Mara Motors Company Thread
- 2021-09-03: Added Bizon heavy utility to the line-up
- 2021-09-03: Challenge updates
- 2021-08-10: Initial Kanyon history (1st gen), timeline added
- 2021-07-27: Initial Kavaler history (1st and 2nd gen)
- 2021-07-25: Initial Zvezda history, Irena quotes and ads updated
- 2021-07-18: TPF2 screenshots of facilities and Krapyla images uploaded
- 2021-07-14: Initial Irena history
- 2021-07-01: Initial Pchla and Tovarish histories
- Mara Pchla: 1948-1960 (SUV, ute)
- Mara Tovarish: 1959-1999 (small sedan, wagon, pickup, panel van)
- Mara Irena: since late 1960s (medium sedan, panel van, wagon, coupe, hatchback, pickup, convertible)
Mara Kavaler: since 1975 (large sedan, coupe, wagon / crossover)
– Kavaler I: 1975-1994 (large sedan, coupe)
– Kavaler II: 1995-2005 (large sedan, wagon)
– Kavaler III: 2006-2014 (large sedan, wagon)
– Kavaler IV: since 2015 (large sedan, crossover wagon)
Mara Zvezda: since 1998 (medium sedan, hatchback, coupe, wagon)
– Zvezda I: 1998-2016
– Zvezda II: 2016-
- Mara Zorya: since 2010 (small hatchback)
Mara Kanyon/Reyndzher/Bizon: since 1982 (medium / large SUV, Ute, MPV)
– Kanyon/Reyndzher/Bizon I: 1982-1999?
– Kanyon/Reyndzher/Bizon II: 1999?-201?
– Kanyon/Reyndzher/Bizon III: 201?-
- Mara Kraplya (city hatchback): 1996
Mara Motor (full name: Mara Motorni Fabryky) was founded in 1925 near Lake Mara in Archana in order to supply engines for buses, trucks or light planes for the budding motorisation of Archana.
See also the AMM thread for performance related variants.
Exterior shots of production and test facilities
(near the namesake lake and town and across their train tracks and passenger train station)
(in an abandoned industrial site at the south shores of Lake Mara)
The two shots above are taken in Transport Fever 2.
Note: The current thread is based on actual or potential models in a LC4.1 campaign. Things may change somewhat after LC4.2, esp. performance figures due to RON changes, years due to differences in campaign progression and the looks of the car due to the necessary redesigns.
1) Mara Pchla (1948-1960)SUV, Ute - Pchla I4 0.9
During the war and because of their position close to the capital and away from the front line, they were a key manufacturer of engines for the diminuitive but ubiquitous military G9A jeep, nicknamed Pchla (‘flea’). Later on during the war, Mara were also awarded a contract to manufacture the entire vehicle, not just the engine.
After the war, Mara Motor began producing civilian versions of the crude but rugged and effective Pchla jeep in ute (pickup 2 seater) and SUV (4 seater) forms, both powered by a 999cc I4 producing 21 kW. The Pchla jeep’s softtop did little to protect the inhabitants from the elements and only daring souls pushed these things to their top speed of just above 100 km/h. Hence the famous mock-slogan “Faster than a tractor, consuming less fuel than a tank and quieter than a plane” emerged.
Not many images of the Pchla have survived the decades… and even less cars
However, the dual live axle suspension proved to be perfectly suitable for the limited and widely damaged infrastructure in Archana at that time. The civilian versions of the Pchla went out of production in 1959 when the production lines switched to the then-new Tovarish, but the last Pchlas were still being sold as new in the mid-1960s.
In the subsequent years both Pchla variants have developed a bit of a cult following among enthusiasts in its niche - but the changing times and the non-existent rust protection have done their share to whittle away the number of roadworthy Pchlas to almost zero. However, the descendants of its engine have survived until 1999 in all versions of the Tovarish.
