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Old 23rd September 2016, 14:08   #16
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

I bought my first (fourth hand) car when I was in US in 2009. For about the first 6 months into my trip, I used to tag along with my friends/colleagues to travel anywhere and one fine day, a friend decided to move back to India. He wanted to know if I wanted the car and I said yes in an instance.

It was 1998 model, well-maintained Toyota Camry which about 1,30,000 miles on the odometer when I bought it. It had a lot of scratches on the outside but I knew that it was trouble free so I got it from him for about 3000 dollars back then. I was not really in a position to buy a newer fancier car back then and all I wanted was a car which would take me from Point A to Point B without much of a hassle. And the car performed brilliantly till 2013 when I decided to move back to India.

I really did not treat the car well back then; did not clean her often; went to the neighborhood mechanics rather sparingly and was not regular with the maintenance but still, the car never let me down all those years, except for once when the battery died out on me. I never took her to the official workshops during all those years fearing the costs. The shock-absorbers on the car were all shot up and the car would bounce up and down on riding over road bumps. The tyres on the car were old but I never changed them because I never took the car out for long distance travel as I always preferred to rent a car. Now looking back, I wish I had treated the car much better; but hindsight is always 20-20. In November 2013, when I decided to move back to India, I posted an ad on Criagslist and it look less than one hour for the transaction to conclude with the new buyer paying me an advance. The car had about 1,60,000 miles on the odometer when I sold her in 2013.

So much has changed over the years; and we have a Dzire and a City here with us today. I thankfully do a much better job with these cars in terms of treating them well. But I can never forget my first car. Thanks for the starting the thread.

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Old 23rd September 2016, 14:12   #17
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

This. This takes me back.
I was in the US, California to be precise. I was looking for buying a second hand car to take to and from school. I almost went for a 2003 Toyota Yaris but out of chance I happened upon one of my favorite cars of all time.

She was a 2001 Volkswagen Mark IV Golf,two door. manual transmission,single owner and 90k miles.

Wasn't the best ownership experience in the world. The drivers seat came loose on the highway, multiple airbag failures, two chances of overheating in LA traffic and a very lucky escape from a certain engine seizure during a road trip.

Nonetheless I had 2 years with her, fulfilled my life long dream of studying car design at Art Center, went to pebble beach ( met Jay Leno and Arnold!) and an West-East coast road trip.

I was in tears when I sold her to come back to India.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 14:14   #18
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

Since my dad is a car guy, we always had cars while I was growing up. The car I remember from my childhood the most is the Standard Gazelle. It was a beauty, unlike the socialist junks like the Ambys or the Padminis. Since I was the assistant to my dad when he worked on the cars on weekends, got to learn a lot about vehicles that way.

The first car I bought for myself was a second-hand Kia Sephia in US when I was a student there. While all my friends there were buying Hondas & Toyotas, they were aghast when I bought a Kia (those were the days when Kias & Hyundais had a very bad rap in US). The car was fairly new & had low miles on it (31k miles) and was immaculately maintained.

The guy sold the car because he was divorcing his wife & wanted to dispose off the car out of spite for his wife who was the primary driver of the vehicle. So, I got my car cheap because of a marital spat! God bless Americans & their fragile marriages!

The car served me faithfully for 2 years. I lost the car in an accident (I escaped unscathed) which could have been avoided had it had ABS. Since then, I have learnt my lesson & never buy cars without ABS/EBD & Airbags.

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Old 23rd September 2016, 14:35   #19
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

