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Old 6th May 2008, 17:16   #16
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Dear tsk1979 - you are correct. I developed a system for the 118NE to prevent stalling due to vapour lock and certified it as OK 10 days before my son Cyrus (GTA on the forum, now 19 years old) was born. That was in 1988. I left PAL in 1994. The system was introduced in production in 1995. And in 1995, they telephoned me and asked me why I had done what I did. It took them 7 years to introduce it. Why ? All wholesale bean counters, that's why. How's that for starters ? Much more to come.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 6th May 2008, 17:43   #17
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Dear Behram
As told you earlier i've had a very brief visit, infact a just a peek at the PAL plant way back in 2003, when i had gone to the the Fiat plant for my college project. Even then I had seen taxi ready brand new Premier Padmini lying at the factory.
Coming to 2008, i've regular visits to the site for my work ofcourse, and did drive till the end where a club house would be made.

I sometimes wonder how did the company manage with a clogged up road like LBS Marg ?
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Old 6th May 2008, 18:12   #18
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Firstly I think that whenever a thread is started, it should be respected.
The sentiments involved in starting the thread should be reviewed and if one has nothing to share or contribute to the thread, then one would do best to stay away from it rather that question the existance of the thread. In saying this I in no way mean to offend anyone.

Having said that, I will deviate from the discussion, presently going on to try and post my experiences with PAL, good and bad, in the sentiment of the thread.

The Fiat was the blue eyed automobile of many of us born during its reign. I remember only two cars then (not counting the Standard which did not enjoy, as popular a place in Maharashtra) A Fiat and an Ambassador.

The Fiat was the first choice of the young and spirited. The Self driven small or "Choti Gaadi" as it was fondly called in households which used both, the Fiat and the Ambi.
Ladies were drawn to it like a magnet and this was their choice of car over the Ambi.

We bought our first Fiat, a Premier President in 1974. My brother was gifted this car by my Grandfather for his achievement in his academics. It was grey (non metallic) in colour and was bought from Maha Auto in Thane bearing number MRJ 6041 (Karl are you paying attention here?).
The car remained with us for a long time wherein it changed many colours (a done thing back then) from Krilo Silver to a light Olive green till it was sold. I also remember selling each of my Fiats at a higher price than I had bought it, such was the demand.
We got another one from the same dealer.
By this time the Padmini was introduced. This car was purchased from the same dealer who had since moved operations to Kalina and we were delivered the car a Dessert Mist coloured Padmini, bearing number MMF 2299. This was delivered to us without the following fittments;

Wiper motor and blades,
Wheel Caps,
Jack and Spanner,
Horn and horn button,
Headlight assembly-both of them.

The logic was that there was a 8 year waiting list for the car so please take the car without all these as the companies which supplied them was on strike
or PAL was on strike. One never got a colour choice and Arctic White was the most favoured.
This car too met its doom in an accident one night, luckily no one was injured but the car was written off and sold to the insurance company who resold it to some garage guys. (I was later informed that the next two owners also has similar mishaps with their cars but were also unhurt....lucky car i would say)
Then we bought a host of Padminis from a Dark Blue to a Jonquil (Canary Yelow) to black which could only be got fron a Taxi quota. The last Fiat we bought was a Sardine Brown colour bearing number MMH 3339. This car was handed down to me and was the car I tried all the stunts of Modification on (yes I had that streak in me even when I was 18)

I remember going to long drives to Khandala (yes khandala was a 3 hour long drive then) via Khapoli.
Ramakant was an integral stop for every car enroute, less for Batata Wada, and more for refilling the Radiator with water and cooling the car. I remember picnics amidst the Ghats with the bonnet open to cool the car.
I also remember fitting an electric fan and going straight away to khandala without a cool stop. People thought I was mad and in my heart of hearts, I thought the same too but it worked. The celcius never crossed the 100 mark and from that time onwards all our cars were fitted with an electric fan.
I remember shutting off the A/c so we could negotiate the steep accent of the ghats.
I remember the Fiats back then being delivered with a "Governor" a device that did not let you accelerate above 40-50 and was only removed on the third service. This was to ensure running in of the engine. The car then felt light as a whistle.


With this I distinctly remember people whom I can associate with Fiats.

