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Old 16th May 2008, 10:29   #76
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Ref above picture of MZM7247, this picture was taken at a petrol pump on Sardar Patel Marg in New Delhi in February 1985. Yes, MZM7247 is the third prototype 118NE (the second was MZM7245 and the first was MMY4975). If you look clearly behind MZM7247, there is a yellow Padmini standing. It is MMY7128, the second prototype Padmini Diesel car (the first was MMY5039). We (my colleague Unni and I) drove down from Delhi to Mumbai, displaying the cars at Jaipur, Ajmer, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Anand and Baroda.

Read this - it is really hilarious - at Anand inside the dealer's showroom I was literally mobbed by some very rich Gujaratis who were hell bent on taking MZM7247 from me on the sopt. They had brought 1 lakh rupees in cash in a cloth bag (in which you normally carry vegetables home) which they wanted to give me for the car. They were in no mood to listen. The dealer had to intervene. I also remember drinking dry fruits milk shake in the showroom at Anand, courtesy of Gujaratis ("saheb, dry fruits to roj khavani"). These guys live kingsize. Some memories to share. More to come.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 16th May 2008, 14:25   #77
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Good to see FIAT lovers.

When I was 10 years old, my father bought Premier President for 37,000 Rs. It was a 74 or 76 model. I learned the car in the garage and used to take outside the garage. Since I was small that time, used pillows on the seat so that I could see the bonnet.

I used to fill in the water in radiator and clean the car and I loved it. Dont know the reason but I used to be very happy when the battery charge in the amp meter was full. I then learned to put the jack and change flat tyre! I was very happy and felt immensely proud when I did that!!!

I still vividly remember the various problems that our car gave and how we used to fix the same in garage.

We sold that car after 10 years and then my dad got a new car from his company. And what a car it was!! It was a dream come true to get a brand new car complete with bucket seats and floor gears and a lovely dash board. When it was dark I used to light up the dash board and I loved all the lights on the dashboard.

Once I went with my dad to World Trade centre in Mumbai and there I saw a awesome car. My dad told me that it is FIAT Uno. I simply loved the car.

After couple of years my dad got FIAT UNO. And boy I was on moon. The car is simply awesome and drives like a cream till today. What a suspension and mileage and overall driving experience. When you shut door you get reassuring 'thud' which is completely missing in maruti cars.

Iam now planning to buy Palio 1.6.

Its really bad to see that such good cars are being killed by poor marketing strategy.
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Old 19th May 2008, 11:34   #78
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A very funny incident which I will never forget - I was in the vehicle testing department, testing cars was my job. One day my boss suddenly decides to test the Nissan Laurel Automatic Transmission car. So I fill fuel, make the gate pass, clear the car from security at the main gate (do the dirty work). We go to the road just after Konkan Bhavan (Kharghar highway - there was nothing there), I connect the instrumention which would provide direct printouts of acceleration. My boss says "Ill drive". OK with me. So he puts the car into drive and floors it. The car shoots like a rocket, 80, 100, 120, 140 -----. Now the funny part. I see my boss gripping the steering wheel tight, rocking to and fro on the driver's seat and shouting "come on - come on, buck up". I could not even laugh ! I told him - "Sir, this is Automatic Transmission, just floor it and sit". I wanted to tell him " Sir, this is a car, not a horse", but better sense prevailed and I kept my laughter to myself. When we stopped at a small teastall. I went behind it and "laughed out loud" (LOL). Even today when I think of it, I LOL.

This was the caliber ! Need I say anything more ? I'll share many such funny incidences.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 19th May 2008, 12:31   #79
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Dhabar Saheb,

This is really funny, over and above this incident, it kind of makes me think of the caliber of Senior personnel working in PAL at the point of time,

OT - Any BPO personnel feel the same of their seniors ?

cheers

M M M
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Old 19th May 2008, 14:17   #80
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Dear mmmjgm - you took the words right out of my mouth.

Read this one more funny incident - in the 118NE, the steering column comes out between the clutch and brake pedals. The transmission tunnel is to the right side of the clutch pedal (all this is normal). One of my immediate bosses (there were many as I was the juniormost - read as "working category") sat down to drive the 118NE prototype. Now he was a fat guy and wore size 12 shoes. When he pressed the clutch pedal, his left shoe got stuck between the transmission tunnel and the steering column. He was a nice chap. He called me and told me to "officially" report it. It came up for discussion the next morning. I was told to compare it with the "master car". I replied that I could not do it. I was asked "why ? you young fellow, not following instructions" ! "But Sir, master car is LEFT HAND DRIVE". I was asked "SO WHAT?". Remaining poker-faced with great great difficulty, I replied "Sir, in left hand drive car, after clutch pedal, door comes. Transmission tunnel does not come". Get it ? The guy thought the pedals were MIRROR IMAGED in LHD and RHD.

