. Launched in 1966, it was rudimentary even for its time. The chassis was kind of a hybrid between old and new, featuring a scaled down version of the Mk3 Lily strut front suspension, the leaf sprung rear axle of the Mk2 mounted on a self-supporting monococque. Oddly enough, the engine was once again a 3-cylinder, a cut down version of the Hicam four, cranking out 57 horsepowers from 1292 cc.

Stopping the car was drum brakes all around, however with a weight of 687 kg, it was probably good enough. Transferring the power through a 4-speed manual, the little 3-pot could send the car up to 130 km/h and the 0-100 sprint took 15.8 seconds.

Inside, there was adequate room for four people, but they were sitting in a quite simple environment. Full vinyl upholstery, rubber floor mats and absolutely no equipment at all except for some basic safety features like front seat belts and a padded dashboard.

It clearly was a cheap car to buy and run, but the blobby styling and shaking engine recieved some criticism.

In 1972 the car recieved a minor facelift. Nothing was done to its rudimentary chassis, but the front end was modified with headlights and indicators inspired by the front wheel drive subcompact, the IP Colibri. The tyres were now radials and the big news was under the hood, the earlier commuter-exclusive 3-cylinder Hicam engine was replaced by a 4-cylinder “LEE” engine with about the same size. The power output now was 61 hp and the top speed improved with barely 4 km/h, but with a quicker acceleration beween 0-100 of 13.9 seconds.

In 1975 the Commuter was replaced by the bigger and more modern Mk2 model. Since most people considered this to be a cheap throwaway car, prices aren’t rising yet, a good example still can be picked up for almost nothing, if you manages to find one.



In 1967 the Highway star was heavily revised. Even if one can believe that it was a facelift of the old generation at a first glance, it really was a completely different, and much more modern van. You now could get it in various configurations, as a 2-seater cargo van, a passenger van with either 9 seats or 6 seats + 2 jump seats, or in the luxurious “Astro” configuration with 6 or 7 seats, that offered a supreme comfort for a van of this era.

It was now powered by the 1,9 litre “Hicam” four cylinder in its single carb 74 hp version, through a 4 speed manual gearbox and of course driving a solid rear axle mounted on leaf springs, this was a commercial vehicle after all. Brakes was improved with discs up front and even though it still was a forward control van with a very short crumple zone, some work had been done in making it safer, with things like seat belts up front and a deep dish yielding steering wheel. The cargo area was enlarged by making a much longer van, since a new smaller van model to complement the Highway Star was already planned.

Styling-wise, it borrowed some cues from the Mk2 Royalist up front, with the same kind of standing headlamps.

Being a strong seller, regulations and buyers tastes changing, a facelift was necessary for the 1978 model. The engine now could use unleaded fuel, and to compensate for the power loss, the 2.3 litre unit of the same old Hicam engine was used, actually cranking out 109 hp, which was more than the old model, but also made the fuel economy a bit worse. To compensate somewhat, the gearbox now had 5 gears. Comfort was improved with new shocks and springs, and safety-wise there now was a new dashboard with more padding and recessed switches, and seatbelts on all places, the front units being of the 3-point inertia reel type. On the outside, twin stacked headlamps replaced the old standing single units and the grille was of the revised type used on many other new IP models at the time, the rear though remained mostly unchanged.

This made the Mk2 survive until 1985, when it was starting to become clear that it had its glory days in the past and needed a replacement. Being a strong seller, many examples have survived to our days and it has never recieved much of a collectors status, and can still be picked up very cheap.

Generations [LORE, UE4] [FINAL RESULTS]


Both the IP Icarus and the Kingston Greenwood was replaced in 1967, now using exactly the same platform, with mainly cosmetical differences between the IP Icarus…

…and the Kingston Greenwood.

