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Old 2nd February 2006, 18:33   #1
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Default An Indian station wagon from the past

A few months ago, I visited the hill-station of Panchgani, Dist. Satara 412805.
Near the famous sixty year old New Era boarding high school, I found this quaint old piece of American Iron. A 1945 one-ton truck-based Ford station wagon taxi. This was a Woodie Wagon as old as the New Era High School itself!!

The British called them shooting-brakes and estate-cars and the Europeans called them Combis.

But my favorite word ever since riding at Trichinopoly in my great-uncle’s Chevrolet woodie was simply "station-wagon".
A word at-once evoking lazy afternoons of driving through the woods with no destination in mind except two-scoops of vanilla ice-cream on return.

American station wagons were of two types: car-based and truck-based.
Today, the USA no longer produces car-based station wagons.
Examples of truck-based station wagons are the Chevrolet & GMC Suburban and Dodge Durango. Back here in India, the Tata Sumo, Mahindra Bolero and Scorpio.

Today Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar have Mahindra Bolero, Commander and Toyota Qualis taxis. They have completely replaced the hardy old Willys station wagons.

Here are some pics.
Front View



SideView



Interior



Teakwood seats



A thrifty 4-cylinder diesel replacing the original Ford flathead-six-cylinder :-(



A modded one in USA. Note the lowered suspension, flames, deep-dish chrome wheels with low-profile rubber, chromed radiator and K&N filters on the twin carbs.



An original in USA

Last edited by Ram : 2nd February 2006 at 18:34.
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Old 2nd February 2006, 19:49   #2
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just beautiful...was it in running condition???
i just love the 3 point steering wheel
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Old 2nd February 2006, 20:39   #3
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I love the looks, but the replacement of the engine saddens me.

On one visit to darjeeling as a young boy, I was so inspired on seeing the numerous Land Rovers of all variants ( series 1, series 2, 90 inch, 110 inch, 88 inch wheelbases), in various conditions. It was then that my Land Rover craze started, at about the age of 7 or 8 I guess.
My family's taxi around there was an original well maintained series 1 90 inch example with no paint and a very very cool metallic look to its bodywork.

Why Im mentioning this is, even there, most of the original petrol Land Rover engines had been replaced by Mahindra diesels for lack of spare parts avalibility. So these british mountain goats now ran on the engines used by their inspiration and rivals. Shame.......
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Old 2nd February 2006, 21:41   #4
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Hi Ram, This station wagon was operational and ferrying passengers to and fro Panchgani to Wai until 1999 when I left boarding school. Is it lying in dust now?
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Old 2nd February 2006, 21:58   #5
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Nice one, Ram. I remember seeing lots of such old Chevys and Dodges at Mahabaleshwar as a child. They had their own charm. Sumos, Traxes, Boleros, etc. are a lot easier to maintain, but, they are just not the same. Even the good old Amby has almost disappeared from our hillstations.
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Old 3rd February 2006, 11:20   #6
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When you travel towards Wagah border from Amritsar, in that area you find a lot of 1940-1950 model trucks, still running albiet very rickety!
I have also seen lots of mercedes trucks in that region
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Old 3rd February 2006, 15:30   #7
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Is that really an 'Indian' station wagon Ram? The only 'Indian' station wagon I know of looks somewhat like this -

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Old 3rd February 2006, 16:29   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by typeOnegative
Is that really an 'Indian' station wagon Ram? The only 'Indian' station wagon I know of looks somewhat like this -

Apparently you like Microsoft Train Simulator.

OK, so railway-station and wagon can be linked in other funny ways?

But aren't we sliding off topic here?

For the record: They got the name: station-wagons from the old-days, when everyone traveled by train, and you needed a car that could comfortably carry people and large amounts of luggage between the railway-station and home. The back-ends were modified with tailgates to handle large amounts of luggage.

Let me help you find out which the early station wagons in India were.

Start by discovering the earliest cars and station-wagons in India, even before India started assembling CKD/SKD Standard Companion station wagons and Herald station wagons and before the Hindustan Landmaster station wagon and Ambassador station wagon and the Premier Padmini station wagon, by Starline Auto Builders of Tardeo, Mumbai.

Your quest will lead to the old Chrysler products sold and serviced (S&S) by Walchand Hirachand's Premier Automobiles. Also GM and Ford products from the 1940s and 1950s S&S in India.
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Old 3rd February 2006, 17:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre
Hi Ram, This station wagon was operational and ferrying passengers to and fro Panchgani to Wai until 1999 when I left boarding school.
You didnt mention Wai-Panchgani ... did it manage to go up that mini-ghat up the table mountain? Even in 1999??? Thats something!
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Old 4th February 2006, 17:15   #10
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Nice pictures dude...
i really fancied those old ones.... once i had a ride from Darjeeling to Pashupathi market(in Nepal) in a 1955 landrover ....really enjoyed the ride till it broke down on our way back due to some gearbox problems....
CAT
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Old 4th February 2006, 18:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catamaran
Nice pictures dude...
Thanks for the compliment, Catamaran.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catamaran
i really fancied those old ones.... once i had a ride from Darjeeling to Pashupathi market(in Nepal) in a 1955 landrover ....really enjoyed the ride till it broke down on our way back due to some gearbox problems....
CAT
There's some hilarious Land Rover breakdowns in the 1980 movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" starring Marius Weyers, in the role of the star-crossed driver of a beautiful weathered Land Rover sans windshield and sans brakes. Really enjoyed that movie! Did you too?
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Old 4th February 2006, 19:14   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ram
There's some hilarious Land Rover breakdowns in the 1980 movie, "The Gods Must Be Crazy" starring Marius Weyers, in the role of the star-crossed driver of a beautiful weathered Land Rover sans windshield and sans brakes. Really enjoyed that movie! Did you too?
I dont remember seeing this 1980 movie (Sorry i have a poor memmory, i must've seen it)... what i remember is the comedy "gods must be crazy" series where in a few gets stuck in the african forest and all the happenings... those were also really good ones.
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Old 5th February 2006, 00:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
You didnt mention Wai-Panchgani ... did it manage to go up that mini-ghat up the table mountain? Even in 1999??? Thats something!
Yes it did manage to climb the mini-ghat
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