Need I say anything more ?

LOL LOL LOL / HAHAHAHAHA.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 21st May 2008, 14:33   #81
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Dear Behram

I purchased a White 118 NE last year for 35000/-. The car has a AC and still goes 12 kmpl. I am from Virar amd can proudly tell mumbaikars no one in Virar a conditoned 118 ne in Virar. When I drive people stop and see and ask me which garage maintains it.

It is fun driving 118 ne. and with gods grace the maintainenece is only front shock bushes (both L & R). I drive the car from Virar to Uran twice a month.

Pls reply for your valuable advice

Sanjeev
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Old 25th May 2008, 08:45   #82
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Dear Mr Behram Dhabhar,
loved going through this thread. Gets me recounting our family's romance with Fiats Indian and Italian. Our first Fiat a 68 model 1100D a medium blue example was purchased by my dad around 1977 I think in Goa. Used it on many family trips sometimes overloading it with 7 (slim) adults and 2 kids. Drove it on all sorts of roads and I still remember a trip where we had a leaking radiator hose and had to stop at every village on the highway asking for water...LOL

Ha ha - the rear springs soon sagged on its haunches and had to be replaced after which it looked like it stuck it's bum in the air.
So for our final trip from Goa to Bangalore via Bellary, my father had this brilliant idea to load it to its gills to seat the rear suspension lower. By the time we reached Blore the rear of the car was almost as bad as before. The car was sold in Blore before we left for Zambia in 79. I used to often compare it to my uncle's mint conditioned 1971 model which is still faithfully started by his grandson even now. MYO 9450 I think it still is - a shiny balck model with slick gear shifts and a superlight steering wheel - Single owner - original and stock. A clam shell instrument nacelle and those original switched and light stalks, even the doos close beautifully with a couple of clicks rather than a bang. So well maintained that he would strictly admonish us if we so much as closed the doors a bit hard.

Anyway off to Zambia we went where our first car was a troublesome off white Fiat 128. Much better than the Indian one similar in size with a smaller boot - It had much bigger window panes. A couple of years down the line came the white 1974 Fiat 124 with shocking pink seats. This car was really fast and comfy - 1.4 litre engine I think n Dad would often take it to 140 even 160 kmph on occasion on Zambia's fast highways.

Then came my favourite Fiat an off white Fiat 132 GLS - 1.8 - loved its fab seats - like sofas - maybe a bit more more spacious than the Contessa - similar in size but this was a really good Highway car - loved its conservative sporty saloon looks and that typically sharp 4 headlamped face from the late 70s. Dad would somtimes touch 180 in this car and bumps were easily dismissed without much ado.

Fiats were always regarded as comfy cars at home but often had some small or in some cases bigger niggling problems apart form the perrennial rust issues. But the comfort factor really stood out after we switched to Toyotas n Mazdas in the mid to late 80s. They were known for their frugal and reliable engines. European cars were always regarded as proper cars for comfort and the full monty in Zambia in the 80s when the Jap were just then becoming popular. In fact Fiats used to be assembled there at that time.

Finally before leaving Zambia we had a Fiat 131 Mirafiori L -a 1.3 litre '77 model which was used as a second car. Though felt comfy and nearly as big as the 132 - it was quite slow n noisy - on the highways. I guess we had gotten used to the smooth Jap engines by then making the 131 feel rather unrefined.

Back in India in '89 it felt like a step back in automotive time of sorts. After the horrendously uncomfy M. Van n the ungainly but comfy Contessa my Dad bought our 118 NE, a 92 model with just 25 000 kms on clock from a Kannada film actor in 1995.

A very well maintained car - it felt almost new and had for a long time been kept that way - It would always be parked indoors away from the elements so did not really have major probs with rust. I loved her sliky smooth engine and that deliciously refined gearbox. And it would float over poor road surfaces. The car sat too low and a full compliment of 5 passengers with weekend meant scraped underbellies on even moderate speed breakers in Bangalore. We had 4 rubber spacers fitted all round which largely resolved this issue.

My mom still preferred it even after I bought my Esteem in 2000. And to be honest it was actually easier to drive and park the slightly bigger NE compared to my Esteem in tight city traffic as extremities could easily be seen. Switching from the skinny company supplied crossplies to Bridgestone radials made a very positive difference to comfort, road noise and handling.

My biggest grouse was with the servicing at the company authorised dealers - they would charge high - wernt very friendly especially after the Maruti experience - and broke some small part or other when returning. Especially the attractive and easily breakable clip on plastic wheel caps.

Helped my cousin's hubby by another 94 example with an AC - and found this a lot more effective than the A/C in my Esteem.