Interestingly enough, the base models didn’t feature the new hicam six cylinder. Sharing some of the main structure with the Mk2 Royalist, e.g. the engine bay, it was more suited for V-engines. Because of that, the base engine was a 2,6 litre, 107 hp V6, with its roots in the Stellar V8. Being based on a V8 meant that the engine was a somewhat roughly running 90 degree odd-fire V6 instead of the more common 60 degree layout. Power was transferred to a semi trailing arm rear axle through a 4 speed manual transmission, up front was the McPherson strut suspension that now was almost universal among the IP passenger car line. Disc brakes was standard equipment all around, as were radial tyres. Inside, 5 passengers could ride in a quite comfortable environment, with stuff like leather upholstery, air conditioning, AM radio with stereo sound and electric windows. The driver probably was thankful for the power steering and should the worst occur, it was a quite safe place to be in for its time, featuring things like a padded and energy absorbing steering wheel on a telescoping column, three point seat belts on all outboard positions, a well padded interior and a strong safety cage with the front and rear sections of the unibody working as energy absorbing crumple zones.

The prestige model was the 3500, however. Featuring a 3,5 litre V8 with 152 hp that now transferred the power through a 3-speed automatic, 0-100 now took 11.7 seconds instead of 12.3 and the top speed was raised from 165 to 183 km/h. The fuel economy was not the strong point of any of the models but actually the V8 was not much worse than the V6, despite the automatic transmission.

Like with the previous generation Icarus, there was a station wagon available, as usual called the “Astro”. Being a real workhorse, the gearing was almost painfully low compared to the sedan versions, the interior featured cloth upholstery on much more rudimentary seats, the only special features being things like cigar lighter, electric clock and a mono AM radio, it was far from the luxurious environment of the sedans. At least power steering was standard, so no need to wrestle the heavy car into parking lots. Engine-wise it had the same 2,6 litre V6 as the entry level sedan. It was quite clear that this was not a luxury wagon, but a heavy hauler based on an upmarket sedan. On the wagon version, only the front end styling differed between the Icarus and the Greenwood.

This model was kind of a transition for the two models, the Icarus being somewhat of the sporty middle-class sedan in the IP lineup was moved upwards to a more comfortable and luxurious position as the Celestia cannibalized a bit on the market that the Mk1 Icarus had. The big, but rudimentary, Greenwood had no place on the market anymore either, people buying big cars asking for more and more bells and whistles.

Not much had happened to the models when they ended production in 1975, which was proof that the construction was fully up to date when released.

Considering how nice of a car this is, it is surprising how decent the prices still are, you still can pick up a good example for a bargain price, and it really will give you quite a lot of car for the money.


1968-79 IP FLAIRE Mk2

The original Flaire was getting long in the tooth in the late 60s, and started to get something of a rumour of not being much of a sports car. The sleek Mk2 Flaire released in 1968 though, was a completely new world, at least design wise. The boxy 50s styling was replaced with a wedge shape normally only seen on supercars costing many times more. In fact, IP even abandoned the front strut suspension on this one for the more expensive double wishbone type to be able to get a lower front line. On the bonnet there was fully functioning NACA ducts, and up front the sealed beams that had been disappearing from IP cars earlier was coming back, but now of the all new square shaped type, also this to allow for a lower front line.

Something that actually was inherited from the old Flaire was the round taillamps, but now there was four instead of just two. The old three-box shaped ragtop was replaced by a fastback with a steel roof, and actually a rear hatch that made it somewhat practical even though luggage compartment was cramped.

Technically, it was a much more modern car than its predecessor. The engine, still mounted up front, was now the 2,6 litre “Stellar” 90 degree V6 we had seen in the Greenwood/Icarus and the Brigadeer, but the version in the Flaire was fed through a 4-barrel carburetor, and with a hotter camshaft and raised compression it managed to put out 140 hp. Driven by a semi trailing arm rear axle through a 5 speed gearbox, it managed to give the car a top speed of 172 km/h and a 0-100 time of 8.8 seconds. Not a rocket even for its age maybe, but the Flaire was never built to compete with supercars, it was a peoples sports car. Like the new Greenwood/Icarus, radial tyres and 4 wheel disc brakes were now standard. The interior had a very sporty feeling with high back contoured bucket seats, wood rim/aluminium spoke steering wheel, centre console with a short floor shifter, a complete set of gauges instead of the now more common “idiot lights” and so on. Oddly enough, the radio from its predecessor no longer was standard equipment, maybe to keep pricing down. Safety was given a thought too, like the Icarus it had three point seatbelts, energy absorbing steering column, crumple zones front and rear around a strong steel safety cage and an extensively padded interior.

