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Wuzhou Mei Ling (梧州魅灵) Automotive Corporation


#1

Mei Ling is a Chinese automotive company based in Wuzhou, Guangxi. Founded in 1980, the company initially specialized in heavy machinery before shifting half its focus towards the compact vehicle market around the mid-90s.

Their vehicles were shabby, hastily put together, and as a result, very unsafe. Consequently, they were ultra-cheap, easily servicable vehicles that found heavy use in utilitarian and fleet purposes. Notably, the ML6419 and ML6486 series, both which launched around the early 90s. During these times in the 90s, the company had yet to gain certification to designate their model names under private vehicles, resulting in compact vehicles acquiring the leading digit “6” in their names which typically would have corresponded to buses.

Today, the company places great emphasis on creating inexpensive and utilitarian transportation for the least affluent parts of the Guangxi region, locking horns directly with Liuzhou’s Wuling MPVs and microvans.


The brand’s greatest niche was their early-day sedan trucks, which did not involve much more work than hacking the rear off their vehicles and creating a bed out of it. These were later phased out in favour of actual trucks around the mid-2000s.

Although this brand is early in development, I plan to release a lot more vehicles in the future. Stay tuned, this thread will be updated whenever I’m able to do so!


The Crowd Sourcing Competition [Round 31 - on hold]
#2

You already have lore for your other Chinese brands - Honghu is the core range, Huangdou is a budget brand and Jinhe is the upmarket premium division. But what about this one? And is it also part of the Honghu group as well?

Anyway, all the cars you’ve made so far have proven that “Made in China” is no longer a set of dirty words, and is instead something that its customers can be proud of. I can’t wait to see how this one develops!


#3

Think what people stereotype how Chinese brands are supposed to be like, that’s what this brand is like.

Nope! This one is based in Wuzhou in my home province of Guangxi.

Oh just you wait :wink:


#4

Mei Ling ML6486/6487 SUVs (Formerly the QY-Series)

The Mei Ling ML6486/6487 SUVs were brought into production in 1990, starting with the first-generation ML6486QW. The SUVs were heavily based on existing SUV platforms, just a lot more shit. As a result, these Mei Lings were readily-equipped for off-road use with choices between RWD or 4x4, and manual lockers as standard equipment. What was original on the ML6486 vehicles were the fascias, the interior as well as most of its running gear including the engine.

Interior

Interior of a XiangJiang via. ChinaCarHistory

Unlike the drastically-smaller QC-Series microcar, the interior of the Mei ML6486 looked rather… decent? At least in the higher 6487 trim. In the end, all you got was a bit of cloth cushioning on the seats to hold you in place, a dinky radio in the middle, some heating and nothing much more.

Engine

The ML6486 used a 1980 4.0 litre gasoline inline 6 built in-house and used in other larger vehicles, outputting roughly 133 horsepower and 193 lb ft of torque. The alternative option was a 2.5 litre inline-4 developed by the long-since-dead Guangzhou HAC company.

Facelift

1996 saw the introduction of a facelifted vehicle, which threw a bit of glass over the front sealed beams, painted the bumpers, and replaced the taillights with a single composite unit.

Pretty significant change I guess…

…and the higher end ML6487QW was updated too! Look at all that chrome!

Issues

But of course, Mei Ling being Mei Ling, these vehicles ran into many many quality issues. The panels and the ladder frame were all very prone to premature corrosion, whilst the OEM throttle cable would simply snap and brake lines, crack and leak. Electrical issues were prominent within the headlight connections too, resulting in many a broken housing. Thankfully, like Huangdou in the past, these parts were absurdly cheap to replace. Well… besides the rust.

The classic Mei Ling ML6486 and ML6487 is still in production today, solely for fleet use. The newest civilian version is yet to be made, but will be on here sooner or later :slight_smile:

Gallery


#5

2005-2012 Mei Ling ML6508 (Formerly the QY-Series)

Succeeding the older ML6486 (which is in fact still produced today) was this redesigned model which ran until 2012. True to the original ML6486, the newer version maintains its barebones offroading and fleet-specific roots, with not much changed besides the shell.

