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Old 29th June 2008, 11:41   #1
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Default Bajaj Tempo Matador F305,F307 and R307 vans

Hi gang ! This is my first post to the forum.I found that nobody wrote
about the super duper matador f305/307 van manufactured by Bajaj Tempo limited(now Force motors).

Here is my small contribution.

I used to travel to school in the following vans when I was a kid:

Bajaj tempo matador f305(short wheelbase)
Bajaj tempo matador f307(long wheelbase)
Standard 20

All three vans were owned by the same person so if one went to the
garage,another will be doing the 'extra-duty' on my route.

Here are some of the titbits I remember of the matadors-


Steering wheel:

Two spoke ones common in matadors owned by Govt(BSNL,etc).The school vans in which I went had the classic old-type three spoke wheel with horn button in the centre(On the horn button was the bajaj tempo logo).The f307 had a four spoke steering wheel similar to the one used in tempo trax/premier padminis.

Gearbox:

The van had a long throw gearbox having an unique H-pattern.Straight-down was 1st gear,Straight-up was second,right-down was 3rd,right-up was 4th and reverse was left-up ! I don't think the lever developed excessive play but the driver often used good force to engage reverse gear(infact there was a slight dent in the engine cover where the gear lever knob hit it everytime the lever was put to reverse).

The force minidor(many of which are used as share autos) has the same pattern too but the lever develops a lot of play !

Drive:

The van was front-wheel drive.My favorite past time will be watching the
universal joint spin as the van moved(i can see this through the big
rectangular hole from which the gear lever sprouted).

Brakes:

I remember one thing for sure - the driver used to pump the hydraulic
brakes to stop !!


Instrumentation:

Fuel gauge-this never worked in the van I went.The needle simply went to
the "F" position the moment ignition was turned on.
rpm meter(!)-newer matadors didn't have them !
other gauges included amp meter,speedometer,temperature meter and oil
pressure meter.Newer matadors(one that came in the late80s/90s had only speedo,fuel and temperature gauges).


Switch gear:

They were old amby style switches that had to be pulled out.For example the switched marked "L" will be pulled once for parking light(PL bulb
integrated in the headlamp itself !),will have be pulled further for low
beam and further for high beam.Wiper was operated by "W" switch and the vans had round black coloured, glow plug switch marked as "heater".Heater was used by the driver when starting the engine in rainy season.If I remember right,once the engine was started our driver would remove the keys and keep it on the dashboard !

Engine:

Super smooth and super power - A van overloaded with school kids would show no trait of being sluggish.Was this the same engine that was fitted in the Ambassadors by their owners and the one which many Amby cabwalas referred to as "matador engine" ?

Access to the radiator cap was by a small door below the front windscreen and above the grille !

Matador R307:

Did Bajaj Tempo role out a R307 ? I remember seeing one on the roads.This one had rear wheel drive and the wheels(steel rims) were more like TATA 407 - bulky,thick and stronger !!

I think R307 was a short lived model and finally Force motors stopped
making matadors and replaced them with Tempo Excel :(

Also heard that F307 is the one and only front wheel drive LCV in india till today !

long live matador!
Thanks for reading.Corrections are welcome.
-Ashwanth,Chennai.
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Old 29th June 2008, 13:16   #2
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The matadors once had a fight with Tatas over design of the steering wheel - the two spoke ones were very similar to ones Tatas had on their HCVs.

And the LCV goods carriers, which were frequently overloaded always used to break the wheels. Whenever one found a broken down matador in middle of road, one never need to guess why.

Man!!! These vehicles were literal travelling coffins!!! I used to do a bit of travelling on Kerala roads, and whenever I spotted a Matador van crashed, one was sure to find an extra entry in the obituaries column on next day's paper. (sorry for such a possibly rude statement, but I have come across more than one accident where the van had met with accident and usual outcome was passengers in the cabin were dead). And these vehicles were less safe than Omnis.

As to the R307, are you referring to the goods version of the traveller?
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Old 29th June 2008, 13:25   #3
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i to use to travel in one of these when 8i was in second class

was green colour and fuel gauge use to jump up and down i remember it even had a rear door like the tavera's
was loads of fun
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Old 29th June 2008, 14:31   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manikjeet View Post
ifuel gauge use to jump up and down i remember it even had a rear door like the tavera's
was loads of fun

Very true ! Even I have seen gauge needle jumping up and down(not slowly but erractically).In the school vans I have travelled,the tavera-like back door was welded shut !
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Old 29th June 2008, 14:34   #5
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Lightbulb Nostalgia

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwanth View Post
...
Matador R307:

Did Bajaj Tempo role out a R307 ? ...
...
Yes, the R307 was the last model to be launched in the Matador series. I think the R307 came only in the load-carrier version : dont remember seeing any Matador passenger vans with rear-wheel drive. And it was of course a Matador van, not to be confused with the Tempo Excel LCV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
...Man!!! These vehicles were literal travelling coffins!!! ....
I dont agree with you on this : I dont think we should make such a judgement based on a handful of cases that we personally know of.
Unless of course, you are referring to the vans used in the mortuary

.

Last edited by Blue Thunder : 29th June 2008 at 14:35.
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Old 29th June 2008, 14:34   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
As to the R307, are you referring to the goods version of the traveller?