I remember having fond memories of the first car in our family- A premier padmini. This was in the early 90s and it used to be one of the only 3 cars in my neighbourhood. I remember getting my first driving lesson on this car, sitting in my dad's lap.
My dad never used it as a daily mode of transport and it was used only on weekends. Sometimes, we used to take it out for a drive just to keep it in running condition. I still remember dad giving me instructions on starting the engine every 2nd day and running it idle for 3-4 minutes whenever he used to go out of town.
I also remember an instance where we were at the fuel pump and the car's horn jammed up and created quite a ruckus in the area.
Those were the days when visits to the local mechanic were a regular monthly affair. In the course of its lifetime, the car's colour was changed twice. The original colour was a light blue, which we changed to white and then later on to cherry red.
Once, while driving on NH 1 to Karnal from Delhi, the hood just popped open while we were on the rightmost lane, driving at 90 kmph. This was surely a near death experience but hats off to my dad who didnt panic and pulled over carefully.
I also remember getting it towed once when it broke down in the middle of the night. I rode shotgun in the tow truck and boy what an experience it was!
All in all, the car was our companion for 8 long years and was a part of many important milestones in our family. It was finally sold off when it was getting too cumbersome and expensive to maintain and also because there was no air conditioner in it.

I got my first personal car when I was 20. I had no knowledge about cars at that time and since it was financed by Mom, I wanted to buy the cheapest one available in the market. I went to the neighborhood Maruti dealer and finalized upon the Alto without even looking at other cars. The crazy part was that I spent nearly 50000 rupees extra in getting all the accessories from the dealer- central locking, power windows with automatic winding mechanism on locking, stereo, wheel caps and seat covers. (So much for buying the cheapest car)
The day I took delivery of this car, I drove it back home at the speed of 20 kmph (I knew how to drive by then, but was being extra careful) That day was spent happily going on drives and dinner and puja. I completely ignored the petrol consumption and next day decided to get a tank full done. Just 100 meters before the fuel bunk, the engine died. Thankfully, it had enough fuel in the lines to start again and reach the bunk. Had to push for the last few meters when the attendant told me to bring it close to the filler. This was really embarrassing, pushing a car with all the ribbons and plastic wraps on the seats intact. The car was a great companion for the next many years and the only grouse I had with it was the lack of space at the rear. But those were also the days when an Alto was a luxury for me. Me and my friends were happy going on roadtrips with 5 people on board.
I also remember the roads of Delhi being drive able after 9 in the evening and that was the time I used to enjoy driving. Now, even at 11 in the night, I keep witnessing traffic jams every once in a while.
After this car and a pre- owned Hyundai Accent (The biggest mistake of my life in cars), I got a good grasp on automobiles. The next 2 cars were thoroughly researched and bought.

Very recently I booked my latest car and this is how it went down at the dealership:
Me at the reception: I want to buy an Endeavour
Receptionist: All right sir, let me call the sales advisor.
SA: Hello sir, you want to buy an endeavour?
Me: Yes, I want the 3.2 Titanium 4X4 in black colour. How soon can you get it arranged?
SA: (Speechless for a moment) Very well, I see you have done your research, sir. Would you like to take a test drive before we discuss this further?
Me: Hell, yes.
And within half an hour, I was through with booking my dream SUV. Now waiting anxiously for it to arrive.

I was always fascinated by cars, but thanks to Team- BHP, now I can actually say that I am an informed buyer and an enthusiast.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 15:32   #20
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

My first car - an Ambassador 1981 model that I purchased as the 2nd owner in 1984 (Nov') - dark green when I bought it - changed to a very light grey and finally black before I sold it in 1991.
How was the world around me thirty two years ago? Do I really remember?
Some of it maybe.
Like - the world was a slower place - no TV (or maybe the nascent stages), no computers, no internet, no mobile phones. Only hard copies - no soft ones.
No twenty over internationals - mostly test matches and the 50 over types.
My weekend drives from Cochin to Trichur would take me an hour and fifteen minutes - takes me a little more than that now. The only cars on the road were Ambys, Fiats, a few Maruti 800s (oh man! they were 'the' cars of the time) and the odd Herald.
Extra fittings included Power Brakes, Bosch Horns or Roots (a cheaper option), small fans on the dashboard. Amby's used to have their petrol hearts transplanted with Matador (Diesel) engines - more powerful - or BMCs. I even heard of Daihatsu diesel engines retrofitted into Maruti 800s (never actually seen examples) those days.

