The Automotive X-Files

The Xiali TJ 7100 (aka Daihatsu Charade)

As any reader of The Four Wheel Drift knows, I love to write about automotive names. Since I also like to discuss worthless automotive trivia, I’ve decided to combine the two topics for today.

Here is something nobody really needs to know: fewer automotive brands start with the letter X than any other in the English alphabet. I would have guessed Q, but it turns out that X marks the spot. While there have been hundreds of models starting with X (such as the KTM X-Bow or Nissan Xterra), there have only been two real automotive companies starting with this letter. On the other hand, nine marques have started with Q.

The first X-car was the Xtra, which was a three-wheeled cyclecar (ala Morgan) made in Surrey, England between 1922 and 1924. Available initially as a one-seater powered by a 270cc Villiers engine, a two-seater was added within the first year, as was the option of an eight-hp JAP engine. There are no definitive records on how many cars were produced by Xtra.

The best-known and highest production X-car is the Chinese Xiali. Tianjin Xiali FAW Automobile Co. Ltd. started producing cars in 1987 based on the Daihatsu Charade. These TJ7100 hatchback models and TJ7101U sedans became popular home-market taxis. Since 2002, Xiali also has mass-produced vehicles based on Toyotas, such as the Vitz and the Echo.

Often cited as an X-car, the Xedos was produced in Japan 1990-2000 as Mazda’s luxury line. (The Xedos 9 was known as the Mazda Millenia here in the States). Unlike cars from Lexus, Infiniti and Acura, the Xedos was actually still a model line under the Mazda brand (similar to how Hyundai markets its current Genesis), and therefore it really doesn’t count as a separate brand or company.

The closest America came to the X Files was with two separate companies, XTC and Xillion, both of which sold kits to replicate Ferraris with Pontiac Fieros. Neither can really be considered true auto manufacturers…or in good taste, for that matter.

For the record, Quadrant (1906-1908 in Birmingham, UK), Quagliotti (1904 in Italy), Quantum (1985-present in Devon, UK), Quantek (1977-1980 USA), Quantum (1988 in England), Quantum (1962-1963 in USA), Queen (1903-1906 Detroit), Qinchuan (A Chinese company purchased by BYD in 2003), and Qvale (1998-c2004) make up the world’s Q-cars.


One Response to The Automotive X-Files

  1. Pam says:

    You are missing the Quinby and the Quick in your list of Q cars.

    Thanks for the cars that start with x. I’m making a vehicles alphabet book for my son. 🙂

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