9 September 2019
More than an old car #116: Proton Perdana
Having covered cars that originate from places around the globe, I decided to focus on something closer to home ie our neighbour, Malaysia. It was by chance that I saw this somewhat older car with a distinctive front end, and naturally I was attracted to it. After doing further research, I realised that I had seen similar units like this 1999 Proton Perdana here many years ago...
The Perdana was developed in response to a need for a larger, more luxurious car after the launch of the popular Saga and Wira; its name is the Malay word for 'prime'. It was unveiled to the public in 1995 and served as competition to similar cars such as the Toyota Camry and Nissan Cefiro. Due to the extensive collaboration with Mitsubishi, the Perdana was based off the 7th-generation Mitsubishi Eterna/Galant, with only minor internal changes for the Malaysian market. It was also the first Proton car to feature cruise control, anti-lock braking system and power windows, which contributed to excessive demand in the first few months.
In 1998, the Perdana was revamped although it was still part of the 1st generation: it featured a newly-designed front end, a body kit, a suspension system tuned by Lotus and more importantly an engine upgrade. A major facelift happened in 2003, with a front grille resembling that of Alfa Romeo and modified bumpers among other changes. This unit features the smaller grille ie pre-facelift version: it was equipped with a 1997 cc Mitsubishi 6A12 V6 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 205 km/h with an acceleration of 13 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4610 mm long and weighed 1375 kg.
Production of the Perdana ended in 2010 where it was replaced by the 2nd generation model. Throughout its lifetime, more than 77,000 were sold, of which around 53,000 had the V6 engine. They were first sold in Singapore in 1999 by Cycle and Carriage, a big dealer that primarily distributes Mercedes and Mitsubishi cars here. However, some units were recalled in 2001 due to a ball joint problem, and this sounded the death knell for the Perdana's survival here. None are known to exist locally while you can still find a handful in Malaysia.
This is definitely a car that lacks recognition outside of Asia: even in the UK and Australia, Protons were not favoured by the general public. Like what I always do, I hope to preserve its existence on our roads even though it may not have any sentimental value to most of you. This is what I set out to achieve with my blog from the very beginning; now you may be able to identify it!