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Hino Contessa, challenging for returning Japan (From Sri Lanka) - "MOTTAINAI"
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Hino Contessa, challenging for returning Japan (From Sri Lanka) - "MOTTAINAI"

Project - Back to Birth Country

We recently received a letter from the owner of Hino Contessa 1300 Sedan, Mr. Hilton Seneviratne who lives in Sri Lanka and works as a lawyer in there.

According to him, Hino Motors (Japan) exported five Hino Contessa in the purpose of examination for CKD production to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) in those days. However, the project of CKD was failed by terminating production of Hino Contessa in Japan. After that, He purchased one of five Hino Contessa from the company that worked for CKD project as new car with a set of spare parts. To date, his Contessa has been used for daily activity for 30 years. It is approximately 300,000 miles. During that time, GR Engine was overhauled one time with fresh spart parts.

I think that is really valuable that a Japanese industrial product of those days was useful as a part of life in a foreign country. In the Aichi Expo. recently closed, the short word, "MOTTAINAI", that means to symbolize Environmental society has been praised, but not a beautiful story of commercialism of cheap tricks, we feel respect in Mr. Seneviratne and this contessa which really carried out such a thing.

Accodring to Mr. Seneviratne, he emphasises "The price factor is not the issue I am keen that a collector from Japan take this car back to its homeland as it has served me faithfully for over 30 years and done over 300 000 Miles".

It is not all only purpose to clean a vintage car in restore of a boom of recent days. For Japnese automotive culture that, will not there be an enthusiast taking care of the car which really worked? Please leave a message in "To Us".

The following is the description from Mr. Seneviratne:

Dear Mr Satoshi Ezawa,

I thank you for e-mail and very much appreciate the wonderful goodwill you have shown to me both as an individual and as a Sri Lankan.y your selfless and sincere conduct.

I would very much appreciate if you would send the necessary data to the Hino Contessa club and if possible also to the web site.I am really not interested in the price factor and what I am keen is that the Hino car which served me so well should go back to its homeland.In these circumstances please consider this fact when deciding whoever wishes to purchase it.All I want that this wonderful piece of machinary should be preserved for posterity.

I am the owner of a Hino Contessa 1200 cc petrol engine car (G.R.100) with floor board gears, the history of which I briefly set out below:

Hino Motors Japan in collaboration with a group of Sri Lankan businessmen formed a company named Hino Motors (Ceylon) Limited to assemble Hino cars in Sri Lanka. The car I own was imported into the country as an exhibition car.

However because the assembly of cars commenced Hino Motors (Japan) ceased, manufacturing cars and therefore the company in Sri Lanka closed down. The local businessmen then formed a company named Automobile Products Ceylon Ltd and commenced assembly of Isuzu Belle cars and I purchase the Hino car from them in 1972. When I purchased the car I was also given a set of piston sleeves, pistons and valves.

I ran the car for my personal use from then on mostly for city running. Even though I had no problems with the engine I decided to have it overhauled by a reputable Sri Lankan company in 1998.

In doing so, the pistons and piston sleeves, piston rings, the valves and bearings were replaced. I also had the radiator and silencer replaced. The braking system was also overhauled and new tyres fitted on.

However in the year 2000 I purchased a new car and ceased using the Hino for my daily use. I however keep the engine running in a neutral position and occasionally take the car out for a short distance. I however have not done any regular running of the car and have not tested it for roadworthiness but keep it on a maintenance basis. I have done approximately 350,000 miles.

I would be obliged if you would advise me whether any collector of old cars is interested in buying my car in which case I could when I get back to Sri Lanka next month, mail you close-up photographs of the car. However I insist that whoever buys the car should have it professionally inspected either by himself or through a representative and arrange for all export formalities.

As I had inadvertantly omitted certain particulars of item(c), I am setting out the particulars in full below.

(a) Date of registration in Sri Lanka 23rd January,1967
(b) Manufacturers name-Hino Motors
(c) Year of manufacture-1966
(d) Makers classification:-
(i) Wheel base-89.76
(ii) Chasis No-CH541728
(iii) Engine No-356292
(iv) Tyre size-560x13
(v) Fuel-Petrol
(vi) Tare-18CWT-Iqr
(vii) Seating capacity-Four without driver

Yours very sincerely,

Hilton Seneviratne.

Supplemental data attached in the below:

(a)Twelve close up photographs of the interior and exterior of the car together with descriptions on the reverse of the photographs.
(b)Two photocopies of bills issued by General and Auto Works of Sri Lanka,which sets out the particulars of the work done on the overhauling of the engine in 1977.
(c)particulars from the registration book of the vehicle issued by the government of Sri Lanka
(NOTE: (a) are shown in the bellow, but (b) and (c) are not shown in here in the reason of security)
(SE 2005.7.2)