1975 the Flaire was given a facelift. The low mounted sealed beam headlights had recieved some criticism for bad light output and being prone to stone chipping due to their placement. In their place there now was units for turning signals/parking lights/daytime running lights, while the high/low-beams now were of the popup type. The old chrome bumper was replaced by a plastic bumper molded into the color of the cars paintwork, and actually it was more resistant to small dings than the old metal bumper.

The rear of the vehicle was not as extensively changed, only a “grille” under the bumper and a little spoiler lip made it clear from behind that this was a 1975 model. The wheels was of a new type, a radio was now once again standard equipment and the wood rim on the steering wheel now was leather wrapped instead for better grip.

In 1978 new rules required unleaded gasoline, to compensate for power loss, the V6 was enlarged to 2.8 litres and the 4-barrel carb was replaced by a throttle body injection system. Now with a power output of 158 hp, the top speed was increased to 186 km/h and 0-100 sprint time shortened to 8.3 seconds. An 8 track tape player was added to the equipment, and the 4-wheel brake discs now were vented.

To many peoples dismiss, the Mk2 Flaire was replaced by the less sporty and more comfort oriented (and heavier) Mk3 in 1980. The Mk2 is a collectors car today, being the affordable sports car with the supercar looks, that’s still a good enough performer to offer some fun in driving, and to keep up with modern traffic without any hassle at all.



The Vagant was originally developed by Kingston as a successor to the Greenwood. After moving the Greenwood upmarket by basing it on the Icarus platform instead, the Vagant filled a gap in IPs model programme, a more “normal”, comfort oriented car to fit in between the sporty Celestia and the luxury Icarus/Greenwood. Technology was rather straightforward - a 109 hp version of the Hicam-4 on 2,2 litres, 4 speed manual, RWD, struts up front and semi trailing arms in the rear like most large sedans from the brand, though the Vagant only had drum brakes in the rear, unlike the Icarus/Greenwood/Royalist.

It was far from an exciting car though. The bland design caused some criticism and the driving experience wasn’t anything to write home about either. Performance might have been adequate, reaching a top speed of 167 km/h and doing the 0-100 sprint in 12.4 seconds, but the handling was uninspiring and the brakes only fair. Though it was quite nicely equipped, with velour upholstery on the front bucket and rear bench seats, a premium AM radio, power sterering, carpeting on the floor and much more. Also, safety-wise it had the most things you could wish for.

There also was a coupe model, called the “Starglider”, or as one magazie stated it, “the name was more exciting than the car”. Basically the same car except for the roofline and a more luxurious interior where leather bucket seats replaced velout benches in the back.

Not even today the early Vagant has recieved some kind of status. Good examples are still cheap and sometimes one can start to wonder if the model is completely forgotten.


1970-79 IP COLIBRI Mk1

The Vagant wasn’t the only Kingston model under development that was put on hold for a couple of years after the takeover. The IP Colibri was originally planned to be an entry level Kingston automobile. IP however believed in the concept and development was restarted when all the work around the takeover of Kingston was done.

Today it’s easy to just think that it was a bad ripoff of the british Mini, but it actually was one of the most important IP models this far. It probably was the first model since 1964 that was designed from a blank paper, sharing absolutely nothing with its siblings. Front wheel drive and transverse engine was now used for the first time, it was also the first car to use the all-aluminium four cylinder called the “LEE”, low emission engine. An all aluminium engine was an IP first, as were the fact that the head was constructed to cope with unleaded gasoline already from the start.

