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Old 2nd August 2007, 07:28   #1
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Default Old man needs suggestions

Probably very few members here know about my third car.

Car, that changed the Indian automobile scenario.
A first generation, Maruti 800.

I donít really talk about this car on the forum. Because I donít use it that often.
But time has come to take a decision. Strong one, as far as Iím concern.

A short history. I bought it second hand from a seventy years (then) old lady. She had a cataract problem and doctor advised her not to drive. She also told me that she met seven buyers before me. But she decided to give me the car because she saw my Ambassador. She felt that Iím the right person to hand over her love.

With a heavy heart she sold it to me for 55k with 106000km on odometer.

Frankly, engine was ok. Compression was, well as much as one can expect from a well-run engine. Seats were slightly tattered. Front glass had some wiper marks. Ignition key had almost no lever notches. This was not a DX model so it had no seat belt and AC. Original steel rims were rusted inside and covered with retread cross ply tyres.

For lack of sufficient funds, I did a piston ring job. Changed the wheels to Aura alloys (didnít like the design but had no choice) with 155 tubeless Goodyear. Covered those seats with of-the-shelf-somewhat-acceptable seat covers. Original wipers were not moving properly, so changed that mechanism to new one. In order to make room for new wiper/light cluster switch, small steering wheel came with longer hub. Changed old headlamp units with 90/100 Philips. Car came with original white paint. I just added a matt black paint on bottom half of the doors. Window pillars are also painted matt black.

This is one car you can really throw around. One of the best small car in terms of handling.

Car ran well for years and then started showing the signs of bad health.
Compression is really low. One cylinder is happily throwing oil to plug. Car sounding tired if pushed above 60. Mileage has come down to 13km odd/liter.

So what do I do now?
Sell this car and get peanuts for it? Probably that buyer will also give me a box of sweet with peanuts.
If ever, whenever pocket permits, go for another small car?

If I keep this car, here is the wish list:
Buy a new bottom half. Cost around 8-9k.
Work on the top part. May be with slight head shaving. Cost around 10k.
Take enough time to for entire body tapping. It has loads of small bumps and dents. Cost around 10-12k.
Have comfortable supportive sitting arrangement. Get good upholstery. Cost around 15k.
Get exhaust portion made, start to end. May cost around 10-12k.
Look for better looking alloys. Preferably, a deep-dish type. I know itís very difficult to get for 12inch size. I would love to have white spokes with chrome lip. Put 165 tyres. Letís keep an over estimated budget of 30k. May be less, may be more.
Find out a good paint shop with heat chamber. Paint it dark metallic silver. Cost around 20k.
Only problem and also a big problem with this car, is getting trims. Itís not readily available in the market, at least in Bangalore.

So the cost is hovering around 110-120k. And after spending this, I get a car I love to drive. May be for next few years.

Tell me guys what I should do?
Go for this?
Or sell this and look for a new car later?

This thread cannot go to What car section because I know what car I want to buy. Iím not putting up a poll because I like to know your logical views.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 07:44   #2
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Rudy, id say go for the restoration if you love the car as much as I think you do. Like you said, this car can be chucked around corners, and will be an added bonus to drive in the pathetic traffic we have in Bangalore.

Since you are changing the bottom half why not look for a 1.1ltr wagon r engine or such. Slightly more powerful. More torque too. And shouldn't cost you a lot. You can save the money on the block, modding the head etc and go for the swap instead.

If you think its not worth the effort, you know a certain who is ready to take her away from your hands for a couple of years now. Just ask him to throw in a bottle of single malt scotch and a couple of lenses along with the peanuts and a box of sweets . If he were to have his way, this car could end up being one of the fastest cars around. So make best use of it .
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Old 2nd August 2007, 08:32   #3
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Yup, altho keeping this car is the more expensive option, I feel its the right thing to do
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Old 2nd August 2007, 08:48   #4
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Since you are already maintaining an Ambassadar, again overhauling the M800 will add your cost to another 1.5lakhs and you never know how many more years this setup will work? There is no point in upgrading its engine as you will not do any highway travel on it.
My suggession would be to buy a new car (M800 or Alto) since M800 is still in production and it is not extinct and keep it however you want (do whatever upgradation you want?), the new car will live peacefully under your vigilance for another 15 years...