As for me - obviously the passing years have taken a toll on my pate - both in terms of the colour of the foliage and its withering away.
Many things have changed obviously in my life (as with everyone's).
Some of my nearest and dearest have gone forever; some friends are long lost; many of my favorite places have changed beyond recognition and remain only in some forgotten recesses of my memory.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 15:35   #21
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

Our household has an somewhat mixed history of cars - grandpa owned a couple of standard heralds, morris minors which were sold off before I was born.

After remaining a car less household for quite a while , uncle got eligible for full time available car from his company, and got a used Delhi registered Amby Mark 4. I remember a shed being built in our front yard from bamboo and corrugated sheets, complete with a bamboo gate to house the car ! This was back in 1996-7 I guess.

In the years to come, Uncle moved on to Maruti 800 std (most probably in 1999) & Maruti WagonR Lxi (2007) provided from his office (both thankfully new ones !) before finally getting himself a personal car in form of a Honda Brio S earlier this year.

Dad had a transferable job and held out sometime longer before getting a used Premier Padmini in 1998. Man that car was old ! Dad probably paid 30k for the car, put in 10k more in the time he used the car (tires+battery+misc), and sold the car couple of years later for 25k !!
Finally got himself a new M800 std in 2000, which was sold in 2010 after being run for less than 50k kms. He got a new Hyundai eon (much to my dislike as it is too less powerful IMO) in 2013 January which is being used since.

Me - well - I bought my first car (or should I say half the car as me and my roomie paid for it together) in USA on January 2008 - A 1998 Mazda 626 with 81K miles. Used it till I left USA for the first time in April 2009 - later the car was sold by my roommate as it had developed a myriad of issues, mostly oil leaks, catcon issues and battery drains. My second car, which I am using till now, was bought in September 2009 - a new Hyundai i10. In the meantime, I traveled to USA again in 2010 (that's when dad sold his M800 to keep my i10 in running condition), and bought a 2000 Mazda Protege with 131K miles - sold the same in 2013 January before returning from USA the second time.

So since 1998 - we have experienced multiple cars in the family - some good , some not so much! Also another point is that seldom I , or our family members have gone for any mods on the car, except maybe aftermarket HU or speakers.
For a while in the beginning, my uncle had long commutes to his office and employed a chauffeur. Since a few years he switched to self driving. Dad and me have always driven ourselves and never had chauffeurs.

To sum up - the salient memories of the cars owned are as follows:

Amby Mark 4 - Heavy and gas guzzling !
Premier Padmini - column shifter !! old and rickety !
M800 std (blue for uncle, grey for dad) - fuss free ownership. Dad's was underutilized.
WagonR - spartan interiors, acres of space, good boot space.
Eon - high dashboard, weak engine, small boot space.
Brio - great engine, good seats, easy to drive, glass hatch !
626 - long car, fixed ORVMs, sunroof, big boot, old engine, poor transmission
Protege - great HPS, dated interiors falling apart
i10 - good interiors, boring to drive, fuss free owership

Last edited by blackasta : 23rd September 2016 at 15:49.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 16:01   #22
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

Bought My first car (Zen Jelly Bean) using my internship money from Summers. (60K)

Made the best use of it during second year with lot of trips and adventures.

Bought second car (Palio 1.2 Sports) with my first salary after MBA.

Bought my third car (Civic 2008, SMT) with my first salary (and some savings) of my second company.

Awaiting the next one
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Old 23rd September 2016, 16:33   #23
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

What a nostalgic thread.

I've been a car enthusiast from my days as a toddler apparently as the elders in the family never tire from telling stories of how me as a 3 year old would lock myself in the car and play with the steering wheel. I also was lucky enough to have the biggest 'dinky' car collection around. (At last count a couple of years back before my mom started disposing off the collection it counted out to nearing around a little more than a thousand pieces), and the idea of a birthday surprise by my parents was having car stickers covering my entire wardrobe and me being blindfolded and led to the wardrobe early morning by my parents. Probably the best gift a 6 year old could get since i can still remember it vividly even now though i'll be touching 30 next month.

