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Reflections On Sri Lanka's Automotive History By Mr. Sylvi Wijesinghe

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is the car second generation mazda familia.?

Heard that in these times mazda was fitting rotary engines in their most cars, is the one produced here also a rotary? .

Sorry for being noob, i've not seen atleas one, heard my father has got one and which unfortunately was sold before i was born.

Nope, it's Mazda Luce or Mazda 1500. Engine was a 1500 straight 4. There are two categories of this model running about in SL roads. The ones bearing 5 sri and 6 sri as Upali Mazda's assembled in SL. The ones with 9 sri 10 sri and 11 sri are reconditionned japanese imports with revised 1.5 l twin carb engine. My father had a japanese imported one, bearing 10 sri 375. Superb car with luxury, comfort and ample power at that time.

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OK, OK, I know I said I was going to chuff off for a while and let the young folk adjust their dress but how could I not resist briefly contributing to this significant topic. Probably the best thread on AL, at the moment, actually. Anyway, here's a car-focussed write up on Upali:

http://www.island.lk/2004/02/13/featur01.html

What a guy! Loved his businesses, his cars, his horses, his dogs and a whole lot more beside. In Oz some folk still remember the story of how he was there for a short visit, was going to the races for a day, and splurged $150k on a horse so he would have something to cheer on. They say he was a pretty decent driver on the track too. Even after all these year since his Lear jet went down, he is remembered by name by many in the international business-community.

Some say that with the Mazda and the Fiat initiatives he was steering the SL industrial base in a direction it's a pity it didn't take. Plenty of room for discussion there, though.

I believe the Mazda Luce had a rotary engine in Japan at some stage of its life, but I could be wrong. Drove a Mazda 1500 a few times in the early 80s....sweet looking European-style body, well screwed together, thought it could have done with a bit more guts in the engine bay (but I would have been used to beefy Fords at the time) but it loped along OK once you get the speed up.

Is anything left at Upali's old factory sites to reflect what happened there? Anybody want to do a bit of urban exploration and bung up a few pics of anything left of the buildings?

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But what happened to the factories that were doing the assembly etc.. It's not like he was putting the cars together with his own hands. Someone must have taken over the business (before running it to the ground)

tad OT:

Has anyone got any idea on how/why there was a sudden bust of conspiracy theories about Upali W being alive in mexico or malaysia couple of months ago?

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Upali factory at Homagama still exists. They manufacture consumer goods like Dettol soap and Kandos chocolates there.

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But what happened to the factories that were doing the assembly etc.. It's not like he was putting the cars together with his own hands. Someone must have taken over the business (before running it to the ground)

tad OT:

Has anyone got any idea on how/why there was a sudden bust of conspiracy theories about Upali W being alive in mexico or malaysia couple of months ago?

There wree always a lot of conspiracy theories. One j***a$$ probably posted a new one on his facebook wall and the rest or the idiots follow.

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Members,

U W is gone to his eternal resting place. I am 100% positive.

I had the opportunity of fixing some machinery close to his plantation where he took off on his Lear jet for the last journey of his and others.

My air transfers to that region was also from that air port till 1988, from early 1983 before going to USA.

There were few Srilankans were working in that airport mostly from North.

I do not want to comment any more on that subject.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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Members,

U W is gone to his eternal resting place. I am 100% positive.

I had the opportunity of fixing some machinery close to his plantation where he took off on his Lear jet for the last journey of his and others.

Mystery Solved!

Did u do any makabass fixes to UW's Learjet just before it took off? :D

Edited by Crosswind
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Mystery Solved!

Did u do any makabass fixes to UW's Learjet just before it took off? :D

I was thinking the same thing when I read that..

I bet sylvi mixed Rs.50 of 2T with the jet fuel and added tube-well water to some part that shouldnt have water

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Mystery Solved!

Did u do any makabass fixes to UW's Learjet just before it took off? :D

i LMAO. . . :) :)

post of the day . . . . .

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The official Malaysian report of their enquiry into the circumstances of the disappearance of the Upali jet is floating around on the net. Interesting read, worth a search. The investigators speculate but reach no definite conclusions.

So what cars have been made in SL apart from the Upali Mazda and Fiat, and the Micro? BMC had an assembly operation? ....and were there some Triumph Heralds screwed together? Any others in the dim distant past that we know of?

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Mystery Solved!

