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Old 22nd August 2007, 22:47   #31
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Loved the Mk-I Bakelite steering wheel with the turn signal knob at the boss. The boss was also pretty, finished in a black and pearl finish with the golden "H" in a red surround and with dots around the circumference. This one had three solid Bakelite spokes with a horn ring. Cant see then anymore

To turn a little you had to go full lock on those. The ratio was pretty steep to lighten up steering effort. Perhaps one of the reasons why parking wasn't very difficult, you just had to turn more, but the steering was light.
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Old 9th September 2007, 01:50   #32
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I remember that we had a 1985 Premier Padmini BE. We sold it in 1998. By that time, it had an AC, JK radial tyres, 'Koya' bucket seats done in Coimbatore (a luxury add-on at the time), conversion to a floor shift gear, full custom dash (sheet metal) with central console etc. I can testify that it gave a mileage of about 8-10 kmpl in the city.

I do remember that it had troublesome lights, especially if they were the factory originals. Replacement lights were much better. Most importantly, I recall that the interior roof light cover always melted within weeks od replacement, and that the tail lights would fail regularly.

It was the first car that I drove (well, drove in our yard anyway) , when I was thirteen. It was quite a racy car, more so because my dad had it kept in top condition throughout.
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Old 9th September 2007, 20:46   #33
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Here's my contribution, which I had posted earlier on another forum.
Strange how many 'youngsters' are not even aware that there was no 'competition' between these two cars. The Birlas were the winners, because their 'connections' were probably better.
1) It was the 'Licence-Quota' raj those days. No automobile makers were given licence to manufacture cars except the Birlas and the Doshis(?) (Premiere Padmini). For a few years there was also the Standard Herald.
2) Govt. Deptts. were only 'allowed' to order the Ambassador. Government servants could avail of a loan facility only to buy an Ambassador!
3) Not to forget that there was a 'waiting list' to be able to buy a car; sometimes this waiting ran to years!!
4) The makers never viewed themselves as such, or as 'service providers'. You were clearly made to feel that a huge favour was being bestowed upon you when your chance finally came to take delivery of your car (booked many moons ago). You had no choices - the 'dealer' simply showed you 'your' car, often without even offering a colour choice! Take it or leave it (for God knows how many more years!!).
5) Many well-to-do families used to book the next car while taking delivery of the current one. When their turn would come about 2 years later they could sell the used one for the same price they'd paid when buying it. Pay for the new one (increased price) and book the next .... get the idea?
6) India probably holds the dubious distinction of having produced A model of car, without any major changes, for nearly half a century. You had to be 'grateful' for the small cosmetic changes that were offered every few years!
7) The only 'debate' used to be - Ambassador or Fiat! And only amongst those few 'private' buyers who had the privilege of 'choice'!! For the rest, the Govt. had already decided!
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Old 10th September 2007, 10:43   #34
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2) Govt. Deptts. were only 'allowed' to order the Ambassador. Government servants could avail of a loan facility only to buy an Ambassador!

Not too sure about that, dad used to work for a state owned firm, he bought three cars on loan, all Padminis!

And this doesn't go to say that I feel that the Ambassador was better than the Padmini, It's just an obervation.

P.S. Always a "Fiat" fan!
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Old 10th September 2007, 12:41   #35
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Not sure if there were different rules for State and Centre.
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