While going through the newspaper, Captain Haddock and Tintin came across an advertisement for sale of nothing less than aircraft, tanks, submarines etc. The advertisement had been put up by a one JDMC. These initials were there on the wallet of General Alcazar which was the subject of our interest in my last few posts. The duo put two and two together and realised that General Alcazar was here to buy weapons. They decided to confront him at his hotel. The General was seen in the lounge talking to Dawson, an old friend of ours from “The Blur Lotus”, the notorious Police Chief from Shanghai. Tintin decided to follow Dawson. The street scene thereafter show Tintin in a Blue Panhard Dyna following Dawson in a Black Jaguar Mark I. A green van is shown as part of the Traffic.
This van is a very popular vehicle, the Hanomag Matador E. In India, till date, Tempo is synonymous with a Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV), in fact all associations of LCV operators are called Tempo assciations. The term LCV came to India in late eighties with the arrival of the Japanese quad of Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Mazda introducing their LCVs with local partners DCM, Eicher, Allwyn and Swaraj respectively. Till 2000, the Matador was manufactured by “Bajaj-Tempo” followed by “Force Motors.” The Matador had become a generic name for a minibus in India. People never hired a mini bus, they always hired a Matador.
The Tempo company was founded by Oscar Vidal in Hamburg in 1924 as the Vidal and Sohn Tempo-Werke GmbH. This company was famous in Germany for their light commercial vehicles the Matador and the Hanseat. Tempo also produced off road military vehicles in the 1930s and 40s. The Matador was manufactured by Tempo from 1949 to 1967. From 1967 to 1970 it was manufactured by Hanomag. In 1971 it was bought by Daimler Benz AG and was manufactured as a Mercedes till 1977.
The van depicted in the book “The Red Sea Sharks” is a Matador E which was manufactured from 1963 t0 1966. These vehicles were powered by 1,497 cc inline four cylinder petrol engines from Austin. The E was also offered with a Hanomag Diesel engine.