The vehicle was such a big step from the rest of the model programme that IP decided to start a completely new dealership chain for it. So now, like some of the japanese manufacturers in their home market, IP had three different dealership chains. The IP Lily dealers sold the Commuter, the Lily, the Icarus and the Royalist, as well as the Flaire sports car and, on the commercial side, the Highway Star van, the Rugger pickup and the Brigadeer 4x4, and was said to have a more “traditional” image, while the IP Kingston dealers sold the Celestia, the Vagant and the Greenwood, cars that was more “progressive” and a bit “upmarket”. IP Colibri was the first car to be sold at the IP Colibri dealers that should concentrate on small and economical cars as well as special models that were a bit “odd” among the other cars from the brand, being the “youthful” dealership. At least that was what the market division said…

With 41 hp and 70 Nm, the 991 cc DAOHC engine was far from impressive performance wise, the car could reach 100 km/h in 18.5 seconds and had a top speed of 116 km/h. It was driving the front wheels through a 4 speed manual gearbox, something that wasn’t copied from the Mini was the suspension, instead of the rubber blocks it had McPherson struts up front and a solid axle on coil springs in the rear. Brakes were discs up front and drums in the rear, but they were enough for the 559 kg car with its moderate performance. Inside, four people could sit down on rudimentary vinyl clad seats, the equipment was very spartan, not even a cigar lighter was standard, and safety wise you didn’t get much more than a padded dashboard and front seatbelts. On the outside there was no chrome, everything was painted black or body colour, originally to save money but it rather became something of a design trademark on the Colibri cars.

In 1974, the 1300GTX model was introduced, most easily identified by its NACA ducts on the bonnet. Being somewhat of a predecessor to the modern hot hatch, the engine was enlarged to 1297 cc and had twice the power output of the 991 cc, 82 hp. That meant a 0-100 time of 8.47 seconds and a top speed of 151 km/h. The gearbox now was a 5 speed and wheels and suspension were tuned for better handling. This transformed the economy car completely into a real pocket rocket.

Replaced by the Mk2 in 1980, the Mk1 turned out to be a real sales success, one of IPs greatest so far. Today it enjoys a well deserved status as a classic, especially the 1300 GTX.


1971-77 IP ROYALIST Mk3

From IPs smallest car this far to IPs biggest car this far, from a great sales success to the biggest flop since the Superlily. The third generation Royalist was huge only to the outside, not when it came to sales. Already at the launch, the (in many peoples eyes) awkward styling recieved a lot of criticism, and on the inside, the car actually felt cramped compared to the old generation Royalist. The criticism continued when some people actually thought that the third generation was a step backward considering the comfort too.

The car was powered by the same 4.2 litre “Stellar” V8 that had powered earlier Royalists. 174 hp and most of them slipping away in a 3-speed auto didn’t really make the 1600 kg car a rocket, but it at least could do 0-100 in 11.9 seconds and top 198 km/h which after all wasn’t bad in 1971. The wheels was polished alloy and they stopped via 4 wheel disc brakes. Inside there was lots of gizmos and a hand sewn leather interior for 4, as usual. A new feature was a 8 track tape player, another, more inteesting one was the hydropneumatic suspension which was supposed to raise comfort, which some people doubted anyway.

All advanced technology meant that it was plagued by reliability problems, and the design grew old quickly. In 1978 it was replaced by the fourth generation Royalist, missed by nobody.

Today they are still struggling from their bad reputation, Many examples are junked out and if you find one that’s not too badly worn out it wil not cost you much. Not many people are wanting them and not many people can accept the design.



The second automobile to appear at the IP Colibri dealers was the IP Colibri Van. Totally unrelated to the Colibri though, except for the engine, a version of the LEE engine enlarged to 1297 cc and 60 hp, now powering the rear wheels for better traction when fully loaded, via a 4 speed manual gearbox. Not as much as a workhorse as the Highway Star, more suited as a light delivery van, the Colibri Van was built on an unibody platform rather than being body on frame. The suspension was borrowed from the Highway Star though, with double wishbone up front and a leaf sprung solid axle in the rear.

