The Lloyd LP 250 could have been ‘India’s first people’s car’

For most individuals born within the ‘80s or ‘90s, the Maruti Suzuki 800 is prone to be the one wherein they learnt tips on how to drive a automotive. Decades after it was first launched in 1983, you continue to can not merely ignore the importance of the 800, particularly when everybody who has owned or pushed one would inform you simply how good a automotive it was.

But earlier than Suzuki, there have been a number of different carmakers who have been within the fray to develop India’s first people’s automotive. Major names from the world over — together with Fiat, Renault, Daimler and Volkswagen — have been within the reckoning to assist engineer what would turn out to be the first really reasonably priced automotive for India’s lots.

But what if I informed you a couple of ‘before’ from even earlier than these firms have been approached? That there was one other identify which, at one cut-off date, was considered as a possible candidate for the title of India’s first people’s automotive, and that it might be the Lloyd LP 250!

Born out of post-war Germany’s want for small, cheap automobiles, the two-door LP 250 — which measures lesser than 3.4m in size — was a by-product of the four-seat LP 400 that had a bigger displacement engine. ‘LP’ denoted limousine or sedan.

The historical past of Lloyd

  • Lloyd Motoren Werke GmbH was based in 1908, and manufactured vehicles at its facility in Bremen. Absorbed by Borgward — one other German carmaker — in 1929, Lloyd solely began mass manufacturing of automobiles within the 1950s.
  • Its first vehicles had our bodies made out of wooden and material.
  • Lloyd bought a reasonably excessive variety of automobiles between 1953 and 1960. However, the corporate filed for chapter in 1961 and ceased manufacturing of automobiles in 1963.

The LP 400 was manufactured within the early 1950s; it was designed to be a reasonably fundamental type of private transport. In 1956, Lloyd launched the LP 250, which was basically the LP 400 however with a smaller, 250cc model of its two-stroke, two-cylinder, air-cooled engine. It produced simply 11hp, and being probably the most fundamental mannequin on supply, the LP 250 didn’t even include hub caps, bumpers or a again relaxation for the rear-seat passengers. It had a 3-speed guide gearbox, suicide doorways, lacked an air conditioner, weighed solely a bit over 500kg, and value lower than 3,000 Deutsche Marks (roughly €1,530 at present with out accounting for inflation).

In its homeland, the LP 250 was known as ‘Prüfungsangst-Auto’, which interprets to ‘Exam fear car’. The purpose for this amusing nickname was the truth that the LP 250 could be pushed by those that had not obtained a licence for driving a passenger car. Legislation on the time necessitated an extra check for individuals who needed to use for a passenger automotive licence, however not for these driving a car with an engine with 250cc displacement or decrease.

The Lloyd LP 250 ended up coming to India due to Sanjay Gandhi, the son of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was intent on giving India its first true people’s automotive. Gandhi shipped in three Lloyd LP 250s. Two of them are stated to have been taken aside for design and growth work for it to go well with Indian situations and tastes, however the venture was shelved halfway.

The solely surviving instance was auctioned by the State Trading Corporation, which was bought to the then-president of World Tamil Congress, Janardhanam. This very automotive exists even at present, having since been acquired by GD Gopal, son of well-known Indian inventor and engineer GD Naidu, in 1996. Post restoration, the LP 250 is on show within the German automotive part of the Gedee Car Museum in Coimbatore.

Less than 4,000 items of the LP 250 have been ever made, and now, over half-a-century later, this specific automotive is actually among the many previous few surviving on the earth. Had the venture in India not been shelved, there most likely would have been scores of those.

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