2) Mara Tovarish (1959-1999)Sedan, Wagon, Ute, Van - Pchla I4 1.1, 1.3
– Cult of Personality II - Dawn of the Golden Age 1960-1966 (1st in Counter Culture - Jalopy Culture): as 1962 Mara Companion SD: Cult of Personality ][ : The Boogaloo [LORE][RD 5 FINAL RESULTS] - #77 by AndiD
– Cult of Personality II overall (2nd in Counter Culture - Jalopy Culture)
– Goodwood Festival of Speed 2021: Mara Tovarish 1959 BRC Replica: Goodwood Festival of Speed 2021 - #8 by AndiD
Convinced by the Pchla’s surprising success in the consumer market, in the mid 1950s Mara set out to develop their first own and ‘proper’ mass market car - the 2.1m wheelbase Tovarish. The Tovarish built upon tried-and-true technology from the Pchla such as a ladder frame, a coil-sprung live rear axle and the Pchla I4 engine enlarged to 1099cc. The first Tovarish models were available from the late 1950s onwards in sedan and ute (pickup) form.
Basic transportation for people…
1960 saw the opening of the Fruinian market for Archanan car companies, and shortly after that the Tovarish had gone on sale there as well, now available with family wagon (3 door only though) and panel van bodies as well. For the sedan (and later the wagon), the engine had grown to 1299cc and was now producing 28 kW; the domestic ute and van versions have always retained the 1099cc version throughout their production history, however.
The Tovarish was also available in some other countries through independent importers, often under the model name “Companion” and usually with the larger engine for all variants, retuned for the target market fuel availability. Especially the panel van proved to be very popular in Fruinia - particularly due to its very competitive pricing, but also due to its impressive nominal load capacity of 550 kg, almost the same as the car’s own weight of around 610 kg.
…and goods in urban…
Sales of all models were further boosted by racing exposure in the late 1950s BRC sportscar championship in the under 1100cc class. However, increased safety legislation in Fruinia and other countries from 1970 onwards spelled doom for the Tovarish’s success abroad. For its home market, however, it stayed in production as a low-cost new car option until 1999.
Two major facelifts occurred in the early 1970s (with a switch to radial tyres and unleaded fuel to make the engine suitable for the Fruinian market when used in the Irena) and 1980s (mainly for a switch to more modern components since some of the old ones became increasingly difficult to source). By the end, power output had stabilised at 24 and 27 kW, respectively - neither with fuel injection nor a catalytic converter. In the final 1980s facelift, the basic sedan was actually downgraded from the 1299cc to the 1099cc engine so that the 1299cc engine remained solely in production for the bulkier wagon.
… and rural environments throughout the decades
Increased safety legislation in Archana from the 2000s onwards signalled the end of the Tovarish’ 40-year production run, but even after that the nimble Tovarish has proven popular for amateur rallying and the lowest cc classes of banger racing. Over the decades, it had been the first car for countless Archanan families and proved to be particularly popular in rural areas due to its ability - even for the regular road versions - to cope with varying surfaces. Simultaneously, the basic technology fostered high reliability and low maintenance requirements. Getting into a 1999 model year Tovarish feels like a blast from the past - as it is essentially the same car that would have rolled off a production line in 1984 - or 1964, for that matter. The last Tovarish off the assembly line - a ‘lake blue’ L sedan - has been preserved in the Mara automotive museum.
A surprise racer - albeit only for a very short period of time after its debut in the late 1950s
As of now in 2020, the last of the iconic Tovarish delivery vans are slowly vanishing from Archanan and Dalluhan cities, but there are probably a fair number of Tovarish utes still sitting in barns all over the Archanan Hinterlands with some certainly in good working condition or even still seeing daily use. Over the decades, Tovarish utes have also achieved surprising off-road feats such as crossing the entire island of Vianta from east to west as the crow flies part of an epic journey in the famous TV show The Long Tour (as the vehicle trailing the three presenters from a distance and the one a presenter would have to switch to in case their own ride breaks down). A Tovarish ute has also completed the famous Gasmean Dead Man’s Trail hillclimb
in BeamNG - and all this despite Tovarish utes never having been equipped with four wheel drive or even a diff locker.
And it may be a surprise to our non-Archanan readers, but a 1975 Tovarish ute also had a role in the - albeit short-lived - Archanan TV series ‘Tovarish Yegor’ about a Archanan peasant family who had moved to the city, and the car - named Yegor - gave important life advice in every episode but only the son (and the dog) could understand it.