Entirely my thought !!
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Old 2nd August 2007, 08:52   #5
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I'd say dump it. Spending over a lac on an extremely old 800 is not worth it. Its okay if the car has sentimental attachment but if there isn't any, (which seems to be the case with this car) its best to get rid of it. If you do need a small car, a new alto would be the best bet.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 08:52   #6
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Ummm... since most of us are going to take the known line (like McL and theMAG), we being what we are, let me take a different approach.

You bought it for 55k. Since then you must driven it for some more years and thousands of kms. Now if you sell it you will still get at least 30-35k, a Maruti being a Maruti will always fetch that. Heck even extinct species like 118NE in real bad shape sells for at least 25k. Nobody thinks for bargaining below that for a 4-wheeled thing. So if you sell it for say 35k you loose 20k on what you paid then. I would suggest you put that and the amount you would have spent on restoration plus maybe a little more and buy a new M800. That will be an infinitesimally better value for money. Last you another decade if not more. And you can keep throwing that around as much as you want.

Now a bit OT. Three cars in a house in bangalore! I am getting surer by the day that you live somewhere close to Vijay Mallya's place Or is it that you have a huge independent house with an equally large basement parking?
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Old 2nd August 2007, 09:00   #7
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Am no real expert but were I in your place, I'd buy a new car. To me, that would be the sensible choice, but then I'm really not overtly sentimental about "things"; don't know about you.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 09:00   #8
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I would suggest you to keep that little beauty & take up the restoration work slowly. First the engine & the internals, then the interiors & then the cosmetics. This car is a little beauty & worth keeping.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 09:10   #9
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Zappo stole my thunder. Aren't your having problems with parking slots, or is that not a issue anymore? If you have ample parking spots (which I doubt), then I'd keep it.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 09:11   #10
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sell it.... no point unless you are planning on keeping her for another 10 years at least...
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Old 2nd August 2007, 09:16   #11
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Rudraji, I can try and get my friends SS80. He sold it even though I had told him I wanted to buy it off him thinking I was joking for buying such an old car.

Maybe I can convince the guy who has it now to sell it back for a few rupees more.

It was in excellent condition and still used to go past 100kmph easily.

Let me know and we can try. In the mean time I'll find out the status of teh car.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 09:57   #12
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This is interesting. I'm going to be following this thread very closely.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 10:10   #13
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Originally Posted by Rtech View Post
This is interesting. I'm going to be following this thread very closely.
and i shall speak towards the end Rudra dear time for beer
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Old 2nd August 2007, 10:11   #14
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Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
Now a bit OT. Three cars in a house in bangalore!
To understand why he needs 3 cars, one must know the old man on a closer, more personal level. Let me tell you this much, he needs a 3rd car. He drives the first two and no one else will. So whoever else lives in that house needs a 3rd car. Or be subjected to lines like "You left fingerprints on my steering wheel"

Rudra, I know you love your cars. One takes up a lot of your time and energy (Amby) and the other (Optra) does not. I am supremely confident that if you go on a restoration path:
  1. The restoration job will take more of your time and energy
  2. Given the fact that your residence restoration is doing that already, along with your amby, why take on another liability?
  3. i can assure you, that your cost estimations will be crossed
  4. I also don't think you will be rewarded with reliability

Lastly, the reason for this car will be away for a while. That leaves one eccentric old man to drive 3 cars.

In my belief you should sell. When the reason returns from her journey, buy a new one, wrap the keys in a little ribbon and hand it over.
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Old 2nd August 2007, 11:07   #15
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Rudy, keep the car.
Money can always buy a car from the showroom.
Doing up our old cars is a labour of love. And its the sense of satisfaction and pride that your SS80 will give and she'd be more exclusive.

One suggestion:Give her a new heart.Options:
1)New M800 MPFi 4speed
2)Used M800 MPFi 5speed
3)Fully rebuilt carb 800

PS: Now that I read Sam's post, Madame Reason might know what Mme Reason wants!
A restored old car or a new car.

Last edited by nitrous : 2nd August 2007 at 11:12.
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