Did u do any makabass fixes to UW's Learjet just before it took off? :D

'Crosswind',

You are sadly mistaken on your post read my post carefully then you will understand where I did that inhalations of some Japanese machinery.

If as your post mentions. I cannot exist so long in Engineering related profession.

It is regrettable to note member on A/L forum of your caliber insulting for my engineering knowledge,

I hope you will refrain from posting above posts to my posts underestimating my above said knowledge.

Which I have gained not sitting, by formal education and in practice, acquired from western and eastern regions of highly developed countries

Have done assignments for international organizations.

Handling an international automobile franchise in tail end of life for last twenty years.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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The official Malaysian report of their enquiry into the circumstances of the disappearance of the Upali jet is floating around on the net. Interesting read, worth a search. The investigators speculate but reach no definite conclusions.

So what cars have been made in SL apart from the Upali Mazda and Fiat, and the Micro? BMC had an assembly operation? ....and were there some Triumph Heralds screwed together? Any others in the dim distant past that we know of?

I did a web such I could not find the said link if you can give the link it will be help full to others also.

There were few hundred SKODA cars was assembled by Unit#d Mot#rs. I had 4 Sril Octavia which I bought from Ms, Baur & company was the first owner. They were given few cars first and few other companies got then on special as for their performance at that time.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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'Crosswind',

It is regrettable to note member on A/L forum of your caliber insulting for my engineering knowledge,

I hope you will refrain from posting above posts to my posts underestimating my above said knowledge.

Which I have gained not sitting, by formal education and in practice, acquired from western and eastern regions of highly developed countries

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

i think all we know that are too matured in the field.

But some of your posts put yourself into lower state.

From the little i remember.

1-your chinese truck thing.

2-recent 2T Oil making method.and applying.

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'Crosswind',

You are sadly mistaken on your post read my post carefully then you will understand where I did that inhalations of some Japanese machinery.

If as your post mentions. I cannot exist so long in Engineering related profession.

It is regrettable to note member on A/L forum of your caliber insulting for my engineering knowledge,

I hope you will refrain from posting above posts to my posts underestimating my above said knowledge.

<SNIP>

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

Sylvi,

That was meant to be a JOKE.

Whatever inhalations you take must be pretty good stuff.

Sincerely,

Crosswind

Edited by Crosswind

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i think all we know that are too matured in the field.

But some of your posts put yourself into lower state.

From the little i remember.

1-your chinese truck thing.

2-recent 2T Oil making method.and applying.

'chan5',

Yes I have said what I have done to my own vehicles with my EXPENSES did not experiment on others vehicles.

Like most bases do to others vehicles at the owners expense there are plenty of complains posts on this forum.

Who provide personal automobile services including service establishments.

I will still continue to do experiments at my expense to my units. I have studied lot of thins by experimenting various methods to improve efficiency and unsolved problems on certain units. Which I do not want to discuss on this forum,some are theatrically not approved but they do work even to day at my premises.

Plenty of Srilanken highly qualified Engineers Technicians did modifications to industrial units during dark era (1962 to 1977) when we did not have enough spares to operate Machinery and Automobiles. They were very successful in doing so.

Including me. I modified some industrial electrical units to work with Japanese and Chinese units which was imported by me on my convertible Rupee accounts (CRA) which were very cheap imports compare to original UK and European original spare part prices at that time.

I do not want mention their names who did experiments in government institutions to get machinery going during the said era.

I only share my knowledge to the forum. If any member do not agree with me it is left to him to comment with facts.

To state their opinion. Like your post in descent way for your estimate of my posts. Without an abusive post.

Finlay let me thank you for your post.

Sylvi Wijesinghe

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Sylvi,

That was meant to be a JOKE.

Whatever inhalations you take must be pretty good stuff.

Sincerely,

Crosswind

'Crosswind',

First of all let me thank you for your post.

That was a spelling mistake if mine it should read as installations.

OK I acknowledge your post.

Sincerely,

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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Sylvi, the full Malaysian accident report on the Lear Jet used to be around but, like yourself, I couldn't come up with a link now. However, here is a link to the Sri Lankan official investigation report + part of the Malaysian report (read starts at page 445):

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=5xsnq5NW0IcC&pg=PA445&lpg=PA445&dq=upali%2Bmalaysian&source=bl&ots=jZBJsxxiyP&sig=65_bJTK7LgsmuhfP1nWvc9d0tbw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Nt

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Mr.Silvy,

Would like to hear from you on following topics.

