1975-83 IP COMMUTER Mk2 / IP-KINGSTON SCEPTRUS
In 1975 the second generation Commuter came out. It was now quite a bit larger than the first generation, with the Colibri now being the smallest car in the IP lineup. Inherited from its predecessor was the rudimentary leaf spring suspension in the rear, but at least there now was disc brakes up front. The front end styling was said to be inspired by the Flaire, but as some critics said, it couldn’t have been inspired by anything, because before the Commuter Mk2 existed there was nothing that was this ugly in the whole world. The cheapest model in the range was the 1150S, featuring an 1.15 litre version of the LEE engine with an output of 41 hp. Of course, that meant that it was far from a rocket with its top speed of 123 km/h and 0-100 time of 23 seconds.
The 1150S was spartan on the outside, with no side trim and rubber moldings around the windows. Inside it was about as spartan with vinyl trim, and almost no comfort equipment. The back seat consisted mostly of a pair of very simple cushions, making the car a 4-seater.
The 1300S was identified on the outside by its added chrome trim, something that didn’t help the looks at all. It had the same 1.3 litre LEE engine as the base model Warbler, raising the top speed to 140 km/h, but mostly it helped the acceleration, at 14 seconds to 100 very much quicker than the 1150. On the inside, there now was a real back seat that could seat three people, making the car a 5-seater.
The Commuter was lacking the practical hatchback of the Warbler. If you wanted more practicality there was a station wagon though, of course called the “Astro” as usual. The back end had some really controversial styling, described by a car magazine as “ugly enough to be annoying”.
Another new model in the range was the Kingston Sceptrus. Basically a Commuter with cosmetic changes (and a somewhat less controversial styling), this model was sold at the IP-Kingston dealers as a smaller companion to the Vagant, borrowing some styling cues from that model.
Ugly, primitive, but economical in a world that was turned upside down by the fuel crisis, the Commuter and Sceptrus probably sold more than they deserved. Regarded as a cheap throwaway car, the attractive pricing made it an alternative for people that didn’t require anything fancy. High production numbers in combination with its bad reputation means that a Mk2 could be bought for almost nothing today, one of the most hated IP models, it will probably never reach classic status but instead being remembered as something of the worst that the factory have ever put out. The Sceptrus, though, are marginally higher priced since the styling doesn’t turn as many people off as in the case of the Commuter.