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IP Automotive LTD



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.


1976-83 IP PANDORA Mk1

The Pandora was an answer to some buyers criticism that the Flaire had grown out of the budget sports car market. Based on the technology of the Warbler, with struts up front and a coil sprung live rear axle (both of them in turn borrowed from the Mk3 Lily), it was a bit more primitive than the Flaire, also the body had a little more practical shape, and there was two small bucket seats in the rear, not with much space for an adult, but at least they could fit small children so having a Pandora as a second car in the family was actually possible.

The first year, the models released was the 1700GTX and the 2200GTX, with an 1.7 litre or 2.2 litre version of the Hicam engine. On the outside the 2200 was different only by using 15 inch wheels instead of the 14 inch wheels used by the 1700, but still rostyle steel wheels, alloys was still considered a luxury in the 70s. However, it was not much of a sports car performance wise, the 93 hp 1700 had a top speed of 163 km/h and could reach 100 in 11.2 seconds, though it was quicker than the 1700 Warbler it was based on, probably due to using the 1700TP engine that could run on unleaded gasoline instead of the 1700TC in the Warbler. The 109 hp 2200 had a top speed of 169 km/h and could reach 100 in 10.1 seconds, it was actually more sparse on fuel than the 1700, but it could not take unleaded gasoline and was only produced in 1976 and 1977 due to new unleaded fuel regulations in 1978.

The real slow mover, however, was the 1300S introduced in 1977. On the outside, the 1300 model could be recognized by the bumpers, which were missing the spoiler and brake vents up front, and always molded in grey plastic, instead of being molded in color like the 1700 and 2200 bumpers. The top speed from the 60 hp 1.3 litre LEE engine was 149 km/h and it did the 0-100 sprint in 15.3 seconds. It got good gas mileage though, and IP was advertising it as a sporty looking economical subcompact for commuters, it never was a big seller though and is rare today. The interior was missing the tachometer, sport seats and leather steering wheel of the bigger brothers to lower the sticker price.

In 1981 the Pandora got a quite extensive facelift. The vents from the prefacelift was gone, the bumpers now featured a wider grille and a centre-mounted license plate. 15" wheels was now standard and the turn signal/parking lamp/DRL arrangement was moved to under the popup headlights from the bumper. The side trim was removed and the mirrors was different.

The plastic panel between the taillights had been changed to follow the pattern of the taillights, however the purpouse was only decorative, it featured no bulbs at all.

The Pandora was discontinued in 1984, replaced by the Mk3 Commuter coupé, however, it did a comeback in 1989, but that’s a different story.

Due to the Pandora having a rumour of being a hairdressers car, and to the slow performance, Pandoras have never gotten a following as a collectors car, many examples have survived thanks to the Pandora often being a second car in the family, with a low mileage, but they go for quite cheap prices. They can actually make a good entry into the retro car world, with low prices and mechanics being related to the IP Lily and Warbler, they are easy to live with.



After having a couple of designs that had a lukewarm reception, the replacement for the ageing Mk2 Icarus and Greenwood was completely right when it came out in 1976. While looking very boxy by todays standard, the sharp lines was hot stuff in the later half of the 70s. A tasteful use of chrome trim without over-using it was rather enhancing the lines than cluttering it down, and it quickly became a real status vehicle in its home market.

The V6 now was gone, instead the base 2800 model used the 2.8 litre Hicam inline six. A power output of 125 hp in the heavy car meant quite lazy performance with a top speed of 166 km/h (this brick wasn’t really aerodynamic) and a 0-100 time of 12.7 seconds. The suspension followed the now almost classic IP recipe with struts up front and a semi trailing arm rear end, the transmission now was a 4-speed automatic, and it was disc brakes all around, solid in the rear, vented up front. Inside, five people could sit on real leather and had everything they could wish for, air conditioning (almost a must-have in the tropical climate it was designed for), electric windows and mirrors, cruise control, 8 track stereo, an energy absorbing tilt/telescope steering column, headrests and 3-point inertia reel seatbelts on all outboard positions (static lap belt in the centre rear seat), side impact beams in the doors and much more.

The 3500 mainly differed on the outside by having some extra chrome trim and polished turbine alloy wheels. The difference was under the bonnet. 176 hp 3.5 litre V8 meant that the car could reach 100 in 10.6 seconds and had a top speed of 189 km/h. Not bad for such a beast maybe but it had an excessive fuel thirst, something that was never cured in this generation Icarus.

