Where they got their start …

Its often interesting to see where manufacturers got their start in the business and how they are interconnected.

Take Hyundai for instance, most folks know of the Mitsubishi connection but how many realize they got their start building license built copies of the Ford Cortina? Their first in house design, the Pony, was inspired by the Austin Marina and powered by Mitsubishi engines. Their Stellar was based off a late 70s Ford Cortina again with Mitsubishi engines.

hyundai pony Hyundai Stellar

Kia has its roots in Asian Motors which produced a license built Fiat 124 as the Fiat-KIA 124 from 1970 to 1975. Confusingly Kia was invested in Asian Motors but didn’t merge with them until 1999.

The Fiat 124 was the basis for various other car companies such as AvtoVAZ / Lada and SEAT. The AvtoVAZ (known as Lada in most export markets) updated the Fiat design for tougher Russian conditions with thicker steel body panels, rear drum brakes and an OHC engine.

photo by jns001

A whole raft of companies got their start building Austins from BMW to Datsun to Lotus to Jaguar. BMW of course got their start with cars by buying Dixi makers of a license built Austin Seven.

Photo by michix.2002

Nissan/Datsun of course built many Austin designs under license and more than a few of their engines where evolved Austin designs. Most people think the Austin/Datsun connection was there right from the beginning of the Datsun brand but Austin themselves concluded that while the Type 11 was influenced by the Austin Seven it was not a direct copy. Nissan did start by assembling knock down kit A40 Somersets in 1953. Engines designs for the A and B series where shared and then refined on. Much more detail at Austin Memories. Interestingly in the late 30s Nissan produced cars and trucks based on Graham-Paige designs as well.

Jaguar of course started out as Swallow Sidecars producing side cars for motorcycles before branching into coach built Austin Sevens. 1929 Swallow also produced a small batch of cars on a Fiat chassis.

photo by Warphammer

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