That’s right! You heard me! not much changed besides the shell! You get the same 4.0L inline-6 in service since the 80s, just a tad modernized with a newer fuel injection system. Now you might suspect it to be pretty underpowered for such a large vehicle, and you may or may not be correct. Roughly 190 horsepower propels this big hunk of metal forward to 100 km/h in around 13 seconds, but screw it. This car was only sold in China anyways.

This meant that you got a crappy rust-prone SUV made out of glorious Chinese steel! Nothing gets more patriotic than that! Despite its very apparent quality issues reminiscent of its predecessor, the newer ML6508 was incredibly capable off-road. Like… stupid capable. You could throw it at any cliff and it would climb it relatively unscathed. Perhaps this could be attributed to its live axle front suspension and leaf rears, which made carrying things in the back no problem at all. Passengers however, probably suffered quite a bit when the vehicle was absent of much load.

Due to its strong carrying capacity, capable off-road performance and cheap package, the newer Mei Ling ML6508 saw its use in police fleets in the Guangxi region, albeit being in small numbers.

Just like its predecessor, trim options were barren. A fleet trim was available, clad in mostly plastic while a slightly more premium comfort trim was offered. In reality, you just got seats that were less like sitting on cardboard.

Expect the interior to look like this. Mmmmmmm plastic. No wonder the police force opted in for the more comfortable version.

Lots of fun can be had with this vehicle. I decided to throw on one of those giant bodykits you usually see on Prados and such. It looks quite hilarious I have to say.

Somewhat badass too…

All in all, the 2005-2012 generation of the ML6508 was its predecessor’s issues in a new shell, just modernized and made equally capable, perhaps even more capable than its previous generation. Thankfully, the parts just like the last generation were easy to replace, maintaining the Mei Ling SUV’s place as one of Guangxi’s staple workhorses.


#6

Good god it’s ugly…

Mei Ling ML6461 MPVs.

Soon.


#7

2000-2012 ML6461 MPVs (Formerly the MP-Series)

Between 2000 to 2012, Mei Ling manufactured a rear-wheel-drive 8-seater MPV dubbed the ML6461, aimed at fleet transportation and delivery use. All Mei Lings were powered by a 1.8-litre 4-pot making as little as 95 horsepower in the early 2000s, to over 100 around 2006 (wow!).


1st Generation

The earliest generation of the MP-Series vans were simple and barren. On the ML6461BW95 (or the base model), the company’s signature pignose grille was very pronounced - typical of Mei Lings within the early 2000s. The MP6462BW95 (guess what this one is? The “premium” version!) hid said design language a tad better with a full chrome grille.

The rears however, were pretty much identical with small diferences in trim material.

What did set the upgraded trim apart from the base model were alloy wheels, fog lights and better seats. Absolutely game-changing.


Facelift


The earliest generation was kept on the market for roughly 6 years until it was eventually facelifted for another 6 years on the market. The facelift considered of utilizing the new Mei Ling grille, also seen on the facelifted SUVs.

The lights were modernized, while fog lights were now standard on the base model. The engine got a minor upgrade with a modern multipoint injection system. You could get some popping fender mirrors on it too… for… some reason.

Two-tone paint was the norm on the facelift. Many different combinations were available, although most clients opted in for a solid white colour.

A couple photos of the facelifted ML6461s in some sunlight.


Interior

image

Expect the interior to look a lot like the Jinbei Granse’s.

The ML6461 vans are still around in the Guangxi region today, with an ample amount of surviving facelifted examples. 1st-generation examples can still be found in smaller towns, albeit being in derelict condition. The ML6461 vans served their purpose well until they were eventually replaced with a newer generation in 2013.

Thanks for reading y’all. I’ve been experimenting with some new formatting, closely inspired by ChinaCarHistory. Hope you guys enjoy it!


#8

Quick Articles: It’s a… Actually, What Is It?

What you see is a"Tuo La Ji", which translates into “tractor” in English. Because the generic tractor you see around the world is also lumped into the same term, some have resorted to calling these “tiller trucks” for lack of a better name.

Typically seen in rural China, these vehicles have become a staple for farmers across the nation. Although a dying breed, these trucks can still be bought today for little to nothing. This Mei Ling example manufactured since 1980 fetches around $3000 USD in todays money.

