Thursday, March 19, 2015

Nation Builder

Last Tuesday (March 10th, 2015) there was a ceremony at IranKhdoro Tabriz, located northwest of Iran. Almost 48 years after the Paykan production started at IranNational (IranKhodro) on the outskirts of Tehran, the last Paykan pickup was rolled off the assembly line.

The Paykan pickup (known inside Iran as Paykan Vanet) was produced four years after the Paykan sedan production started back in 1967. This humble pickup during the last 4 decades did so much for Iran. It was the primary source of income for so many families, merchants and sellers. Today there are thousands and thousands of them are still running around Iran; without them the country's commerce will come to a stand still. It is an ugly creature with dreadful ride quality and cramped interior but for all its faults, I can't bring myself to hate it. I actually quite like it, perhaps because it was Made In Iran only. Yes I know, there were those Dodge Husky versions in South Africa but as far as the impact and production volumes goes, the Husky can't hold a candle to the mighty Paykan Vanet! I also admire it because inadvertently carried the Rootes Arrow's legacy all the way to the year 2015; for almost half a century!

Although the Paykan Pickup went through a lot of modifications and the later models were offered with ABS brakes and fuel injected version of the Hillman Avenger 1600cc engine and a lot more changes, but I believe they were the ultimate proof that the Arrow platform was one robust piece of engineering and tough as nails! Pun intended. :)

Paykan pickup was a nation builder, it carried goods from snowy mountain ranges of Alborz to scorching hot deserts of Iran, and now it might help out a neighbor too. There are reports that production will continue for export models to Iraq! We shall see if that actually happens though.

Now if you think this is the last chapter for Paykan in Iran you are in for a surprise my dear readers. Take a look at the replacement Pickup above. It is called Arisun, it is the pickup version of the facelifted Peugeot 405 body with the Paykan pickup underpinning and drive-train underneath. So in reality the soul of Paykan pickup still lives on and most likely for many many more years to come!... Making Rootes Brothers very proud indeed! :)

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