I also remember getting the Governor locally removed by Ace mehanic Thakur (RIP) who was the only guy in my opinion, who could tune twin Webbers perfectly by the sound of it.
I also remember putting it back before each of the free services. There was a small seal on the Governor plate which was carefully removed and put back before service

I remember giving gifts to the service managers so that they would actually service my car (the appointment could be set at a minimum 20 days to a month after you had called for booking) I remember getting the entire suspension changed by these guys in the third or last free service free of cost. Hence the gifts

I also remember occasionally running into and looking up to a particular Dashing and Dapper young man in his twenties who would be dirtying his hands with the grime and grease as was I. He was fond of dressing and I loved the way his cars performed. He used to get his cars tuned from Thakur too. Little did I know I would run into him so many years apart, more dashing and dapper than before and still into cars with an undying passion The gentleman Im referring to is none other than our own Mr.Scooby005
Boss ive been an admirer since that long. Thought id let you know today

I remember another person who was as much into the modification and rallying scene as Scooby005 was Mr. Deepak Chopra aka Georgie of Starline motors. I have never heard of a more daredevil driver with as many accidents to his credit, one worst than the other. I believe he is now in Goa, just recovered from a Maruti Swift accident. With the amount of metal he has in his body, im sure he cant pass an airport scanner without it going ballistic.
Like they say old habits die hard.

I am referring to all these people because they were an integral part of my remembrances of Fiat.

I remember Mr. Suresh Naik (RIP) who had built a fiat for me. High lift cam, larger pistons, roll cage, twin Webbers, Short Ratio, floor shift synchromesh gear box, the humm of which could be heard two blocks away, Dunlop radials on the rear and Cross plys on the front wheels, free flow from then Panchal, now Automech, side mounted chrome exhaust pipes, Raid steering wheel, Yenkey guages Etc etc. The car would give me an average of 5 kmpl.and the whole neighbourhood knew, it was me coming or going.
I rallied in the Fiat.

I remember the long waiting period for a Fiat. If one got a car there wa no choice of colour available. Sometimes one could only get a car from a particular dealer in particular trim. I.E. the accessorised version with a ten times higher price tag for the accessories than normal. The dealers made a killing.

Owing to management and worker related problems, I believe the car died a natural death. The Unions did PAL in. A now deceased leader was more interested in filling his pockets rather that the worker's and what happened to PAL was irreversible. They did not move with the times. They took their customers for granted and never woke up even with Maruti staring in their faces. They also therefore paid the highest price.
My family owned a fair share of Fiats. The trend setter being my older brother who bought the first fiat and then it was followed by my sister and then me who only got hand me downs but im not complaining. When he was driving a Fiat proudly I was learning my driving on a 1966 Chevrolet Belair LHD V-8, automatic and loving it.


coming to the 118NE i owned one and that was enough. Except for the engine and gear box, that car was a lost cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kavesh55 View Post
Dear Behram
As told you earlier i've had a very brief visit, infact a just a peek at the PAL plant way back in 2003, when i had gone to the the Fiat plant for my college project. Even then I had seen taxi ready brand new Premier Padmini lying at the factory.
Coming to 2008, i've regular visits to the site for my work ofcourse, and did drive till the end where a club house would be made.

I sometimes wonder how did the company manage with a clogged up road like LBS Marg
?
Kavesh, back then the place where tha factory was situated was a desolate and not so populated area.

Last edited by V-16 : 6th May 2008 at 18:16. Reason: add
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Old 6th May 2008, 20:08   #19
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Great narration Gogi.

We had two Padmini's in our family one was our 84 model BE & other was my Mama's 77 model(I somehow feel it was president but not sure as the badge was of Padmini)

Did lots of long trips(read 1000 kms plus) in the 77 model. He spent a lot of money in this car but it was worth it.

Our Padmini never gave any problems & till date thats the only car in my family which made me sad when it was sold :( May be because it was our first car but still loved that car very much.
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Old 6th May 2008, 20:18   #20
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Quote:
We had two Padmini's in our family one was our 84 model BE & other was my Mama's 77 model(I somehow feel it was president but not sure as the badge was of Padmini)
@TECHNOCRAT:
WE TOO HAD ONE PRESIDENT. A GREY COLOURED ONE WITH WHITE STRIP ON TYRES JUST ABOVE THE RIM. IT HAD TWO HORNS, ONE REGULAR LOCATED ON THE CENTER OF STEERING WHEEL IN FORM OF BUTTON AND SECOND IN THE FORM OF CHROME PLATED RING.





