In the car industry, it’s a common technique for manufacturers to borrow ideas from each other. The Reliant Robin became a striking three-wheeled car that served as an inspiration for other models. Reliant was invested in helping set up other car makers in different countries, with an example being Sunrise Automotive Industries Ltd (SAIL) in Bangalore, India. The name later changed to Sipani in 1978. SAIL produced the Badal, a design that was similar to the Reliant Robin. We’re looking into the history of the vehicle.
SAIL was founded in 1974 with the help of Reliant. Taking cues from the fibreglass body of the Robin, the company started working on a motor. Although the Badal had three wheels, it differed from the Reliant by featuring a 198 cc Innocenti two-stroke engine mounted in the rear.
The car was reminiscent of the Fiat 600 Multipla in that it had a one-box kind of design. This was accentuated by a tall, wagon sort of appearance, with two doors on the passenger side and one on the driver’s. The Badal’s design can be considered space-efficient, though it could have been improved by having the rear window open. This would have granted better access to the back.
The Badal failed to make a big impact in the Indian market, possibly because of its experimental design. Still, it got some exposure in the Bollywood film Ram Balram. It was replaced in 1981 by a four-wheeled version known as the Sail, which was also replaced a year later by the Sail Dolphin.
Despite the Badal being unsuccessful, it can still be appreciated for its quirky design. It offered a cheap mode of transportation for regular people and has its place among other microcars like the Isetta. Today, a Badal is on display in the Heritage Transport Museum in Gurangon, India.
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