The station wagon version was called the Astro as usual. A little bit simpler with cloth trim and a little less electric gizmos than the 2800 sedan, but it was a heavy hauler. It now featured two jump seats in the rear too, making it a 5+2 seater.

And just like the previous generation…

…there was a Greenwood version sold at the Kingston dealers, with only cosmetical differences.

Even though the fuel thirst was excessive and there was some reliability problems, the Icarus/Greenwood was a steady seller. Due to catalytic converters being required in 1986, the model was withdrawn in december 1985, selling the late models as 1985½ until the Mk4 took over for MY1987.

Nice examples of the Mk3 has never been cheap and they have hit bottom a while ago and prices are rising again. They will probably be regarded as classics in a future not so far away, though rusty or broken cars are very cheap, the construction was starting to become a bit complicated and could be costly to repair compared to older cars. Buying a good, running example pays in the end!



The second generation Vagant continued the tradition of a honest but not very exciting family sedan. The only engine available was a 2.3 litre variant of the Hicam four, with a power output of 107 hp, mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox. That made for a mediocre performance with a top speed of only 165 km/h and a 0-100 time of 12.5 seconds, and fuel economy was not a strong side either, the switch to unleaded gasoline and stricter emissions regulations was taking its toll. Just like the previous generation, it shared the basic floorpan with the Icarus/Greenwood. That meant that even this generation was running the traditional IP setup in this class, Mc Pherson struts up front and semi trailing arms in the rear.

There was now ventilated discs up front and solid discs in the rear, but the brakes didn’t really impress the automotive journalists back then. The interior was somewhat improved, standard equipment featured stuff like velour upholstery, power steering, 8-track player, central locking and electric mirrors. Safety-wise it was up to date too, with effective crumple zones, side impact beams in the doors, headrests even in the rear and 3-point inertia reel seatbelts on all outboard positions. But it failed to impress the automotive journalists, or for that matter, the buyers. The Vagant wasn’t seen as much of an improvement over its predecessor, which in its turn was a quite good, but boring and bland car.

The Starglider coupé was however seen as more stylish than its predecessor. Mechanically it was identical to the sedan, but featured things like a leather interior, electric windows, wood trim on the dashboard, cruise control, air conditioning and alloy wheels. The back seat consisted of two contoured bucket seats instead of the bench in the sedan, meaning that the car now was a four seater. The Starglider Coupé was discontinued after the 1984 model year, while the sedan was produced until 1985.

Considered far from as refined as its bigger brother, the Greenwood/Icarus, the Mk2 Vagants can be picked up for cheap today. The interest in the model is low, and there is quite a lot of them on the market, being a strong seller for almost 10 years despite its flaws. Sure, Stargliders are of course a bit more costly than the sedan, but they are something of a bargain too, considering what you get for your money.


1978-92 IP ROYALIST Mk4

This was the last IP Badged Royalist, before the restructuring of the brand in the early 90s made Royalist a sub-brand on its own. The exterior dimensions was a bit smaller, with much of the basic platform actually once again being shared with the Vagant and the Icarus/Greenwood, yet a more practical shape meant more interior room. However, the hydropneumatic suspension, license built from a french patent, still was there, so was the old “Stellar” V8 with its roots back in 1963 and the second generation Royalist. Now a 5 litre 238 hp version with single point injection. The top speed of 206 km/h and 0-100 time of 12.7 seconds was about at the level of the predecessors performance, and despite the 4 speed automatic now used and the lower weight compared to the Mk3, the fuel consumtion was horrible at 29 litres per 100 km.

Other interesting features was ventilated disc brakes all around and an 8 track tape player. Of course the list of standard equipment was extensive, on the comfort side as well as the safety one.

In 1987 (there was officially no 1986 model, only 1985½ waiting for the new engine with mandatory catalytic converter to arrive in 1987) the model got a slight update. On the outside, the new aero headlamps was the major change. Under the bonnet was the new 24-valve “Trident” V8, multi point injected and reducing the fuel consumtion to almost half of its predecessor! 4.8 litres and 239 hp, and now connected to a computer controlled 4-speed auto. The top speed was higher, 214 km/h, but it also got slower up to 100 with a 14.5 second time, probably due to a change in gearing. The brakes were updated, bigger rear discs and ABS, there now was a cassette player instead of the 8 track, and the driver got an air bag.

In 1992 the last examples were built, and a new era in Royalist history started, with Royalist now being a luxury car sub brand under IP, with more than one model in its programme.