All I can say is that my grandfather bought Premier President yes the name was president and not padmini, though it was the same car.

That car had Standing Rectangle logo and not the triangle one. My father brought that car to IPCL township ( where we had our residence in Vadodara, yes its near to stadium where International matches are held ) so that we can use.

But the engine was in bad shape. So my father decided to overhaul the entire engine. With two of his friends, the engine was pulled out and that engine and parts occupied a complete room out of four. On highway while going to Bhavnagar, my dad covered 11kms in 10 minutes ( a record in 1990 for that road as the road was almost non existing ).

I remember travelling a lot in that car ( usually in the back seat ). Then in 1992 came our 800 and it is still with us today in CNG and has done total 86K kms. We returned that car back to A'bad at my grandfather's residence, but he was reluctant to sell that car. The car was then mainly used by my uncle ( dad's brother ) for city and highway use.

there were problems regarding overheating and battery discharge, but they were solved after a lot of effort. Finally in 1999, the car was sold for 8000 rs. Have never seen that car again.

But there are many memories attached.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 6th May 2008 at 20:21.
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Old 6th May 2008, 20:34   #21
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The Premier Padmini has its own charm and its irreplacable.

I remember seeing brand new Padminis, especially from the last batches, with glossy paint, greenish tints, the trademark plastic wheelcaps.....

I guess the only drawback was the rust problem. Apart from that, the car had tremendous repairablity. We owned a used 1982 Padmini and also a new 1993(?) Padmini.

Yes, the cars failed to start many times. But honestly, they never let us down when it really mattered the most. I remember those days when we actually used to cruise at 90-100 kmph. And the classic exhaust note and the vibrations (LOL) gave me a big adrenaline rush.

We don't have this car now but my mom and dad still swear by it. My uncle (his in his late thirties), who is a diehard car freak (he owns a lancer now) still maintains that there is no other car which is more ideal than the Fiat for a city like Mumbai.
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Old 6th May 2008, 21:38   #22
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Nice thread. Have not seen one like this for quite some time now. Well we got our second hand 'PAL' Premier Padmini somewhere around 1987. I was something like in class 4 then. I always wondered what the actual name of this car was. Everyone called it a FIAT...At the back it was written Premier Padmini....and the front held something called 'PAL' (I never really understood what this meant way back then). There was a small PAL logo on the middle of the steering too, which worked as a horn. The car was just awesome with a sun roof that kept rattling all the time and ultimately we just removed it from the car.

Still remember sitting on the back seat and looking back at the road while we did the long highway trips to our native place early in the morning.
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Old 6th May 2008, 22:58   #23
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First car i washed myself: Fiat 1967 model, in 1984
First car i moded: Fiat 118NE 1992 model, in 1995

The manufacturer "PAL" is part of our history and they were really remarkable ones at that. Controversy or not will watch this thread and will share my story, when i get some time.
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Old 6th May 2008, 23:36   #24
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Premier used to export these cars to Dubai during mid-late 90s, under the Padmini brand name. They even introduced an upgrade called the Padmini S1 i think, claiming it had an improved AVL engine. They were aimed at NRIs as these cars could be taken back home duty free after two years and since Dubai had negligible duty/taxes on cars, new A/C Padminis could be bought for approx. 17,000 dhs (comes to abt 1.8 lacs) making them look like a bargain. Also the car could easily be converted from LHD to RHD.

The car came as a shock on Middle East roads with its 1960s looks against Japanese and American cars. Friends from other countries used to make fun of the latest automotive introduction from India (oddly enough it was the first Indian car to be introduced into the Middle East). The engine used to have a really sporty note to it when it was struggling to keep up with normal traffic with the A/C on.

I remember my friend Shyju,s dad buying one and traveling in it once. What an experience it was, I loved every second i spent in it. It was cramped, narrow and noisy, Add to it that the Dubai public was staring at us whenever we passed by, Never in my life did I receive so much attention in a car.