Stopping the van was done by disc brakes up front and drums in the rear with mediocre performance, but with a 0-100 time of 15.7 seconds and a top speed of 137 km/h that maybe was less of a deal. It was available as a Cargo version with two seats and a very basic interior, and as an Astro version with windows, five seats and a little more comfort. Safety was never a great priority, as with all forward control vans it featured an extremely short crumple zone, and not much more safety equipment than seatbelts up front and a energy absorbing steering wheel.

Later in 1972 its twin arrived at the IP Lily dealers, the IP Freeway star. As with the other twins in the ever growing model palette of IP, the Greenwood/Icarus, there was only cosmetical differences.

The Freeway star was sold as something of a smaller sibling to the Highway Star, and featured a design inspired by its big brother. More chrome didn’t mean more luxury though, it had the same rudimentary interiors as the Colibri vans. A good feature on the Astro models was its flexibility though, the front seats could turn around to face towards the rear seats, there was tables that could be folded out of the side panels inside and all seats could be folded flat to form a bed too.

In 1984 the Freeway Star recieved a facelift, while the Colibri van was mostly unchanged on the outside except for the new door handles. It wasn’t very well recieved since many people thought the new “smiling” front end looked mostly like an afterthought. Both models was improved technically though. The engine now had a throttle body injection and a catalytic converter, the power output was slightly raised to 64 hp. The top speed was raised to 143 km/h and the 0-100 time dropped to 15.2 seconds. Not improved, though, was the weak brakes, the safety level was slightly updated with inertia reel 3-point belts up front, a plastic dashboard with recessed controls and lap belts in the rear on the Astro models. Power steering was now standard and progressive springs and gas shocks updated the comfort. All this did enough for the model to survive yet another three years, until 1987 when the final examples rolled off the line.

The Colibri Van/Freeway star is something of a cult classic today, early Astros being the most sought after models. The facelifted Freeway star though is the lowest valued of the lot, since its front end styling isn’t liked by very many people. The updated technology doesn’t compensate for this, it was not very much of an improvement and the vehicle feels quite ancient to drive whichever model you choose.



Not even the most beautiful stories will last forever, and even the Mk1 Celestia needed replacement. In 1973 its successor reached the market and it generally got a good reception. The models was as before Sport sedan, Sport coupé and Sprint coupé. Technically, the model was built on the same concept as its predecessor, just further refined, the engines now were enlarged to 2.3 litres for not losing too much power when running on unleaded gasoline, which IP had as their policy that all their new engines released after 1970 should cope with.

As before, the Sport sedan was the model for the masses. With a power output of 117 hp it could do 0-100 in 8.9 seconds and had a top speed of 167 km/h, faster acceleration than the old sprint coupé and only 6 km/h lower in top speed. 5 forward gears was now standard in its manual transmission, another new feature was the alloy wheels. Though it was mostly cosmetical changes with about the same technology as its predecessor, which really shows that the original Celestia was a design that was thinking forward from the beginning.

The Sport coupé was also the same thing as before, the technology from the Sport sedan in a sleek fastback body, with a backseat not suited for any longer trips. Performance-wise they were about similar.

Once again, the Sport coupé body formed the basis for the Sprint coupé. The DCOE carbs were ditched for a mechanical fuel injection system and the power output now was 165 hp. Oddly enough it had the exact same top speed as its predecessor, on the other hand it did 0-100 in 6.8 seconds now which was noticeabely faster than the old Sprint coupé.

The weight was reduced by ditching the small back seat of the Sport coupé completely, replacing the alloy wheels with magnesium ones, and to make some outer parts like bumpers, mirrors and taillamp bezels of plastic. The arches were flared to fit meatier rubber and there was a functional wing on the bootlid.

The Mk2 Celestia turned out to be a success just like its predecessor, and is still a very appreciated model today, with values steadily rising and an enthusiastic owners base. Exactly as the Mk1, there is no idea in trying to get a Sprint coupé anymore, they were rare from the start and the prices passed all the sane levels years ago.