The Mk4 Royalist has never been a cheap car, and isn’t today either. Rare, and expensive as new, examples well taken care of does sell for high prices. Battered examples aren’t cheap either but can be a nightmare to restore, and is something that is better to stay away from.


1978-93 IP BRIGADEER Mk2

In 1978, the almost 20 year old Brigadeer was finally replaced with an all new model. It still featured solid axles both front and rear, but for better offroad capabilities, the front axle used coil springs. However, to keep load capability up, the rear still utilized leaf springs. The body also was all new, with a much more modern shape than the now very ancient Mk1.

As with the previous generation, even this one was available with a station wagon body or as an “Uti-Lite” pickup truck. The base Wagon and Uti-Lite models was available with the 2.3 litre Hicam four or the 2.8 litre Hicam six. The 2.3 had a top speed of 139 km/h and accelerated up to 100 km/h in 13.5 seconds while the 2.8 could reach 140 km/h and did the 0-100 sprint in 12.3 seconds. The fuel economy wasn’t given high priority however, the 2.3 wanted 20 litres per 100 km while the 2.8 craved 24 litres.

4x4 with manual lockers and a 5 speed manual transmission was the standard driveline, very suited for an offroad vehicle like this. The wagon could take 4 passengers, and for shorter trips, two more in transverse jump seats mounted in the luggage compartment. Power steering box with a collapsible column was standard, as were 3-point inertia reel seatbelts up front and lap belts in the rear seats. Other than that, the equipment was quite sparse, a workhorse as it was.

Not as sparse in its equipment was the Grand Brigadeer 3800 VIP, identified on the outside by a more generous use of chrome trim. Equipped with the 3.8 litre V8 from the Icarus, and a 4 speed automatic, it could reach a top speed of 173 km/h. Acceleration was a bit more sluggish than the 2.8 though, needing 12.5 seconds to 100, and the fuel economy was tragic at 30 litres per 100 km. Technically, it also featured rear disc brakes instead of the drums found in the poverty spec models. Equipment was luxurious with leather upholstery, air conditioning, 3-point inertia reel seatbelts and headrests for all four passengers (the jump seats from the 2.3 and 2.8 wagon was for some reason optional here, maybe to get less of a workhorse image), electrical windows and mirrors, central locking, tilt-telescoping steering column and much more.

The Uti-Lite model was technically identical to the poverty spec wagon, just with a different back end. It featured a bench seat though, to be able to take 3 passengers.

In 1986 the Brigadeer was updated, featuring some interesting news. The VIP was omitted from the model programme for a year, waiting for the new V8 with catalytic converter, and late 1985 models was sold as “1985½” as a stop gap model while waiting for the 1987 to arrive.

One of them was the “Pro” version of the Uti-Lite and the Wagon.Still featuring the old style front end from 1978, it also was dechromed and had a standard mounted bull bar. Available only in olive drab or in primer for customers wanting a paintjob on their own, it also featured a raised ground clearance and special tuned suspension for better capabilities offroad. It was available with a 2 litre detuned Hicam four that could run on 91 octane fuel, as well as the 2.3 and (now) 3 litre Hicam four and six.

The other models recieved a new front end with “Aero” headlamps, the engines now was fuel injected and the six cylinder was stroked to a capacity of 3 litres. Fuel consumtion was reduced drastically, especially in the six cylinder model that actually was more sparse on the fuel than the four.

The VIP model was reintroduced for the 1987 model year, now featuring the all new “Trident” V8 with 3 valves per cylinder. The 3.6 litre engine had a power output of 171 hp and the fuel consumtion was as low as with the six cylinder. ABS brakes was now standard, as were a cassette player.

The Brigadeer Mk2 was produced until 1993 when it became clear that there was more modern competitors that had surpassed it in most areas. It has, however, always been popular, nowadays with both offroaders and classic car enthusiasts. Getting one is far from cheap and prices on good examples are rising all the time, especially on the late fuel injected models since their fuel economy makes them much more suited for everyday use.


The Brigadeer in it is a nice competitor to Mastin’s Malamute and Rottweiler. The brigadeer is faster for sure, but a bit thirstier.