When Shyju and family returned to India after three years, they took their trusted car alongwith, only to relise India had moved on from the days of the Padmini.
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Old 7th May 2008, 01:49   #25
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This is such a nostalgic thread and has made for such fantastic reading. Thank you for starting such a thread Behram Sir.

I dont think there there is anyone of us out here who hasnt had a Padmini in their family when they have owned a car. Most of the "our first car" used to be a Padmini even after the little Maruti 800 came out.

So who are we to be any different. Our first car in India was yes a Padmini. My dad used to work in Dubai then, me, my mom and Fireblader(Kartik) lived in Mumbai one fine day in the last month of 1988, my father decided to buy a car for us to use in Mumbai. Off we headed to Starline Motors in Tardeo to look at the Padmini. The sales girl showed us the car and then we sat down with the sales guy to finalize the car. We wanted the Blazer blue colour which looked really nice and was a pretty hot colour at that time. But that colour was unavailable and we would have to wait. Wait we couldnt since my dad had to fly back to Dubai. So we settled for Ambi Grey. On 1st January 1989 we took delivery of an Ambi Grey Premier Padmini Deluxe BE I was actually very excited to have a our first car in India. We took carpets and extra locks for the boot and the door as optional extras. The smell of a brand new car was something else and that column shift was quite a novelty for me then since I was used to seeing just the normal stick shifts and ATs when I was in Dubai. We added an Aiwa casette player with two speakers which my Dad sent from Dubai a few months later and yay we have music in the car. One year later we got Seiko AC fitted from Indus car airconditioners at Prabhadevi.

My Padmini saw me through my entire school life from 1989 to 1994. I leart driving in this car at the age of 13 and regularly hit Worli Seaface everyday in the evenings with my driver. I enjoyed the column shift immensely. We took the Padmini on its first outstation trip to Pune in April 95'. It was smooth ride till the ghats but the the fuel pump conked. No worries a mechanic at the roadside repaired it (the simplicity of the Padmini you see)

It never gave trouble in our future trips. All was smooth sailing. It went in for its colour change in Dec 95' since there was tin work to be done as well. The car now became metallic black and I added the typical Padmini bull bar and two yellow fog lamps to go with it. Also put in two speakers in front. Apart from all this, it got everything new from the bumpers to the steering wheel. I even got it the new stalk assembly from the newer Padminis. Also added jet black tinits.

The car was running very well with no problems at all. On fine day in the winter of 96' my mechanic told my dad of how a diesel was more cheaper and economical. So came the thought of converting to diesel. Dad thought about it and decided to go ahead. Yes I did an engine swap on my Padmini in those days

We scouted a Mazda 1.6 diesel engine for our car from good old chor bazaar. Also threw in an NE gearbox. The engine swap took around a month to complete. The car ran well and once in temperature the engine was super silent. Could not make out ther was disel under the hood. Shod the car with new radials with rims from the 118 NE. Tyres were 175 profile. Did a highway run and realized the car was crying for one more. So it was out with the NE box and in went a Contessa tranny. My Padmini was now a 5 Speed rocket.

This car now became more fun. I had got my license by then and I was all out driving this car around. My dad had bought an 800 for me but I always had an inclination towards the Padmini. Used to enjoy smoking Cielos and Esteems at the signals in those days. The look on their faces after being smoked by a Padmini was to die for.

My doggie turned a year old in 98 and taking him around in a Fiat with luggage et all became difficult. So we went in for Tata Sierra in April that year. The Padmini still stayed for a while but eventually dad decided that we could not keep three cars. Sold it off to a middle aged gentleman in Sept 98. Saw the car for a while after that but not anymore. I really wonder at times where it could be.

These were a few memories I had with my Fiat. I really cherish the time I spent with it. I will never forget that car ever with whom I spent most of my schooling years with. Padminis as private cars are almost gone from the roads now. It feels nice to see at Padmini amongst the Hondas Toyotas and Skodas these days. A friend in my building has still kept his old Padmini apart from owning an Optra and a Getz. His father refuse to let it go sentimental value and all that. I completely understand. It was sitting there when I got after him to get it working. He told his dad about it and they finally got it working. His dad came to me first after they got the car back and asked me to drive it. I had a blast driving his old Padmini in my area. I can say I am happy that I have have access to a Padmini whenever I wish.

