The creator of the first Cambodian-made automobile reveals his latest
model, which boasts a sound system, air con, and electronic mirrors
Photo by: Tracey Shelton
Nhean Phalet shows off the newest model of the Angkor car.
AFTER years of planning and careful
handiwork, Cambodia's third locally-made car, the Angkor III, is nearly
set for production, says maker Nhean Phalet. The new model offers
top-end features, and a punchier engine, boasts Nhean Phalet.
Nhean Phalet gained notoriety in 2003 when he introduced the Angkor I, Cambodia's first homemade automobile.
"I am planning to complete it before the Khmer New Year in 2009," Nhean Phalet said.
He said his newest innovation, the Angkor III, is a modernised
version of the first two models and will reach new levels of speed.
"This will be a two-person car with a 600cc engine and will be
capable of achieving speeds of up to 80 or 90 kilometres per hour," he
said. "It will have a remote control to open the car doors and to start
the car. No key will be necessary."
Big plans on a small budget
Nhean Phalet said he was planning to spend a total of US$3,000 on the
production of the Angkor III , begun in January this year, and which is
now 70 percent complete.
He spent four months and $900 building his first Angkor car in
2003. The vehicle was hand-made from old car parts that were pounded
into shape with a hammer.
The second model, built in 2004, took 15 months and cost $3,100.
Angkor I featured a second-hand 100cc motorbike engine fitted at the
rear of the car, whose tiny wheels he scavenged from the schoolgirl's
motorbike of choice, the Honda Chaly.
Angkor II was a more ambitious project, employing a three-cylinder,
660cc Suzuki engine, transverse-mounted, with front-wheel drive and a
Each of the Angkor II's four seats was fitted with massage vibration devices, and the roof folded down at the push of a button.
Its other premium features included air conditioning, CD sound
system and electric-assisted side mirrors (with flashing turn
indicators), retracting aerial and screen washers. Nhean Phalet even
added a television and camera to allow the driver to see the rear of
Ith Praing, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, Mines
and Energy, complemented Nhean Phalet for his work on the Angkor III.
"I think relevant ministries, especially the Ministry of Public
Works and Transport, should award him a certificate for his
achievement," Ith Praing said, adding that so far, no company has
expressed interest in investing money to mass produce the Angkor.