The Inelegant Elegance Of China's Wedding Cars

Up until quite recently, there just weren't all that many truly fancy cars in China. I'm talking about cars that make an ordinary day into an actual event. And while most people had minimal need for such cars, they did have weddings, and weddings need cars like this, badly. So China made them. From pickup trucks.

What you see here is the result of the need for really showily-fancy cars in a place that only had utilitarian cars to work with: the Jinma QJM5022TYN6 Wedding Car. They really have a knack for naming, too. "QJM5022TYN6" says more about the hope and glee of new love than countless books on the subject. Made from the early '80s to the late '90s, these cars were based on a Great Wall Motors pickup truck, and you can still see those bones in the awkward proportions of the cars.


The example featured here on Car News China features a lovely golden horse hood ornament (Jinma means "golden horse" after all), but most of these cars sported fake Rolls Royce or Mercedes branding, which I'm sure caused all kinds of delight to those companies.

The bodies were made of a combination of wood and plastic, and were very specifically designed for their wedding-parade duties. They have chrome handlebars and railings so the happy newlyweds could stand up and really soak in all the adulation around them, and they were, of course, open cars, so all the guests could really scrutinize the joyful couple and really decide if that dress works or not. Also, the body weighs an impressive 3395 lbs, which combined with a 100HP 2.4L truck motor, pretty much guarantees the progress will remain slow and stately.


The look of these cars is really remarkable, for a number of reasons. For one thing, it is further evidence that the concepts of automotive elegance for the vast majority of people is frozen in 1930s large American and European touring cars. They crammed in all the essential details — large chromed external headlights, tall, ornate radiator grille, separate flowing fenders and a long hood — but they also managed to get the proportions dramatically and excitingly wrong.

The wheel size is the most notable issue, with the hilariously under-sized wheels crouching under the long, heavy mass of the car like a quartet of scared possums. The angles are wrong, the overhangs ponderous, and the detailing is both too ornate in parts and too hardware-store looking in others. It's a mess.


But a charming mess, in it's own crazy way. It has the same kind of perverse appeal as a Mitsuoka or an Excalibur. And taking one with a Rolls or Mercedes badge to one of their respective concours events would be priceless.


(images from CarNewsChina)

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