Such is the way the Padmini has touched my life. Sweet memories is all I can say. BLF 1139 I miss you.

P.S Very long post this.
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Old 7th May 2008, 02:19   #26
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What a post Gogi bhai! Absolutely fantastic! You have some real bitter sweet memories attached to this car eh? More sweet than bitter methinks! Good to know you had fun driving the modded Paddu around & so did the dashing & dapper young man, Mr. Scooby!

Please keep such fascinating stories coming. Mr. Scooby, you listening??
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Old 7th May 2008, 02:29   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iraghava View Post
What a post Gogi bhai! Absolutely fantastic! You have some real bitter sweet memories attached to this car eh? More sweet than bitter methinks! Good to know you had fun driving the modded Paddu around & so did the dashing & dapper young man, Mr. Scooby!

Please keep such fascinating stories coming. Mr. Scooby, you listening??
Ishaan, Scooby05 was "The" Man in those days as much he is "The" Man today. The difference is he used to throw his Fiat very adeptly round bends then. Now he does so with his Imprezza, or rather did so with the Imprezza when it was his. Waiting to see him do it in his SL 500 now
His take on the Fiat would be worth reading.
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Old 7th May 2008, 02:36   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shortbread View Post
Premier used to export these cars to Dubai during mid-late 90s, under the Padmini brand name. They even introduced an upgrade called the Padmini S1 i think, claiming it had an improved AVL engine. They were aimed at NRIs as these cars could be taken back home duty free after two years and since Dubai had negligible duty/taxes on cars, new A/C Padminis could be bought for approx. 17,000 dhs (comes to abt 1.8 lacs) making them look like a bargain. Also the car could easily be converted from LHD to RHD.

The car came as a shock on Middle East roads with its 1960s looks against Japanese and American cars. Friends from other countries used to make fun of the latest automotive introduction from India (oddly enough it was the first Indian car to be introduced into the Middle East). The engine used to have a really sporty note to it when it was struggling to keep up with normal traffic with the A/C on.

I remember my friend Shyju,s dad buying one and traveling in it once. What an experience it was, I loved every second i spent in it. It was cramped, narrow and noisy, Add to it that the Dubai public was staring at us whenever we passed by, Never in my life did I receive so much attention in a car.

When Shyju and family returned to India after three years, they took their trusted car alongwith, only to relise India had moved on from the days of the Padmini.
Dear Shortbread. I have exactly one such car. in original LHD. it is in the process of getting restored.
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Old 7th May 2008, 02:39   #29
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Back then you were either a Fiat family or an Ambassador family. We were an ambassador family but I always lusted for a Fiat. In my opinion it was fast and sporty and made all the right noises whereas the Amby was like a old cow. My uncle owned one and I could'nt wait to get a ride in it every once in a while.

Quote:
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However, IMHO, a company like PAL and the people who ran it deserve no sympathy. The Company started manufacturing cars less than a decade after Toyota commenced auto production. Can you compare the two today? Forget Toyota, can you compare PAL with Tata Motors that commenced auto production a full decade after PAL did and operated in the same license-permit raj?
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Originally Posted by nickatnite View Post
Good riddance to bad rubbish, PAL i.e. Sorry , Sir, but i don't share your fond memories. I remember that my hard working parents had to spend their hard earned money to buy less than poor rubbish on wheels produced by this company and spend even more on repairs and maintenance. ..
Well its easy to find fault, but lets remember that both your grandfather and mine were around at the same time (as well as others) and had the same opportunities but none of them did what Walchand Hirachand did or came up with a better car.
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Old 7th May 2008, 02:48   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
Ishaan, Scooby05 was "The" Man in those days as much he is "The" Man today. The difference is he used to throw his Fiat very adeptly round bends then. Now he does so with his Imprezza, or rather did so with the Imprezza when it was his. Waiting to see him do it in his SL 500 now
His take on the Fiat would be worth reading.
Of course Gogi bhai, having seen him drive quite a few times & his undying love for cars I can imagine all that he would have done to his cars in those days & how he would have driven them around!

It sure will be fun to read his perspective on this! So Scooby sirji, you ready to write?
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