Skip to comments.Cambodia Mechanic builds car for BD340(900 US Dollars)
Posted on 07/13/2003 9:54:15 PM PDT by Pikamax
Mechanic builds car for BD340
A backyard motor mechanic has won widespread applause for producing Cambodia's first automobile with flair, and at a cost that would confound car manufacturers across the region.
The "Angkor-2003" is a dashing two-seater convertible that takes four months to produce at $900 (BD340.2) a unit in Nhean Pholeouk's Phnom Penh garage. A new motorcycle costs about the same.
"It is the first home-made car in Cambodia, I'm very proud of my work," he said while polishing-up the finished product.
Dozens of orders have poured in since the 46-year-old, who subsidises his income by washing cars, drove his product to a park outside the home of Prime Minister Hun Sen.
There, thousands of people gathered to check-out the "Angkor" and offers have quickly come from tourist operators looking to ferry Western tourists around this country's famed temples.
"People always ask me if I bought it from abroad. When I tell them it was made with my hands, they are very surprised and often do not believe me." But he complained that the government has shown little interest.
"I am told that in Western countries, if someone builds such a thing, he would get a medal and become rich. I have to struggle, it is very difficult," he said.
The Angkor has a top speed of 60km per hour and is powered by a 100cc motorbike engine with a four speed gear-box. But plans are on the drawing board to increase the speed to 120km an hour. Bucket seats and panelling were made at home while spare parts from motorbikes and scrapped cars were used to complete the Angkor.
Its four litre fuel tank can cover 100km.
"People have asked me if they could build 10 or 20 cars at a time. I can make them but I need contract labour to build them in the required time," said Nhean Pholeouk, who was described as a "budding Henry Ford" by the English language newspaper the Phnom Penh Post.
Nhean Pholeouk hopes to enter a joint venture that would raise much needed capital and possibly prepare his product for export.
"My plan is to build more big and better cars, but I am short of capital. I want to kick-start a joint venture and make bigger cars," he said.
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If someone built a similar car here it wouldn't pass safety, CAFE and emissions standards thanks to the bustard FEDS!
Because I kinda like these tiny fun cars and give the guy credit for putting the machine together here are some more thoughts.
IMO He didn't manufacture it...he assembled it. While he may have the capability to do fiberglass fenders I doubt he produced the bumper covers by himself. They look like off the shelf parts from some other micro-car. Still quite good work fro where he is.
Cost. He says he made it for 900 bucks. Well heck I bet I could make a moveable vehicle for that amount or less using junkyard parts and cobbling up a few fiberglass panels. But what about the selling price? To make any kind of profit he'd have to MSRP at least at $2700 - $3000 (2.25 markup plus 30% and I think that formula is kinda low these days). So we're talking around $2500 customers price for a 2 seater with a 100cc motorcycle engine. which brings me to....
100cc motorcycle engine. WAY too small...it'll be gone in a few thousand miles in his part of the world...a couple of hundred here at most. My first bike was a new 1969 100cc Ymamha twin 2 stroke. I loved that bike even when I went to bigger rides. The engine did take some amazing abuse, I'll admit. It put out 10-11 bhp and could move Wife-To-Be and I (combined weight around 320lbs!) at a pretty good clip.
I ended up giving the bike to one of my brothers-in-law years later after which he promptly put it into the back of a pick-up truck. The bike flipped over the roof of the truck but the engine and transmission survived. I hung onto the parts for a dozen or so years and the engine still started when I finally got rid of it.
The reason I hung onto the parts was because I had in mind to build something similar to what this guy did...maybe a three wheeler aka the old Morgan.
The plans fell apart after I lived - survived actually - for several years with a Fiat X 1/9 and a Renault R-5 Le Car. After that I pretty much had my fill of tiny cars.
Kudos to the guy though.
FWIW the Fiat I mentioned went to another brother-in-law. On his first and only drive in it he
A) spun it into a neighbors garage door.
B) Missed a shift and blew the engine on a desolate rural road.
C) Along with his passenger consumed a case of brew while waiting to get rescued.
C) Smashed the back fo the Fiat while using a Dodge pick-up with HUGE oak bumper to push it back to the farm. (Much more brew sonsumed along the way)
D) Missed the barn and pushed it into the cesspool back at the farm. It ended it's life sinking in mud behind the barn.
The Le Car ended up traded for an R21 Renault/AMC Medallion - don't ask. It was sold to a couple of young fellows from WVA who thought it made a pretty cool getaway vehicle for a Stop-N-Rob spree thtought the WVA mountains.
It did pretty good too, getting away from the cop cruisers of the twisty mountain roads until it flipped over. The guys got out, flipped it back over and took off again. This happened couple of times before tiny Le Car's heart gave out and the bandits were nabbed.
How do I know this happened? During a very interesting phone conversation with the WVA state cops as I was sitting down to a Thanksgiving dinner. Seems the title was somehow never transferred and I was still the registered owner.
Ha you'd never get it on the street. Just for starters it'd be $900 for the catalytic convertor. :-P
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