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IDRIVEACLASSIC reviews: 80s Proton Saga (Black Knight) LAST ONE LEFT!

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Adrian Flux Insurance:

if you, like me, are a little hard of hearing, here is the walk around section Voiceover:

We have never featured a Proton on IDRIVEACLASSIC before so before I tell you about this car, I wanted to tell you about Proton themselves.

Proton are a relatively new to the market automotive manufacturer and were founded in May 1983 in Malaysia.

The company was founded as Malaysia’s first step into automotive and in fact the name is an acronym of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional - which trranslates into English as the National Automobile Company,

Apologies if my pronunciation was off there!

As we’ll come to later, the company first started off life creating cars which were rebadged Mitsubishi cars although since 2000 the company has stepped into the world of non badged engineered cars

The concept of Proton was the result of the Malaysian government in 1979 who felt it was crucial to create a national car to help enhance the Malaysian industry.

Now if you’re watching from the UK you probably may have no idea how successful Proton have been, because we no longer sell them in the UK. Proton has been so successful for Malaysia that the country has gone from no presence in the automotive sector in the early 80s to being one of 11 countries globally which have full scale automotive capability.

Going back to the car we are testing today - the Proton Saga Black Knight edition - this was the car which first put Proton on the map and was the first of many successful tie ups between Mitsubishi and Proton.

The Saga is based on the 1983 Mitsubishi
Lancer Fiore and the first cars were powered by the 1.3 Orion 4G13 engine and the Saga was such a runaway success that supply couldn’t meet demand and by 1986, three years after launch, the 1.3 Proton occupied over 60% of domestic market share in the below 1600cc segment.

The car we’re testing today is, as I’ve mentioned, a 1.5. This is powered by the 1.5 Mitsubishi 1.5 4G15 engine and when launching the 1.5, the rear engine was slightly rejigged.

The 1.5 allowed Proton to enter the UK market with a strong offering and with that, not only launched the Saga saloon and hatchback to a positive general public but also too the accolade of Fastest Selling Make of New Car Ever to enter the United Kingdom.

But here’s where it gets interesting, because the Black Knight we are trying out today was a UK special edition - so something made for the UK market only - and with only one example remaining, this makes today’s test drive something we will never be able to replicate.

The Black Knight is based on the ordinary spec Proton saGA 8V 1.5GL and is marked as a special edition. Although I did spot a comment online saying it’s the Aeroback with additional extras, but haven’t been able to confirm this.

The special features of the Black Knight are the gunmetal grey paint - yes it’s not actually black, the decals on the sides and boot and the unusual wheel trims - which were only put on this car for filming today because with them being so rare - they are only kept on for shows and parking at home.

And if you like a fact or two, there were only ever 201 of these cars made with this being the only surviving example and weirdly the company who made the spoilers and decals were called Silver Knight - which may or may not be linked to the name of the vehicle.

It’s sometimes hard to clarify things like this when a car is so rare even to begin with!

Before we speak to the owner Jon, I thought I’d give a brief overview on the life of this car too - it was registered in 1989 and then garaged in 1993 until the 2000s - which might explain why it’s in such nice condition and still here too!

It is the earliest Proton left in the UK and was originally sold by Newpark motors in Crewe which I believe still exists!

Now there’s a lot to show you today, but before we take a look inside the car, let’s meet the owner jon.

#proton #protonsaga #protonreview

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