Iv also been very lucky as my first 'personal' vehicle allocated to me was my grandfather's personal daewoo cielo. I still remember the modifications i did which included a spoiler, a new HU and speakers, alloys and sun film. This was done to try and copy the nexia that my grandfather had 'upgraded' himself in to. Ofcourse i was too young to drive and hence travelled to school etc in this modified car with a driver.

From then its been a roller coaster ride with my first personal car gifted to me in college which was a hyundai getz and which again included a set of 16inch alloys with goodyear eagle f1 shoes and an excellent pioneer double din HU and JBL speakers, to getting allocated and upgraded to a Chevrolet Optra LTZ (No option for modification as it had everything i could want and more including airbags which suddenly took a priority in the family and hence the upgrade happened for me), and from then on to a pre worshipped Honda Civic with only 8k on the clock (only modification were sun-film, remote retractable rear sun blind, and rain visors) and to finally for the first time purchasing from my own hard earned money a skoda octavia (no modifications at all).

Over the years safety has taken a priority and the modifications a back seat since they don't seem important anymore especially since the cars come so loaded with features now in any case. I'v been lucky in terms of my family teaching me to love cars like they do right from the start and only now do i realise how lucky i'v been in terms of being able to drive all manners of cars that are available to me in the extended family and to have had this experience from a very young age. My priorities now are very different... while i still do love my cars a lot and do an occasional sunday wash and wax myself the time frame for it has reduced and now it takes a little effort to give time to the car unlike earlier where i used to frequent the car accessories shops and be there at the showroom for any new car launch etc.

In all the cars bought in my family my late grandfather took me along. There was a personal touch back then. The owners of the dealerships personally met us, formalities were completed at home at our convenience and there were instances where the cars reached our house even before we managed reaching back. Now it's completely impersonal probably because the volumes of sales have increased a lot leading to professionalism. Neither the sales people nor we ourselves have the time to sit down and complete the deal in the old way. I bought my skoda from my office with the salesman coming over and me seeing the new octavia for the first time in detail only during the PDI!

All i can say now is : Thank god for this forum! It reignites my passion and keeps me in tune with my love for cars which is slowly disappearing in this frantic fast moving pace of life!! And it is threads like this that help me remember all that i'm forgetting!!
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Old 23rd September 2016, 16:54   #24
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Default re: What was different when you bought your first car?

What a beautiful thread to bring back great memories!
My 1st car was the Indian National First Car- The M800.
I have bought quite a few cars and bikes after her but the way it purred the first time it was parked in my driveway is still so fresh in my mind.
I used it extensively( even misused it with a lot of domestic LPG usage). It was a real faithful machine which has bulletproof reliability.
She is still with a close friend and is going strong. I wish I could keep it if I had ample parking space. Even my Thar could not give me the pleasure of my 1st car- my M800.
P.S. I was unmarried when I had her!
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Old 23rd September 2016, 17:07   #25
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Default Re: Cars change, the world changes, how about you?

The topic took me back by a few decades to late 80s. Our first car, which actually my father bought, was a pre-owned Ambassador in chocolate brown shade. The car was more than ten years old that time with no clear idea of total miles done as odo used to work unreliably.

The idea of power/torque never bothered anyone. Used to carry six people and a boot-load comfortably and that was good enough measure of power.
Leave alone AC, it was without even a blower. Also absent was the music system.
The friends complimented for buying 'reasonably new' car (one less than ten years used to be considered 'almost new')
Though remained with us for more than four years, could never figure out its exact mileage. Hardly anytime the tank was filled fully.
Learnt all the tricks to start if ignition creates fuss - including feeding petrol directly to the carburetor
Got battery charger as accessory, quite often used too
When sold four years down the line, went for almost the same price at which acquired. Btw, both the transactions were sub 50K.

While driving, the car was quite stable at moderate speed. Doubt if it had the capacity to cross 100kmph, which anyway was never tried.

But had tremendous knack to develop frequent problems and also redevelop them. Was a pain to maintain and getting rid of it was a regular desire.

Fast forward by 15 years. It was time to buy my own first car and decided to have one brand new. Zeroed in on Santro, purely based on recommendation of a close friend whose car I drove also several times.

