Thursday, September 20, 2012


Cars That Should 

Never Have Been Made 

7th Edition


1966-2005 Paykan

Probably the first time in history an auto 

company was paid to stop making a car


First things first. Iran is a very dangerous place to drive a car...or to be a pedestrian. 25,000 people die on Iranian roads every year.


And the only car they've ever had is the Iran Khodro Paykan - a car totally bereft of safety features or pollution controls. See where this is going?


The Paykan was derived from the unremarkable Hillman Hunter in 1966, and produced until 2005 with engines from Peugeot

Over that period of time, however, the Paykan became a 100% Iranian car - which isn't saying much.

Hillman Minx

Hillman was a British car company that made a series of lovely medium family cars and light trucks. 

The Hillman Hunter was the replacement for the Hillman Super Minx and Imp. 

Hillman Imp

Both the Imp and Minx were outdated, but very nice, post-war designs with some issues, least of which was a rather weak engine. 

Iran Khondro Paykan

The Hunter also became Iran's only car...ever.

Hillman was part of the Rootes Auto Group, which includes Sunbeam and Humber. 

The Hunter - conceived in 1962, was supposed to address a lot of overheating issues that had plagued the Hillman Imp in previous years, such as warped cylinder heads.

Hillman Hunter

The resulting Hunter, part of the entire Rootes 'Arrow' range, rolled out of the factory for the first time in 1966. The Hunter was a conventional 4-door with a four banger up front and rear-wheel drive. 

The Hillman Hunter - a competitor for the Ford Cortina - was nothing special. The live axle suspension would be familiar to anyone who has ridden in a horse-drawn buggy. The 1,725 cc engine had twin carbs, about 107 horsepower and got decent gas mileage. 

The Hunter remained basically unchanged for 13 years with the exception of servo-assisted brakes and modifications to the grill.


Chrysler bought the troubled Rootes Group and handed over complete Hunter knock-down kits - minus the motor - to Mahmoud Khayami, owner of Iran Khondro - formerly Iran National. 


For a while things went well as the Paykan was manufactured in Iran with the Hillman engine...but then Rootes went bankrupt. Chrysler walked away and Peugeot stepped up to the plate.

It should be noted that Peugeot does indeed make a fine car....now. 

But in the 70s, 80s and 90s you only bought one if you absolutely had no other options. And yes, they were that bad.


The Paykan's biggest problems came about after Rootes stopped supplying the 1,725 cc motor and it was replaced by the extremely unreliable Peugeot 504 engine. 

The Paykan got such terrible fuel mileage its owners could only afford to operate them with government-subsidized petrol. 


Many modifications were required to keep this beast running, and the results were ominous. 

In the late 90s, the Paykan was officially recognized as an environmental hazard because of its high fuel consumption and noxious exhaust.

In 2005, Iran Khondro was offered a cash incentive by the Iranian government to stop making the Paykan. 

Paykan 'Deluxe'

Makes you wonder though, doesn't it? 

How friggin' bad is a car when a Third-World government asks you to stop making it?


1 comment:

AllanLachlan said...

I seem to remember that Peugeots were everywhere in the 80s and 90s. The 205 and 405 being particularly popular with good performance and fuel economy in the diesel range. Much better products than likes of the Montego and the Metro. Also the Paykan wasn't the only car made in Iran at the time. Saipa made their own versions of the Renault 5, Renault 21, Citroen Diane, Citroen Mehari, Citroen Xantia and Kia Pride. Iran Khodro making its versions of the Peugeot 405, Peugeot 206 and the Khodro Samand. Nowadays their are more domestically developed cars (Runna, Tiba, Dena, Soren) and newer Renaults and Suzuki models on Iranian production lines. The reason the Rootes Arrow was so popular and enduring was it was the most common car from the seventies on and everyone and their uncle could fix them and parts were so cheap and plentiful you could more or less buy them in your local grocery store. Same phenominon seen with other cars around the world i.e. MkII VW Golf in former Yugoslavia, Renault 12 in Romania etc