India’s first local & made-in-Hyderabad car Pingle found half-buried in a scrapyard

 The car was named after Captain Pingle Madhusudan Reddy, who had designed and developed the vehicle while serving as the general manager, HAL.
The car was named after Captain Pingle Madhusudan Reddy, who had designed and developed the vehicle while serving as the general manager, HAL.

HYDERABAD:Pingle, India’s first indigenous car developed by a Hyderabad engineer in early 1950s, was found half buried in a scrapyard in the city.

The low-cost car, suitable for Indian road conditions and touted as the automobile of the middle class, was first displayed at the annual Numaish in Hyderabad about 70 years ago.

The Pingle family, which traced the car after decades of search, is restoring the vehicle in the best possible way.

One of the three prototypes of the car was last seen in good condition at HAL campus in Bangalore in early 1970s. Thereafter, it went missing. While its whereabouts are still not known, the two other prototypes are now found in a city automobile scrapyard 50 years later. They are in varying stages of decay.

India's first local & made-in-Hyderabad car Pingle found half-buried in a scrapyard
The car was named after Captain Pingle Madhusudan Reddy, who had designed and developed the vehicle while serving as the general manager, HAL. Popularly called PM Reddy, he was a pioneer aviator, flying instructor of Hyderabad state aero club, chief pilot of Nizam State Railway (NSR)-air department, and general manager of Deccan Airways Limited. During World War II when spares were difficult to get, PM Reddy also gave technical support to NSR-Road Transport Department (RTD), the predecessor of modern day APSRTC and TSRTC.

Pingle was star attraction in Hyderabad during 1950s

While the engine of one of the two cars is missing, the other has its chassis in a bad condition. “I came to know that two Pingle cars are lying in a scrapyard. The condition of the vehicles is very bad. They were half buried in the soil with vegetative growth all around. I have shifted the cars from the scrapyard and hope to take up restoration work soon,” said INTACH city convener P Anuradha Reddy, who is also daughter-in-law of PM Reddy, adding that Pingle is part of Hyderabad’s automobile heritage. She said the car was a star attraction in Hyderabad during 1950s through 1970s.

The prototype Pingle cars had plied on Hyderabad roads and one of the cars was displayed at the Numaish during 1950s. It’s not clear how the cars had made their way to a scrap seller.

Then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had inspected the prototypes and appreciated its engineering design. HAL was to take up mass production of the car, but it could not get the Centre’s nod.

The car was designed at Praga Tools Corporation at Kavadiguda in the city. Praga Tools, a PSU, was wound up about three decades ago.

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The road transport and highways minister said he is also requesting the GST Council to explore what more incentives can be provided under the National Automobile Scrappage Policy.

Source: Economic Times

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