Nope ! Goods version of the traveller is the excel.I saw a matador with "R307" badging and typical matador body shell.The only thing different on the outside were the TATA 407-like wheels (now present in the Force Excel )and presence of transmission linkages to the rear axle.
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Old 29th June 2008, 14:48   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
And the LCV goods carriers, which were frequently overloaded always used to break the wheels. Whenever one found a broken down matador in middle of road, one never need to guess why.
Were it the wheels or were it the suspension that broke too often on these loaded Matador's? Even i have seen many Matador's lying on the road with a collapsed front suspension. It was almost routine on any overloaded Matador.

Quote:
Man!!! These vehicles were literal travelling coffins!!! I used to do a bit of travelling on Kerala roads, and whenever I spotted a Matador van crashed, one was sure to find an extra entry in the obituaries column on next day's paper. (sorry for such a possibly rude statement, but I have come across more than one accident where the van had met with accident and usual outcome was passengers in the cabin were dead). And these vehicles were less safe than Omnis.
I have travelled extensively in Matador's with our family when i was a kid. Fortunately our vehicle wasn't involved in any accidents. But could you tell me why you said the passengers were at a higher risk of injury & death in a Matador?

We used to call the vehicle "Kuzhal Vandi" as the structure of the vehicle used to resemble a long tube
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Old 29th June 2008, 14:53   #8
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The R307 had a slightly different looking front end then the regular Matadors. And it wheels were similar to those of the Tata 407.
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Old 29th June 2008, 15:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
Were it the wheels or were it the suspension that broke too often on these loaded Matador's? Even i have seen many Matador's lying on the road with a collapsed front suspension. It was almost routine on any overloaded Matador.
The Matador van was probably the only utility vehicle in India that had front wheel drive and front independent suspension.

It would have been the front drive shaft : the Matador vans had a reputation for broken drive shafts.This is of course not due to any design flaw, but due to the heavy overloading that is normally done by our transporters (in the heavy vehicles, 10 ton legal payload vehicles are loaded to 16 tons ).

That is probably the reason they launched the rear-wheel drive solid axle
varsion R307, before the Matadors were stopped altogether.

.
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Old 29th June 2008, 15:14   #10
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This was the ONLY vehicle I've seen where the driver had to open the door if he wanted to look outside while reversing. The windows were too small and there was no way you could put your head out - something that Bajaj Tempo could've easily rectified if they wanted to in the few decades that they spent selling this LCV. It was the Ambassador of the Commercial Vehicles industry - refusing the change over several decades.
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Old 29th June 2008, 16:25   #11
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I used to travel sometimes in these matadors, generally long wheelbase and green in color, when one of our school buses went in for service. They were not maintained properly and, IMO, the engine had a distinct sound. Were not very comfortable as far as seats were concerned, but the rear bench/(s) had good legroom. Ride quality when only 3-4 persons in the vehicle was not good, but when fully laden, or rather when it was overloaded, the ride quality was better.

Even today they are used extensively by travel agencies who transport kids.
I think that the engine was from Mercedes.
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Old 29th June 2008, 17:27   #12
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"Bajaj tempo matador f305(short wheelbase)
Bajaj tempo matador f307(long wheelbase)"

The difference was the engine they used. The 307 used the OM616 engine and the 305 used the engine that was a favorite retrofitment onto Ambassadors.
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Old 29th June 2008, 18:27   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyobeb;884709[B
]"Bajaj tempo matador f305(short wheelbase)[/b]
Bajaj tempo matador f307(long wheelbase)"
The difference was the engine they used. The 307 used the OM616 engine and the 305 used the engine that was a favorite retrofitment onto Ambassadors.

Oh ! I never knew that.I always thought those numbers had to do with wheelbase.Most hospitals got the F305 for ambulance/mortuary van use.I have been in both the vans and their engines sounded very similar !

And regarding the problems of Matador - There have been many seen by me:

1.Rod connecting the transmission to the front wheel getting broken when our driver once attempted to start the van that was overloaded !

2.Gear stuck in 1st !! Our driver got another van driver (who drove a very old F307)for help.Both of them tried moving the shift linkages to snap the transmission back to neutral but were not successful :( We had to travel some 3-4 Kms at 1st gear to another school where the owner was waiting with his F307 !

3.Horn getting stuck in the classic old-type three spoke steering wheel !
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Old 29th June 2008, 20:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sankar View Post
But could you tell me why you said the passengers were at a higher risk of injury & death in a Matador?
Personal experience.

One of a vehicle I know was involved in an accident with a matador goods carrier. Two persons were uncathed; and two were dead. That was several years back. For next couple of months, I used to watch the pics of accidents on papers, and I always surprised by the number of fatalities. And then, in early 1990s, an entire family was wiped our. :-(

Edit - Was demise of the matador series due to the Darwin's laws or was it due to the split between the Firodias and Bajaj?

Last edited by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR : 29th June 2008 at 21:00.
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Old 29th June 2008, 21:11   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaCkSeAtDrIVeR View Post
Personal experience.

One of a vehicle I know was involved in an accident with a matador goods carrier. Two persons were uncathed; and two were dead. That was several years back. For next couple of months, I used to watch the pics of accidents on papers, and I always surprised by the number of fatalities. And then, in early 1990s, an entire family was wiped our. :-(
Edit - Was demise of the matador series due to the Darwin's laws or was it due to the split between the Firodias and Bajaj?
Could it be because the tempo was pretty much the only load carrier around and that the 307 was the preferred passenger vehicle, the other choice being the anemic standard 20.
I personally don't think that the matadoe was any worse than any other vehicle on the road at that time. Like Steer said, they stayed around till they were forced into oblivion by their refusal to improve.
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