To even expect a decent interior in these vehicles would be a pipe dream. But hey, the Mei Ling had door handles! Actual door handles!!! Now THAT is luxury.

These trucks are powered by tiller motors. Unfortunately, due to the limitations of the game, I can’t really model one out myself, but oh well… it’s just how it is.

Of course, these types of vehicles are quite the eye-catcher for the foreigner…

…and hopefully the Mei Ling tractor does the same for you :slight_smile:


#9

Will Mei Ling have a 面包车?


#10

The closest vehicles so far are these two.

The beige MPV will have to go through some TLC though since the morphs reset, but I’m planning to redo the entire fascia on it anyways.


#11

Interesting, we have somewhat similar stuff in Bangladesh, we call these Power Tillers. But these things are usually more barebones, power range is usually 10-30 hp and its highly customizable so you could attach ploughs or beds on the rear. Price differs from the equivalent of $250-$300 to $2000 depending on whether it’s new or used and the power.


#12

C L A S S I C


#13

2020 Mei Ling QY7

Soon.


#14

Holy shit.


#15

2020 Mei Ling QY7

Part of the modern Mei Ling collection.

The New Mei Ling QY7 refines the long-running recipe into a vehicle that is upscale, yet can still take on the toughest, most unpredictable terrain China can throw at it.


Same Breed, Whole New Ball Game

While still bearing the model’s 4x4 body-on-frame heritage, the new QY7 takes everything the previous generation did well, and made it better. The new QY7 is more modern, more efficient, and even more capable than before.


Design

Crowdsourced by the community, the new Mei Ling design language features a bold, striking persona while carrying on the historical Pai-Fang grille. The front fascia is now edgy, sharp, low and aggressive, giving the new model a striking look of confidence and modernity.

The rear fascia sees a new look for the Mei Ling design language, with a sharper tailight design which brings the car back to the modern day along with the floating roofline. The square D-pillar is a callback to the original QY-Series Mei Lings, carrying the QY7’s rugged, utilitarian look across the car.


Engine Choices

The 4.0L inline-6 is now no more. Such has been replaced with two options for the consumer - Mei Ling’s new 2.0T inline-4 which makes 220 horsepower, or their equally new 3.0TT V6, with 280 horses to spare. Both are direct-injected and provide the QY7 with stellar fuel economy compared to the last model.


Fleet Usage

A fleet-designed trim is also available, with a 6 speed manual and less creature comforts than the other models. The LED units are replaced with pure halogen, while steel wheels replace the alloys. The grille is primarily plastic and the larger body-coloured side step is replaced with a simple steel unit. The fleet trim came as 2-door van and a 4-door SUV.

Oop. looks like I forgot everything else I was supposed to write. Oh well.


#16

A Bit of Fun

I decided to make an overlander out of the QY7 just for giggles, and it turned out surprisingly well.

A lot of TLC was done to the front bumper. That being, it was removed entirely and replaced with a large steel bumper instead. This means the car now has a higher approach angle! Nice!

The rear bumper sees the same treatment with a steel-ish bumper. More significant changes include the smoking of most of the taillights, a rear antenna as well as a large roof rack with a tent.

The beefy wheels make it look badass, not to mention the black-on-black too.

Anyways, that’s a little update for now. Expect a writeup on a certain mid-engined rear-wheel-drive hatchback coming sooner or later.


#17

2001 Mei Ling ML6037MR65

A dive into a very intriguing MR hatchback with ties to Huangdou’s early performance division. Soon.


#18

Looks cool. I like the black on black theme going on here. It’s badass.


#19

The History of Wuzhou’s Mid-Engine Hatchback - 2001 Mei Ling ML6037MR65 (Formerly the XE-Series)

Circa 2001, Mei Ling introduced a small hatchback dubbed the ML6037MR65. It was mid-engined and rear-wheel drive making it an unusual breed for its time.

The plan was for Mei Ling to ease itself into the compact vehicle sector with a vehicle that offered ample storage space and… driving dynamics?

Not quite. Besides the fact that it’s a MR car, it has a whole 84 horsepower from a 1.2-litre inline-3 and less-than-ideal suspension geometry. Obviously, it was by no means a sports car. Despite this, Huangdou’s early performance tuning division decided to have a go with it.