Yes. When the ancient Rugger gets replaced later in the 80s (I blame the complete lack of good 70s minitruck bodies for this :stuck_out_tongue: ), it will have a 4x4 option and even spawn a 4x4 station wagon version, which will be a little bit more road oriented but still offroad capable, with IFS etc. which maybe will be digging a bit into Rottweiler territory too. Think of the Brigadeer as aimed against Patrol/Land Cruiser territory (there was utes of those models too), V8 VIP model even against Range Rover and similar cars, while the 80s Rugger will be aiming at the Nissan Hardbody/Navara/King Cab and its Pathfinder/Terrano sibling, if compared to cars of the real universe. But that’s still some years away…


1979-96 IP MASTERCAB Mk2

In 1979, the ancient Mastercab harking back to the 50s was finally replaced. Even though the styling was similar to the Icarus, Vagant and Royalist, it didn’t share their platform but had one on its own with a coil sprung solid rear axle instead of the IFS used on those models. Under the bonnet, we found a 2.8 litre Hicam inline six. With a 126 hp power output, it could reach a top speed of 164 km/h and did the 0-100 sprint in 11.7 seconds. The power was transferred through a 4 speed automatic to the rear wheels. All four wheels featured disc brakes, vented up front and solid in the rear. Inside, it featured a simple but durable vinyl- and rubber clad interior with a bench seat up front to seat six.

The Mastercab was a thirsty beast though, wanting 20 litres per 100 km.For a vehicle mostly seeing taxi use, that was not very good.

In 1986, the Mastercab recieved a slight update. Up front there now was square headlamps, the wheels were 15" instead of 14" and under the bonnet we now found the 3 litre Hicam six, that one mated to a computer controlled automatic meant that the fuel consumption was down to 13 litres per 100 km. Relatively unchanged, the Mastercab was then built to 1996. Today they are very rare due to most of then being scrapped when their service ended.


[patiently waits for IP Mimas release]


Yeah, it’s soon 1984… :slight_smile:


1980-88 IP FLAIRE Mk3

The beloved budget sports car, the IP Flaire, was replaced in 1980 with a more comfort oriented model. Heavier, more expensive and less sporty, it was something of a disappointment for the enthusiasts, but was going to appeal to a wider crowd. The raised front end made it possible to switch back to cheaper but also less refined McPherson struts in the front, while the semi trailing arm rear axle was moved over unchanged from its predecessor.

The Stellar V6 from the 60s now was out of production. Instead, the first all-new IP engine in 10 years had taken its place. A 3-litre inline 6 with dual overhead camshafts, though only 2 valves per cylinder. Aluminium head and iron block, and with a power output of 197 hp at 6200 RPM and 244 Nm at 4900 RPM. Also, it was engineered with single point electronic injection and catalytic converter already from the factory, to keep emissions down. In this version, it did the 0-100 sprint in 7.5 seconds and could reach a top speed of 214 km/h. Fuel economy, however, was not improved from the old Flaire.

The brakes were four wheel ventilated discs, like its predecessor, and a variable ratio power steering was standard equipment, along with an 8 track player, contoured bucket seats (only for two), leather steering wheel, a digital dashboard, theft alarm and much more. Safety was improved with for example door beams, more effective crumple zones front and rear, seat belt anchors mounted to the front seats for better fit and a steering column that now wasn’t only telescoping but featured a corrugated deformation element that could crumple from any angle.

In 1983 the N/A 3000 GTX was replaced by two models, the 2800 Turbo and the 3000 Turbo. One of the reasons was the criticism the 3000 GTX had recieved for its fuel economy. The turbo models are most easily identified by their 16" rims instead of the 15" of the N/A, and the lack of side trim. Other changes was the sound system, now featuring a four speaker system but still an 8-track player. The 2800 Turbo featured a de-stroked and de-bored version of the 3 litre engine, with a power output of 218 hp at 5700 RPM and a torque of 346 Nm at 3800 RPM. The crude throttle body injection was replaced by a multi point EFI and fuel consumtion was reduced from 20.1 litres per 100 km to 13.7 litres. 0-100 was done in 7.5 seconds and top speed was 220 km/h.

The 3000 Turbo was the new top of the line model, using the same 3 litre engine as the GTX, but a turbocharger kicked the power output up to 290 hp at 5500 RPM and the torque to 418 Nm at 3600 RPM. Top speed was raised to 236 km/h and 0-100 time reduced to 6.2 seconds. Fuel economy slightly better than the GTX at 16.8 litres per 100 km. The Flaire Mk3 then soldiered on with only minimal changes until 1988.