This time aging, power/torgue were not the parameters under consideration.
No test drive taken though offered by SA. Seemed futile as selection was irreversible.
The trim selection was done entirely on the basis of budget. Power steering & AC were the only must haves, as their retrofitting was not feasible.

Turned out to be a lovely piece of machine.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 17:23   #26
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Default Re: What was different when you bought your first car?

I haven't bought my first car yet. (I'm in the process of arranging the finances to do that by the end of next year) But we do have a car at home since 2007 when my parents felt we needed a car to get around since a 2 wheeler just wouldn't cut it in case of any family outings since we live in a small (ish) village in Kerala.
I was in my 3rd year at college and had a license but no car to drive.

The guidelines were strict, less than 3.5L, no second hand business, cheap to run and maintain. Since I was the resident automobile expert anyway, the choice was left to me.

Did some research from the auto magazines and ended up a bit disappointed that I had only 2 options. Maruti Alto or Tata Indica Zeta 1.2 .
In that I was sure of one thing, no way we were going to get an Indica, due to the one experience I had of driving one, felt like an Ambassador in the way it drove (general vagueness, reluctance to stay in 5th gear).

So off we went to the nearest Maruti dealership (Popular) and enquired about the Alto.
Having been an avid reader of car magazines I didn't want power steering since I was the only person going to drive and wanted to understand what the so called steering feel was and why the fuss about it.
We had the option of the Std or the LX. I said LX since we need the A/C and nixed the bumper painting and power window option, by choosing Black as the colour and saying that we'll always drive with the A/C on, but I did opt for the left ORVM. Got the stereo system (Pioneer DEH-P 4950MP) and speakers (Blaupunkt BGx690 6" X 9" and Blaupunkt 4" coaxials) from an accessory shop for 9.9k and asked the dealership to fit it before delivery. Also opted for the Nippon security system with remote locking and central locking from the dealership.
All in all it came to 3.16L on road + the 9.9k of the stereo.

Nearly 10 years later that Alto LX still runs well and serves our purpose. But it is now slowly being outmatched on the highways and will be replaced with a safer and faster car, which I'm yet to decide on.
But I will do my research properly this time.

Last edited by nmenon : 23rd September 2016 at 17:30. Reason: Proofing.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 17:42   #27
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Default Re: What was different when you bought your first car?

Originally Posted by nmenon View Post
But I will do my research properly this time.
I am sure you did your research pretty good and took wise decision earlier too. Yes, maybe the PS part did not do well

All the best!
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Old 23rd September 2016, 18:29   #28
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Default Re: What was different when you bought your first car?

Originally Posted by petrolhead_chn View Post
I am sure you did your research pretty good and took wise decision earlier too. Yes, maybe the PS part did not do well

All the best!

I don't have a problem with the non power steering

I like it.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 18:42   #29
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Default Re: What was different when you bought your first car?

I was four when we got a pre-owned Esteem to our garage.
Till that day, I had travelled only in to two cars . The Premier President and Padmini which were bought even before I was born. That five year old thought that all cars a had only column gear shifter till he got into the esteem. The car's ol' pioneer deck ate the cassettes much to my astonishment. I never knew cars could play songs. Even the small things which are insignificant today amused me like the bucket seats, green and red lighting of the center console and ac controls, the red color sticker on inside door lock lever which can be seen only when door is unlocked, the twist to open ash trays... all that looked like Inspector Gadget stuff to me back then which today only 90's kids know.

A big difference I can remember is that i don't remember being stuck in traffic jams for hours back then.
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Old 23rd September 2016, 19:19   #30
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Default Re: What was different when you bought your first car?

My first car was a Premier Padmini which I got from one of my family members. Back in 2006 parking was not an issue at all in most places in Mumbai, but today one has to plan visits as per parking space availability or ease of parking.

It was Petrol padmini and I really enjoyed using column shift gear.
Also the view from driver's seat - Bonnet scoops was absolutely lovely.
It had great all round visibility, reversing was a breeze.

You could do budget friendly mods on Padmini since things were cheap,it being a taxi.
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