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Korea’s first automobile manufacturer (Sibal, or 시발, translates to ‘the beginning’), producing variants of the Willys Jeep, founded by Choi Mu-seong, a mechanic, and his younger brothers Hye-seong and Soon-seong. The cars were hand-made and took four months to build, using a Jeep drivetrain and a locally designed engine. The company enjoyed some popularity after winning a presidential award, but with the end of government subsidies and new models developed under Japanese alliances coming on stream, Sibal ceased production in 1963. During its time, other models were developed, though there is little evidence they reached production, including a six-cylinder sedan shown in 1957. Others were in the R&D pipeline, but overexpenditure on that area has been blamed, in part, for the company’s ultimate demise.

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