The Mother of all chromed cars...

August 19, 2005

This year, the 9th Shanghai International Automobile & Manufacturing Technology Exhibition was held during the week of June 17th, and it was an experience and sight to see. There was little in the way of new product launches, which is surprising given the size and importance of China, but there were plenty of models to look at.

There were so many models from so many different companies that if you didn’t take a camera, or a recording device, or took lots of notes, not to mention a full bottle of Tylenol, keeping up with so many vehicles would be almost an impossible task.

Co-organized by Shanghai International Exhibition Company and Adsale Exhibition Service Ltd., the exhibition has always been backed up by the government, chamber of commerce, manufacturers and users since it was launched in 1985. It is considered to be an automobile carnival of great influence to go along with the one held in June every other even year in Beijing.

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A vehicle that caught my eyes and had my attention for some time was the First Automotive Works' concept car Hong Qi, [Qi means Red Flag in Chinese] a Rolls Royce Phantom look-a-like limousine. In contrast to the real McCoy – the Phantom – this grandiose contraption on wheels is without a doubt ostentatious, primarily targeting the 'top managers of state', according to Chang Bing, Senior Designer of the 15-strong design team at First Auto's design studio in Changchun, north of Beijing.

If you thought those vehicles that made it to “Pimp my Ride” got lots of chrome, I got news for you. This flamboyant vehicle is festooned with more chrome and VIP trimming than P. Diddy and Snoop Dog could ever dream of having in their cars.

One important note about the Hong Qi though is its grille, which could very well indicate how the future of design may look for China in the next few years. Amongst the immense amount of chrome used for this design element, the trellis is shaped like a building with the typical metaphorical roof tops in China, and it also sports a red flag graphic that flows into the hood of the car.

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