1974-82 IP LILY Mk4

The new generation Lily was a step over its predecessor mostly when it came to one thing, the rear suspension. For the first time, the solid axle was dropped, instead it shared its semi trailing arm suspension with the Celestia. The exception was the station wagon - solid axles were better for hauling according to IP and the wagon continued on the old platform.

Even the basic floorpan actually was Mk2 Celestia, as well as some styling cues, IP touted that to give it a more sporty flavour, but it didn’t turn out well. Customers missed the boxy and practical shape of its predecessor and found the Mk4 Lily too cramped and not very practical.

The models from the beginning was the 1900S and the 2200GTX, both using hicam four cylinder engines, of 1,9 or 2,2 litres, 73 or 109 hp. None of them could be classed as a rocket, 143 km/h and 13.4 seconds to 100 for the 1900, 164 km/h and 10.9 seconds to 100 for the 2200. Otherwise they were quite identical, they had normal equipment for a 70s family sedan, like electric clock, carpeting on the floor, cigar lighter, three point seatbelts, radial tyres and cloth upholstery, gearboxes being 4 speed manuals, disc brakes up front and drums in rear that was not fully convincing, but adequate.

In 1978 the engines were swapped out for units that could take unleaded gasoline. The 1900 was replaced by the smaller, but actually slightly more powerful 1700, and the 2200 with the 2300. The 1700 was mostly unchanged from the 1900, while the 2300 recieved a 5 speed transmission, power steering and rear disc brakes. Performance for the 2300 now was quite good with a 0-100 time of 9.3 seconds and a top speed of 169. The 1700 did 0-100 in 12.3 seconds and had a top speed of 157 km/h. The Mk4 was then built with only minor changes until the Mk5 arrived in 1983.

The Mk4 is somewhat of a forgotten model as an enthusiast car nowadays, getting somewhat disappointing reviews when new, some years later it was the cheap used car that was ran with minimal care and servicing until rusted to pieces, and that image is still there. Nice examples are hard to find since not many people have cared about them, but if you find one they are still reasonably priced.


1975-83 IP WARBLER Mk1

The 1975 IP Warbler was originally supposed to be launched under the name “IP Colibri Sakura”. To avoid conflicts with Sakura, however, on its launch the name was changed to Warbler. Since “Colibri Warbler” would be a quite confusing name, the Colibri moniker was dropped altogether, despite being sold at the IP Colibri dealers, however, the 1975 model still featured a small “Colibri” badge on the tailgate. It was the first hatchback ever to be sold with IP badging, but technically it was nothing new, but mostly parts borrowed from the giant IP parts bin. The suspension front and rear was from the IP Lily station wagon (which still was being built on the old solid axle platform) and the engine was either the 1300 LEE from the Colibri van or the 1700 Hicam from the previous generation Lily.

It was marketed as a bigger brother to the IP Colibri, and at the same time, it slotted in somewhere between the Commuter and the Lily in the whole model program. The 1300 model could reach a top speed of 140 km/h, did 0-100 in 14.5 seconds and featured a very basic interior with vinyl trim, and some safety equipment like headrests in front, collapsible steering column, inertia reel 3-point belts up front and static belts in the rear.

The 1700 model looked very similar on the outside with the extra pair of high beams and the front spoiler as the only differences. It was a bit quicker with a 0-100 time of 13 seconds and a top speed of 156 km/h. Inside, it featured things like fabric trim, a soft-rimmed steering wheel instead of the hard bakelite in the 1300, clock, carpeting on the floor and a radio. In 1978, the 1700 engine was revamped to take unleaded gasoline (which the 1300 could do already from the start). The performance was quite unchanged though, as were the looks.

The Warbler is another 70s IP that never recieved any classic status. It has always been considered ugly, and as a cheap throwaway car. Remaining examples are a rare sight, but the prices still start at “free” when they come out for sale.

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