10 Awesome, Odd & Unusual Chinese Cars You Can't Buy Here
Chinese cars have come a long way, and they've made the journey in style! These 10 awesome Chinese cars aren't sold here for reasons that aren't always obvious but the fact they've been sold – or even built – anywhere at all is mind-boggling in itself.
10) Tang Hua Detroit Fish
Debuting to dropped jaws and boggled minds at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, the Detroit Fish amphibious vehicle – it has a propeller where the exhaust pipe usually goes – is both weirdly named and bizarrely styled.
It gets weirder and bizarre-er, as the manufacturer's suggested buyers include “renowned environmentalists – President Bush, ordering this car for his Texas ranch.” Seems the Chinese know as little about us as we know about them. (awesome Chinese car image via Jalopnik)
9) ITRI Ecooter
With four wheels mounted in an odd diamond-shaped pattern, the oddly-named Ecooter is an odd beast indeed. Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) designed the Ecooter to be an urban commuter able to turn on a dime and squeeze into the smallest parking spots.
Another point in its favor: the single-seat design spares female owners the uncomfortable task of inviting friends for a ride in their Ecooter. Shuddup, Beavis! (awesome Chinese car image via Chih-Hao Tsai)
8) TADRI 4FUN
Part transportation system, part mobile tanning bed? The TADRI 4FUN was recently displayed at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show where it possibly inadvertently displayed the name “VOLKSWAGEN” on one raised doorsill.
Perhaps it's destined to be China's People's Car, designed for tanned and rested people. (awesome Chinese car image via Gizmag)
7) Dongfeng I-Car
It's not a smartphone, nor is it a Smart Car, it's the Dongfeng I-Car! This cute & cuddly electric vehicle was introduced to the public at the 2010 Beijing International Auto Show.
Steve Jobs, the late legendary CEO of Apple Inc., passed away almost one year later. Surely that's a coincidence. (awesome Chinese car image above via Washington Post)
6) Cestar Sunset
Shandong Cestar Electric Vehicle Co. wants their customers to be happy so they've made their cars happy... just look at that smiling face! Most grills provide a flow of fresh cooling air to internal combustion engines but as the Sunset is electric, its grill provides only a fresh, breezy personality.
Could the three-wheeled Cestar Sunset be any cuter? Perhaps, if purchasers paint their rides pastel pink and install headlight eyelashes. (awesome Chinese car image via TTnet)
5) WHAZ ZAP?
The three-wheeled, all-electric ZAP Alias roadster has been keeping a very low profile since a pre-production version was displayed in early 2009 at the National Automobile Dealers Association annual conference and exposition in New Orleans.
The two-seater Alias sports gullwing doors and a top speed of 105 mph with 0 – 60 mph acceleration in 7.8 seconds. Add to those impressive figures a range of over 100 miles on a single charge, though repeated stop-light show-em-ups will likely cut that down to size. As for the name, is it really wise to call an electric car “ZAP”? (awesome Chinese car image via Gizmag)
4) Zhang We Can Believe In
It's got four wheels and a leg... er, a leg up on the Chinese homemade electric car competition, that is!
The above vision in robin's egg blue is the handiwork of 58-year-old Shanghai resident Zhang Haiting, who hopes to sell commercialized versions for 5,600 yuan or $820 each. Don't want to buy one? Haiting's gonna hait! (awesome Chinese car image via Imagine China)
3) PLA/GMC Armored Car
Back in 1949, China's People's Liberation Army rolled out this formidable armored car based on a GMC pickup truck. We're sure GMC was just as surprised as anyone else when this vehicle announced the then-new PRC was ready to rumble.
Mounting a pair of water-cooled machine guns, this historical bad boy ruled the roads of the newly-minted People's Republic and made short work of anyone brash enough to hog the passing lane. (awesome Chinese car image via Day War Photo)
2) Dartz Black Snake
Based on the Mercedes GL 63 AMG and extensively – surely an understatement – customized to suit the broad tastes of China's nouveau riche, the million-buck Black Snake was conceived in faraway Latvia though it's doubtful even one single Latvian could afford one.
The heart of the Black Snake is a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8 that pumps out 557 horsepow... ooh, exotic wood interior paneling and leather trim made from ostrich and crocodile! (awesome Chinese car image via Business Insider Australia)
1) Two-Wheeled TARDIS
Have you seen this vehicle? Because it is awesome! That's all we can say 'cuz that's all we know, other than the fleeting photo above by Flickr user Federico was snapped on the streets of Shanghai.
You know you want it... you also know you don't want to get into an accident in it. (awesome Chinese car image above via Federico, and at top via ChinaSMACK)