Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Proton Sembilu - An Old Dream Still Lingers

Many-many moons ago, i can still recall this nice Proton/Mitsubishi car which was on display at the KLMotorshow which was called Proton Sembilu and as a teenager that knows nothing about engines, i was excited koz it looks aggressive for a production car. I think it was a EVOII or EVOIII with Proton decals on it (based on my rusty recollection). Sadly to say, they didnt produce the car to this day. Too "powderful" for the normal roads maybe and too much for our "racer" drivers in Malaysia.

After owing a Proton for the last 6 years, the only think i look forward are all the necessarycomponents to be included in future models. If i cant get them while i am still alive, at least my kids can have the luxury after 50 years of car manufacturing. I hope i am not asking too much but these are my wish list :
  • Rear disc brakes compulsory for all cars. Safety comes first.
  • A minimum of a 2L variable valve engines. Our country is so big, people like to travel by roads than flying as they get to move around more in the other cities. With massive lanes highways and "balik kampung" trips, the torque reliefs the pressure of the foot peddling to the floor.
  • Better air-conditioning system to suit the weather. The weather is not like 25 years ago and i think with the greenhouse effect issues, lets make bigger compressor, blower,condenser, cooling coil and rear air con ducts for future cars.
  • Stronger chassis and body especially the a-pillars and b-pillars. Crash test dummy results for everyone to see. Feeling safer is a nicer feeling.
  • With the bigger and taller new generations, they should design according to the Malaysian size and not Japanese size. Bigger seats and better cabin room space.
  • With bigger roads and unpredictable rain, better lighting systems is a must.
  • With our local natural resources, we should be having good quality interiors.
  • Cheaper genuine spare parts, for goodness sake.
  • Last but not least, add the rear fog lamp, i know we dont have snow but its 300% better than hazard light in the rain.
All these wishes are requests and comments from a Proton user. I am not comparing and asking to be compared like any other brands to have a faster and stronger car but in the next 25 years who knows whats gonna happen, maybe other brands are already powered by hybrid engines and what we should worry now is to improve what needs to be improved and move on to the next stage.

No doubt it takes a lot of money, research, development and also time. But if we do not spot the issues now, we have not covered the BASIC requirements and all the important requirements for future enhancements.

Only by then, we can start to talk about the re-birth Proton Sembilu. Why is that? Now you can concentrate on the new turbocharged engine and also new 4WD system. When you have covered all the basics now you got another 25 years to learn about the new engine and 4WDsystem. God knows what is gonna happen in the next 50 years. Well lets think about it now.

Honestly, i have to thank ASTRO for showing channel 734. I have been watching Ed restoring street cars, Chip's drawing becoming reality, bikers using coppers for their tanks and fenders,Riddler's Top 8 awards for custom cars, flow jet machines, pin striping, 1000hp street cars and everything about custom building, restoration work and plenty more. I would prolly use the knowledge and apply what has been shown as most of the advance machines are not available here. The thing is, at least i can embrace it and accept the technological change that helps us improve the scene here. There is no culture shock to this automotive industry except if you plan to keep doing the same old thing over and over again without excelling to the next level.

Why people are "angry" about the local car design thingy?
Well when you live in a country with the highest, tallest, longest, widest, smartest and est est est, people automatically have higher expectation towards any kind of local products. People that are not in the automotive industry wouldnt know and expect things will be as good as other brands or anything being printed on a car magazine. It is a fact.

After 25 years and still too much "constructive criticism"?
Like i said, maybe 25 years is still bit too young for a car automotive company to build something spectacular. It'll take another 50 years maybe for the big change. If Proton had EVERYTHING and selling cheaper than other brands, prolly other brands would pull out and stop selling. So to make things "even", no sunroof, no rear disc brakes, no mp3 player, solid paint and etc. I believe they can do it but prolly due to certain restriction and whatnot that does not make them standout from the rest.

The only way to make things work i think is by asking the public and getting feedbacks on the current models. By maintaining the original curve, history and outlook and still keeping it up to the trend, it makes enthusiasts jumping on their feet waiting for the next model. It is not about changing entirely but to enhance it accordingly based on the car trend at the moment.

I know we have a good design team in our local automotive industry and i hope their designs can be shown in reality rather than a coffee-talk after work. Worst, they work for the competitors locally and overseas when ideas are bottledup. A brain drain i would call it.

I dont mind if someone can comeout with a concept/prototype car Proton Sembilu. Something out of the ordinary, made in Malaysia. Just like the name "Sembilu", means "Bamboo Knife" should be built strong and lethal, just like the EVOs.

Still not ready, huh?