Shown above are two of their prototypes. The white with nothing done besides a grippier pair of tires, stiffer suspension and actual existent rollbars. The spare tire was also left on because they didn’t give a damn. It meant more weight distribution to the rear anyways so it was basically a Porsche. Absolutely no doubt about that!

The one in yellow was a different ball game, with almost all of its parts swapped out for Huangdou’s wild experiments. This consisted of a pushrod suspension setup, a more powerful turbocharged engine and a pretty bonkers wing.

tHe SpARe TirE StAyS oN dUrInG SEx

As expected, the vehicle in white was very limited in production, with only 10 units being made. Likewise, Huangdou’s yellow monstrosity was a one-off. Making them even more rare was the fact that only 30,000 units of the original ML6037MR65 were produced.

Predictably, only so many examples of this obscure hatchback can be found on the road today, as most have become one with nature. If that wasn’t the case, they probably met their demise by crumpling like an accordion due to its tin-can weak construction. The last few surviving examples are relics of Mei Ling’s earliest attempts to enter the compact market, as well as Huangdou’s experiments with perhaps the perfect test bed.


#20

China’s CV-33: 1987-2010 Mei Ling ML2010/2011(Formerly the LY-Series)

The Mei Ling ML2010, produced in the late 80s, was a long-running model line primarily built out of subcompact cross-country SUVs and vans. Its model series persisted throughout the 90s, and made its way into the early 2000s before being discontinued. The ML2010 came in multiple variants, namely the ML2010 cross-country SUV, the ML2011 vans and the ML2000 coupe SUV. With only 5,000 examples of the vehicle being built, it was extremely rare to come around, and to this day not a single 80s ML20xx is on the road. The only remaining vehicle is a PLA-acquired ML2011 which now sits in a museum in Shanghai.

Construction was crude. The vehicle was all bare steel with the only rust protection being its unevenly-applied paint, while its interior was mostly two bolted seats, wires hanging down from a radio, exposed screws and lots of bare metal.

Its underpinnings were spartan too. It was powered by a measly 36 horsepower engine, while its ride relied on nothing but a coiled live axle in the front and leaf springs in the rear. However, its inclusion of 4x4 and manual lockers made it no less capable off-road than larger Jeeps.

An even more basic model existed, taking away multiple trim pieces, lighting fixtures and even the radio in the process.

On this model was only one driver’s side mirror and one brake light. Along with multiple other cost-cutting measures, the base model managed to fetch for roughly $5500 - $750 less than the regular ML2010.

The ML2011 was the van variant of the SUV, and only came with the basic underpinnings seen on the lowest end ML2010.

Stronger dual doors were added on these models too, while the rear springs were tightened. This allowed the ML2011 to carry significant loads despite its size.

This attracted the attention of the People’s Liberation Army, who purchased a small quantity of these vehicles. A home-produced competitor to the UAZ-469, it fell short of the army’s expectations by miles, being too underpowered and hastily-built.

Although strong for its size, it was easily outmatched by its larger counterparts and eventually met its demise by the end of the Sino-Vietnamese conflicts. Only one of these ML2011s still exist; a vehicle which never saw service and is now in a Shanghai museum.

One of the quirkier models to come out was a coupe version - the ML2000. Built in the early 2000s, only 5 were produced.

Documentation has confirmed that there are still two ML2000s alive today - one registered in Liuzhou, the other in Nanning.

From the 2000s and upwards to 2010, the ML20XX was modernized. It was equipped with an updated 71 horsepower 1.2 litre inline-4, while the interior was given a significant overhaul.

Something like the Mahindra Bolero’s interior.

Composite lighting units were also implemented, while power mirrors, windows, locks and a digital dash were standard. A third brake light was added on the rear, with the inclusion of a rear wiper as well. Hydraulic power steering and ABS was also added as standard features. 4-door variants were now available, with third rows being available too, albeit being very cozy in space.

Despite modernization in the engine department, the newer ML2010 still kept its older running gear. It still had 4WD, live axles and a 4-speed manual.

The last long-running ML2010 was eventually phased out, and made way for a less spartan subcompact SUV by the Mei Ling brand. Rumours however, do say Mei Ling may bring the ML2010 back in its former shell, as an electric vehicle.