Iran's Hunter: the Paykan

During the mid-1960s, the Rootes Group negotiated a deal to sell CKD kits to the Iranians; the result was the Paykan, a Middle-Eastern Hunter. The most interesting aspect of this car was its long, long production run, and as of 2004, it was still possible to buy a new Paykan 1600 in Iran... it also provided the underpinnings for a baseline Peugeot 405!

The Paykan ran an incredible 38 years, with just one powertrain change and one major styling change.

Launched in 1967, the Paykan originally looked all but identical to European Arrow models.

Paykan cars of Iran: the beginning

After several unsuccessful attempts to make Fiat automobiles, Iran National Factories (Iran khodro, public joint stock co.) was created in 1962 and commissioned to manufacture the latest model of Hillman.

In 1966, Iran Khodro was licensed to produce various four-cylinder passenger cars, and, after installation of the Paykan production line, it started manufacturing with the initial capacity of 6,000 units per annum under license of Rootes. The first automobile, made in 1967, was the Paykan, presented in two models of Deluxe and standard. In the same year, Paykan pickup and Paykan taxi were added to the production line. In addition, the commercial Paykan was presented to the market in the next two years and the Automatic Paykan came into being in 1970. Within the years 1971 and 1972, six models of Paykan were being manufactured: Deluxe, Pickup, Standard, GT, Taxi, and Automatic.

In 1985, Paykan prototype pictured at the Whitley design centre in Coventry.after Talbot production lines were closed, it was decided to continue production of Paykan in the country. Peugeot agreed to provide Iran Khodro with 60,000 engines and suspension systems of Peugeot 504 per year for installation on the present Paykan body for six years, since the original powertrains were no longer available.

Attempt to manufacture locally Paykan parts started in 1991 by establishment of the Self-Sufficiency Unit of Iran Khodro. The activities were later centralized in SAPCO in 1993. By the 1990s they were producing almost 98% of the parts needed for Paykan 1600 in Iran - 120,000 units per year - using machinery purchased from Talbot. Thus, the 1600 was suspended for a while but was fully locally made in September 1992.

As the largest vehicle manufacturing industrial complex in Iran, Iran khodro decided to establish a research center in 1994, aimed at acquiring automobile design and engineering know-how. In this line, the project of design and manufacturing of the first national vehicle, titled New Paykan, was put on schedule. During the past years, various models of Paykan have been produced, i.e., Deluxe (1600 cc, 1725 cc, 1800 cc), Standard, GT, and Taxi.

Facelifted Paykan was treated to the Morris Ital school of updating, although the full-depth front bumper did not seem to fit too well on this late model...

Above text taken with much editing from (Paykan producer) Iran khodro Industrial Group's website.

The end of the Paykan cars in Iran

Mike Sealey provided us with an article in Iranmania.com which noted the production of the final Paykan car on May 15, 2005. The sendoff was not exactly congratulatory, with various Iranian officials putting down the car which had created Iran's auto industry and served it for so long. they noted that the car has dated styling - hardly surprising - and an inefficient powertrain. The article did note "it epitomised modern British engineering and the best the motoring world had to offer" when first introduced over 40 years ago.

2.3 million Paykan cars had been made since its inception. It was protected by heavy duties on imported cars, but recently local production has begun of the Peugeot 405 and 206, and Iran Khodro is working with Renault on a local version of the Logan to replace the Paykan. The article noted that Paykans, regardless of age, still sell used for about $6,850, which is close to the price for new Paykans.

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