Otnas Kucing - The First Generation
It was 1971, a small hatchback from the Indonesian company was finally revealed to the public. It was called the 'Kucing' - a word for cat in Indonesian language which describes its small physical dimension yet zippy driving characteristics. It was made as an all-in-one car — a car that is dependable enough for daily use, sporty enough for spirited driving, capable to do light off-roading, and as comfortable as premium limousines.
Although some people tend to have two kind of cars; the fancy smanchy one for the weekends and special occasions, and a dependable daily car. What if we can deliver the best of both worlds in just one? Especially in the metro… You can’t drive a Lamborghini Miura everyday but you can’t also drive an S-Class easily in the tight packed traffic! It’s a hyperbole to say that our little car is as sporty as a Miura and as posh as an S-Class but what we’re talking about here is the goal of making the car is to deliver sportiness and comfort. Oh there’s a clue of its feature! A rigid monocoque chassis and a four wheel independent suspension setup!
Chassis & Suspension
The monocoque chassis is made out of corrosion resistant steel to make sure it lasts long. The rigid construction also ensures that there will be less chassis flex which improves the suspension performance. At the front, the Kucing has double wishbone suspension — used by F1 cars of that day. At the back it has semi trailing arm suspension — utilized to maximize cabin and cargo volume whilst having independent suspension. In skidpads, the Kucing can pull 0.88 g’s !
It also has four wheel disc brakes — 2 pistons at the front on each sides and 1 piston at the back on each sides which shortens its braking distance from 100km/h to 0 in just 40 metres in around 3 seconds!
The Otnas Kucing is available in five door and three door configuration (coming soon!). The Kucing has plastic clads that cover its wheel wells and underside of its front end to protect and enhance aerodynamics. The front end is rather rounded than boxier in order to improve aerodynamics. The Kucing achieves 0.343Cd — a good figure for its era — which allows the Kucing to move swiftly from the air resistance. Its styling although is inspired by sports cars such as the DeTomaso Mangusta, Ferrari 365 GTB/4. The upper part of the sides are also fitted with a plastic trim that stretches from the rear end to the front end — mimics the trimming found on luxury cars. The side indicators are also fitted at the fender and rear end that also functions as a parking light that tells where the car is parked in the dark.
The Kucing is powered by a 1.5 litre SOHC 12V Inline 4 motor that is codenamed ‘A’ since its Otnas’ first motor. Although it is also known to have another name; ‘Purring Cat’. Unlike many cars of its day, the Kucing had a mechanical fuel injection that is the Bosch D-Jetronic The D-Jetronic is considered as a fancy system that they are used in Jaguar V12s until 1989 and Mercedes V8s. Although later in 1974, the fuel system is changed into K-Jetronic - a newer system used by Mercedes cars and Porsches.
The ‘Purring Cat’ motor achieves 84hp and 120Nm of torque with its power channeled by a 5-speed manual transmission — allowing the small Kucing 1.5-Classic to accelerate from 0-100km/h in 10 seconds and reach a staggering 186km/h top speed as claimed. Although test drives have revealed that the Kucing’s 0-100km/h time is actually 9.5 seconds and has a 200km/h top speed. To make it more impressive, the fuel consumption of it is rated at 9.5l/100km — translates to 29.7 MPG.
7 years of research before NAIC changed its name as Otnas has resulted to Otnas Kucing’s refinements. Many of cars in the 70s are much larger than it — and how will the 980kg hatchback would survive in a head on crash against a 1.7 tonne car?
The Kucing has collapsible steering column, a dash that remained intact in crashes, safety glass, safety cage, crumple zones, pre-tensioning three point seatbelts at four points, headrests, and a fuel pump switch that turns it off in an event of a crash.
65km/h vs 65km/h against a 1.7 tonne car
(Prototype pics. Might differ from the final product!)
The Kucing also has reinforced pillars to keep passengers safe in an event of a rollover crash.
Inside, the Otnas Kucing has a three spoke sporty steering wheel that is tilted to the left. Why? Because some people are born with their left hand longer than their right hand — which makes them experience fatigue in their right hand since they need to stretch it a bit further. The interior is upholstered in smooth Indigo colored fabric.
Otnas also researched on how the seats are supposed to be built. They had a research in human anatomy, worked with a team of doctors, to build orthopedic seats that are super friendly in long trips — because it’s not rare to meet people who do long trips! These seats are also known to hold the bodies of the passengers in an event of high speed cornering.
Last but not least, the Otnas Kucing has a Blaupunkt FM Radio with two high quality speakers. Although Otnas is known to have audiophiles working for them thus resulting the Kucing offered with with a Becker Europa AM/FM Radio and also Becker Mexico AM/FM Radio with a cassette player! They even offered four speaker option — in a 70s hatch!
Last but not least...
The Otnas Kucing possess impressive features which makes it such a car back then. Although it is known that the Kucing was offered in quite low price; $16900 in todays money for the base model. Its fuel consumption and performance is also astonishing, often compared with premium sport sedans. Although the world’s favourite Otnas Kucing story doesn’t end here for this generation — there’s a lot more to come!
Sport model coverage coming soon!