  • Famous vehicle brands and names of Sri Lankan agents (1950s – 1980s)

Example: Morris Minor , Hillman, Austin, Ford , Fiat, …..

  • Introduction of Mitsubishi Jeeps to Sri Lanka (Specially petrol versions)

  • Introduction of Automatic Transmission to Sri Lanka

Thanks in advance.

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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Mr, Sampath Gunasekera,

Give me time till sunday as I am busy with a family funeral last sunday and arms giving today leaving Colombo this morning early.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

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Terrific idea, Sam, all this earlier Ceylon/Lanka car stuff is really worthy of collating and recording. Sylvi would be a guy with real knowledge of the history.

Sylvi, sorry to hear about family loss.

If you can have a think and post up on Sam's topics it wil be an excellent contribution to this thread.

Over on BHP, Sidindica has put together a stunning thread on the history of the Indian automotive industry...he's really interested in the smaller cars and what he's done is mix the automotive history with the cars and movies and generall news of the periods....fascinating stuff:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/indian-car-scene/74056-revisiting-indian-automobile-industry-past-present-future.html

MIght give us "historians" some ideas, eh?

Staying with the local car history, here's something I came across recently, talk about bad timing for a project!

"Sunday Times (Perth, Australia)

April 1939

Ford Factory Opened in Ceylon

A new assembly factory and branch headquarters has been opened by the Ford Motor Company of India Ltd in Colombo, the capital of Ceylon.

The establishment, the only one of its kind in this British Crown Colony was formally opened by the Hon. G. C. 8. Corea, Msc Minister for Labor. Industry and Commerce for Ceylon.

All Ford cars sold in Ceylon are of British or Empire manufacture, and the new factory win draw the whole of Its supplies from Ford Works, Dagenham, and the Ford factory at Windsor, Ontario. Canada."

Wonder what happened to that plant? Did it survive The War? I remember reading about either Hong Kong or Singapore and how after the Japanese invasion the Ford plant there was used to make and repair trucks for the Japanese military. Maybe the Ceylon Ford one - if it ever got off the ground - built vehicles for the Allied Forces?

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Sylvi, sorry to hear about family loss.

Sorry to hear about the loss. My sympathies Sylvi.

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Mr, Sampath Gunasekera,

Give me time till sunday as I am busy with a family funeral last sunday and arms giving today leaving Colombo this morning early.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

Sad to hear about your loss, deepest sympathies to you and your family

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Mr, Sampath Gunasekera,

Give me time till sunday as I am busy with a family funeral last sunday and arms giving today leaving Colombo this morning early.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

Mr, Sampath Gunasekera,

Give me time till sunday as I am busy with a family funeral last sunday and arms giving today leaving Colombo this morning early.

Sylvi Wijesinghe.

Mr.Sylvi,

My deepest sympathies.

No problem, you reply us whenever time permits you.

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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"Sunday Times (Perth, Australia)

April 1939

Ford Factory Opened in Ceylon

A new assembly factory and branch headquarters has been opened by the Ford Motor Company of India Ltd in Colombo, the capital of Ceylon.

The establishment, the only one of its kind in this British Crown Colony was formally opened by the Hon. G. C. 8. Corea, Msc Minister for Labor. Industry and Commerce for Ceylon.

All Ford cars sold in Ceylon are of British or Empire manufacture, and the new factory win draw the whole of Its supplies from Ford Works, Dagenham, and the Ford factory at Windsor, Ontario. Canada."

Wonder what happened to that plant? Did it survive The War? I remember reading about either Hong Kong or Singapore and how after the Japanese invasion the Ford plant there was used to make and repair trucks for the Japanese military. Maybe the Ceylon Ford one - if it ever got off the ground - built vehicles for the Allied Forces?

My father has a reprint of first "Silumina" news paper published in 1930. There was a nice advertisement on brand new car (As I remember Ford) . As I remember price was around Rs.4,000/= and car was provided with 2 spare wheels. Nice wordings. I will post it later. There were so many bicycle advertisements and prices were Rs.85.00 - Rs.115.00.

P.S.

However I found two advertisements of same newspaper through the net.

Here they are.

1st "Silumina" news paper : 30th March 1930

silumina5.jpg

silumina2.jpg

Edited by Sampath Gunasekera

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Brilliant stuff, Sam. Is that bus what they call a charabang? Wonder if the body was local build? The bikes would have been a big-ticket item for an average worker in those day, I reckon.

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