Today, the Mk3 Turbo models are the ones sought after, especially the 3000. The GTX is not very popular, due to the low power output and high fuel consumtion, meaning that you still can pick up GTXes for good prices. However, none of the models have ever recieved the same popularity as the Mk2.


to be honest

that car looks really sad/ depressed with these pop-up-headlights


The 70s and early 80s was kind of a low period design wise, with many models getting lots of criticism for being just bland or downright ugly. That is going to change in around 1982…at least I hope so.


it will.

when the euro licence-builds roll around :stuck_out_tongue:

[self-promo intensifies]


On the other hand, when looking at one model that would have been a competitor to the Pandora…

And one that would have been a competitor to the Commuter…

Maybe the ugliness of those models are a bit…excused.


the lower one is not that bad imo


Maybe I’m just tired of seeing them then, living near to the finnish border, with early 90s Finland being crowded with examples in (most often) mustard yellow, rusted to pieces and not washed in 10 years… :smiley:

But that’s a different story.


Whatever the reason, tastes differ.
I like it (at leas the lower one), you don´t.

[sits down and continues waiting patiently for 1984]



When the Colibri was introduced in 1970, the concept was fully modern, more than many of its competitors, but the 70s moved on and so did the competition. The Colibri started to look very ancient, being almost a copy of the original Mini design-wise, and it was time for a replacement. In 1980 the Mk2 Colibri was introduced, now with a hatchback and either three or five doors. The three models available was the 1150S, the 1300S and the 1300GT. All of them used variations of the now very familiar LEE engine, 1.15 or 1.3 litres. The 1.15 litre engine was shared with the Commuter, and had a power output of 41 hp. The performance was far from amazing with a top speed of 127 km/h and a 0-100 time of 19.6 seconds, and at 9.3 litres per 100 km the fuel economy wasn’t really something worth bragging about in such a small car.

The 1300S had the 1.3 litre LEE variant shared with many of the other IP cars from the 70s and 80s. 60 hp meant better performance, 13.1 seconds to 100 and a top speed of 145 km/h. 9.1 litres per 100 km meant that it had slightly better fuel economy too. One reason for this was also the 5 speed gearbox, as opposed to the 4 speed in the 1150.

The 1300GT had a throttle body injected version of the 1.3 with 86 hp, meaning that it could sprint up to 100 in 9.46 seconds and reach a top speed of 158 km/h. 14 inch rims with low profile tyres and a special back seat that was contoured for only two passengers was other differences. Though it was amazingly thirsty for a subcompact car, 13.6 litres per 100 km!

In 1983 the 1300GTT was introduced, with a 125 hp turbocharged 1.3 litre engine. A top speed of 183 km/h and 0-100 time of 7.14 seconds made it a competitive hot hatch of its era. It also featured a sportier interior with contoured bucket seats in front and the back seat from the GT, digital instrumentation and a leather steering wheel. There even was a rare GTT/CS (ClubSport) version available with special tuned suspension and back seat delete.

In 1986 the model program was revised. The 1150 engine was replaced with the three cylinder 995 cc engine from the smaller IP Urbana. 43 hp and 79 Nm meant that it was a little bit stronger than the old 1150 cc unit, at 128 km/h the top speed was only marginally higher but the 0-100 sprint was quicker at 18.4 seconds. The winner was the fuel economy, now down to 8.5 litres per 100 km. The 1300GT was discontinued, considered replaced with the 1300 GTT. The remaining 1300 model, the S, got a throttle body injected, catalytic converter equipped version of the 1300. 64 hp, 144 km/h top speed and 12.7 seconds to 100 was performance comparable to the old 1300S but it was a bit more thirsty at 10.9 litres per 100 km, probably due to the emissions regulations taking their toll on the old LEE engine, ironically enough built to be environmentally friendly from the start.

While the IP Colibri was sold at the special Colibri dealerships, there was a special version sold at the IP-Kingston dealerships too, called the Stanley, borrowing styling cues from the Celestia. As usual there was only cosmetical differences, and even though this was a system working well for many japanese manufacturers, it didn’t turn out well for IP and the restructuring of the brand in the 90s would change a lot.

The Colibri/Stanley of this generation kinda marked a turnaround for IP. Having some sales success in the 50s and 60s, the 70s had been a dark age with many of the models getting criticism for bland and ugly styling, thirsty engines and low comfort. The goal for the 80s was to get rid of those problems, and even though the 1980 Colibri was a turnaround, other models had managed to do it even better, so by the end of the 80s it started to appear dated. In 1988, the Colibri was replaced by an all new model while the Stanley was discontinued due to low sales.

The Mk2 Colibri was for many years only an economical second hand car, that nobody cared very much about, and is becoming a rare sight. However, that also means that the values are still low, prices starting from free. The GTT and especially the CS are a bit sought after, but other Mk2 Colibries can be had for cheap.