Nhean Phalet, who in 2003 made the first homemade car in Cambodia, says his vehicle
assembly career has been in limbo since he finished his second car in late 2004.
Phalet, 48, says his car-making ground to a halt because he got no attention from
the government, no money to make other cars, and no technological support to improve
the cars he had made by hand.
"I got famous all over the world, but it seems to have had no meaning in the
nation - no one paid attention," Phalet said. "So now I just pursue my
job as a carwash garage owner."
But Ith Praing, secretary of state at the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy
(MIME), said Phalet should write a report to appropriate ministries such as MIME,
the Ministry of Commerce and the Cambodian Development Council about his car and
what he needs.
Phalet took four months in 2003 to make the first Angkor - at a cost of $900 - then
in 2004 spent 15 months and $3,100 to make the second.
In the first Angkor he used an old 100cc motorbike engine fitted at the rear of the
car. The tiny wheels came from the schoolgirl's moto of choice, the Chaly.
The Angkor II was more ambitious. The engine is a Suzuki 3-cylinder, 12-valve, 660cc,
transverse-mounted, front-wheel-driven through a 4-speed gearbox.
All four seats are fitted with massage vibration devices; the convertible roof folds
down at the push of a button; the car has air conditioning and a CD system; electric-assisted
devices include side mirrors (with flashing turn indicators), retracting aerial,
screen washers, and fuelcap cover.
Phalet has added television and a camera to see at the back.