Get in the Back, Hongqi Cat – Civilian Version of Red Flag L5 Introduced at $800K
It’s not just Panthers that get some love around these parts. TTAC contributors Murilee Martin and Tycho de Feyter have both expressed admiration for the Hongqi CA770 “Red Flag” limousines made by China’s FAW (formerly First Automotive Works) and used as state automobiles from the mid 1960s into the 1980s. A few years back, FAW introduced the massive, 21 ft long Hongqi L9 (aka CA7600L), with styling heavily influenced by the vintage Red Flag limos. Since then, a slightly shorter version, the L7, has been used for foreign heads of state when visiting China. Last year the L7 went on sale to the public for the first time when a Red Flag dealership opened in Beijing’s elite Jinbao shopping district. Now, even a greater number of wealthy Chinese will be able to show up government officials in their mere Audi A6s. At the recent Beijing auto show FAW introduced yet a smaller version of the limousine, the L5, to the retail market and businessman Wang Zhonghua, who owns a chain of furniture malls in China, paid $4.9 million yuan, about 800,000 U.S. dollars, for the first one.
Introducing The Hongqi H7. Now At Your Neighborhood Red Flag Dealer
After having been trotted out at car show after car show, and after having been relentlessly covered by occasional TTAC contributor Tycho de Feyter of Carnewschina, China’s “Red Flag” Hongqi H7 Sedan is finally going “on sale to the public tomorrow after a $300 million overhaul, pitting the symbol of Communist privilege against Volkswagen AG’s Audi for China’s elite,” reports Bloomberg from China, where the wire was blocked last year.
2012 Beijing Auto Show: Capture The Real Red Flag
So today The Tycho, proprietor of Carnewschina and expert on Mao-era-revival cars, intercepts me at the show and says: “You did it all wrong! You talked about the H7, but showed the L7!”
“I beg your pardon?”
It turns out he was right as usual. In my piece on the Red Flag car, the wrong pictures were added to the wrong text. Corrected. As a make-good, here the ultimate L7/H7 pictorial.
Tycho's Illustrated History Of Chinese Cars: Red Flag's Lincoln Years
First Hongqi CA7460 rolling off the line at the factory in Changchun
Hongqi, or Red Flag, is China’s most famous automotive brand. Owner of the Hongqi-brand is First Auto Works, or FAW. Hongqi always was, and sometimes still is, the car for the country’s leaders – communist party bosses, and the car for the very influential. A Red Flag is not for the very rich – they take a red Ferrari, or a simple black Maybach. The Hongqi was strictly government business. Hongqi’s most famous cars are the CA 770-series, and the Audi-based limousines and parade cars.
There is, however, another less well known chapter in Hongqi’s history: a tie up with good old Lincoln from the USA in the 1990′s and early 00′s. This article will show what cars came out of this interesting marriage.
On the first picture is the first Hongqi CA7460 rolling off the line at the factory in Changchun, Jilin province. It was November 10, 1998.
Red Flag Car - The Real Thing
When we reported that FAW will revive the monstrous Red Flag CA7600L limousine, it received mixed reviews. Some wanted it sight unseen. Others puked in the corner. Ever since I arrived in China, my secret wish had been to own the real thing, the huge handmade Red Flag car that luminaries used to drive down Chang’an Avenue. I had been told they don’t exist anymore. I had been lied to.
Oh, No! They'll Build It!
In April, everybody who walked by the FAW display at the Beijing Auto Show, yours truly included, did a double-take and took a lot of pictures upon seeing their Red Flag CA7600L monstrosity. It was a huge crowd magnet, and everybody walked away, muttering: “They’ll never build THAT.” Boy was everybody wrong.