Tycho's Illustrated History Of Chinese Cars: A Red Flagged Audi With A Chrysler Engine

Tycho de Feyter
by Tycho de Feyter

Hongqi CA750f.

It’s one of those Tuesday afternoons here in Beijing. The air is barely breathable, and somewhere, a hammer drill is duking it out with a concrete ceiling. Time for another installment of Tycho’s Illustrated History Of Chinese Cars. Today we have a very interesting Chinese car. It’s a 1983 Dodge 600 sedan, dressed-up as a Hongqi CA750F. How did it get into China?

The Dodge 600

In 1987, U.S. production of the Dodge 600 came to an end. Not able to find a third world subsidiary that would take the hand-me-down toolings, Chrysler sold the production line for the 2.2 liter Kl4 engine to First Auto Works, or FAW. FAW is the owner of the Hongqi brand, a.k.a. Red Flag. FAW and Chrysler also talked about a much bigger deal where Chrysler would sell the complete Dodge 600 production line to China. FAW expressed interest in using the line, and the engine, for a new generation of Hongqi luxury sedans.

Hongqi CA750f

To see whether things would work out, FAW made two Hongqi-branded prototypes in 1987, based on two imported Dodge 600′s. FAW changed the grill and front lights, added the famous red flag-ornament on the hood, and called it the Hongqi CA750F.

Hongqi CA760.

FAW also made one more prototype based on a stretched Dodge 600, that car was called the Hongqi CA760. FAW liked the results very much, but in the end the deal never happened, thanks to Volkswagen…

FAW Audi 100, note FAW ‘winged 1′ emblem on the upper-right side of the grill.

FAW started producing small batches of the Audi 100 from 1988 under a deal with Audi, this eventually became the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture that was founded in 1991. Audi and Volkswagen didn’t want another car company around. FAW had to choose. It was simple: Chrysler just wanted to sell, Volkswagen-Audi wanted to invest. FAW kicked Chrysler out. That was the end for the Dodge-based Hongqi CA750F and CA760.

FAW however still had the 2.2 Chrysler engine. They used it to power various Hongqi-branded cars that were based on… the Audi 100 from the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture.

FAW indeed made another deal with Volkswagen so they could use the Audi 100 platform for that new Hongqi luxury sedan they still wanted to make. Since FAW already had the Chrysler 2.2 they didn’t need any Audi engine. So here in China, Chrysler and Audi technology found each other in a Hongqi, back in the 1980′s.

1988 FAW Hongqi CA7220. Audi body, Chrysler engine.

For even stranger Audi-Chrysler bastards children, see my earlier post on the Hongqi CA1021.

Dutchman Tycho de Feyter runs Carnewschina.com, a blog about cars in China, from Beijing, China. He also collects die-cast models of Chinese cars.

Tycho de Feyter
Tycho de Feyter

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  • B.C. B.C. on Feb 28, 2012

    This is like finding a country that likes pizza-flavored ice cream.

    • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Feb 28, 2012

      You can find black bean flavored (among many others) ice cream in one city in Venezuela.

  • Acuraandy Acuraandy on Feb 28, 2012

    That's crazy. They still make mid-80's G body GMs too? There's a Chinese car i'd buy...lol

  • 3-On-The-Tree Lou_BCsame here I grew up on 2-stroke dirt bikes had a 1985 Yamaha IT200 2-strokes then a 1977 Suzuki GT750 2-stroke 750 streetike fast forward to 2002 as a young flight school Lieutenant I bought a 2002 suzuki Hayabusa 1300 up in Huntsville Alabama. Still have that bike.
  • Milton Rented one for about a month. Very solid EV. Not as fun as my Polestar, but for a go to family car, solid. Practical EV ownership is only made possible with a home charger.
  • J Love mine, but the steering wheel blocks dashboard a bit, can't see turn signals nor headlights icons. They could use the upper corners of the screen for the turn signals. Mileage is much lower than shown too, disappointing
  • Aja8888 NO!
  • OrpheusSail I once did. My first four cars were American made, and through an odd set of circumstances surrounding a divorce, I wound up with a '95 Nissan Maxima which was fourteen years old and had about 150,000 miles on it.It was drove better, had an amazing engine, and was more reliable than any of my American cars. This included a new '95 GMC pickup that went through five alternators in under two years while the dealership insisted that there was no underlying electrical problem while they tried to run the clock on the warranty.That was the end of 'buy American'. I've bought from Honda and VW since, and I'll consider just about anything except American now.
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