We still have the NE in Blore but now it runs with petrol and LPG... There has been no other car that we have held on to for so long...

While the NE was easy to drive, I still found the Padmini a pain on longer drives especially the Ghat sections. Heavy clutch and hard brakes used to lead to more breaks in between. Not to mention the car needing a breather with an open bonnet half way up the Ghats in scorching 40 C heat - drove down a couple of times years ago from Goa to Blore in another uncle's 2 cars - a 58 Millicento ( that ol cute snub nose and tailed beauty - with reverse opening front doors and fab handling ) and a 78 model Padmini.
The padmini was more comfy for the passengers but was not as engaging to drive as the shorter wheelbased Millicento. The older car was really solid though with thick body panels.

The 78 model Padmini wasnt half as refined to drive as MYO 9450 the mint conditioned 71 model 11ooD. Actually prefer the feather light point and shoot steering of that 71 car to the NE 118 and even my Esteem especially for city drives...
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Old 25th May 2008, 17:52   #83
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Thanks for those rare Pics of the famous 118NE used for the publicity shots - I think it looks like the same one used on the Company supplied maintenance manual.

Remember seeing that second snap a few times before...Always thought the car looked so conventionally clean, solid and even its movement looked smooth - the stright body lines, the wy it softly bounced ofer undulations, it's business like similing countenance and pleasant looks - neither exciting nor repelling. As a kid to me this was the definitive car as kids would draw then with a rectangular bottom and similarily raked front and rear windscreen.

Only wish it didnt rattle so much on bad roads, it had at least Maruti levels of service efficiency and that the boot was easier to load with a lower loading lip...and the steering was a bit lighter.

Nice smooth staid car for comfy point A to B citytravel - for longer journeys I feel it could have done with more reassuring handling, slightly stiffer springs with better ground clearence and a more powerful powertrain.

Loved the horn and the bright headlights and the decent fan and AC in that cars that come with one. Apart from the comfort and the best gear shift action that i can remember in almost any car that i have driven - that includes modern German and Jap numbers too here in the UK.

Our 118 Ne was the '92 model between what what you posted Cyrus...

and what Gendarmee posted


It looks almost identical to Gendarmee's car except it had those well matched (design wise) grey 118 plastic wheel caps. Also it had chrome door handles andwindow garnishes which i prefer as it makes it look a bit more upmarket. I also preferred the Maruti 800 sourced bigger door mirrors mouned on larger plastic triangles (forgot what they are called) in the front door greenhouse where your red car had those swinging quarter panes. I got the B pillar and door frames painted black with a medium dark window suncontrol film. It looks good with a thin - about 5 mm red radium sticker framing the side glass house and the chrome garnish. Dont have a snap with me right now but will try and post it when i get back to India.

It did make the car look nice...

Last edited by Technocrat : 27th May 2008 at 12:46.
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Old 27th May 2008, 06:15   #84
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Oldtimer day in Ruinerwold (NL): 1969 Fiat 1100 R on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Is this a design transformation from what we know as a padmini to more like the 118??
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Old 27th May 2008, 09:41   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gendarmee View Post
Oldtimer day in Ruinerwold (NL): 1969 Fiat 1100 R on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Is this a design transformation from what we know as a padmini to more like the 118??
Yep! That's the Fiat 1100R. It was the model between the 1100D and the fiat 128.
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Old 27th May 2008, 12:01   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayD View Post
Yep! That's the Fiat 1100R. It was the model between the 1100D and the fiat 128.
But want FIAT 124, Car of the year, 1966?
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Old 27th May 2008, 12:29   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gendarmee View Post
But want FIAT 124, Car of the year, 1966?
The 124, from which the 118NE was derived, was launched as a replacement to the long line of the 1100 series, the last of which was the 1100R in 67.
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Old 27th May 2008, 13:36   #88
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*Wasn't
Not want as printed in my last post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
The 124, from which the 118NE was derived, was launched as a replacement to the long line of the 1100 series, the last of which was the 1100R in 67.
Thanks for the info, clears the doubts out.
I was wondering how a 1100 design made it too 1969 while the 124(which the 118 is based on) came out in '66.
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Old 27th May 2008, 14:23   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gendarmee View Post
Thanks for the info, clears the doubts out.
I was wondering how a 1100 design made it too 1969 while the 124(which the 118 is based on) came out in '66.
I dont think the 1100R reached 69. Production was only 66 and 67 I think.
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Old 27th May 2008, 14:33   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
I dont think the 1100R reached 69. Production was only 66 and 67 I think.
Its was the flickr photo i found which suggests that it was made in '69
But the 110R clearly suggests how the 1100 went from being curvy with tail fins to fairly flat'ish, starting with the roof, then the hood & boot.
The curvy ones were Dante Giacosa's , I wonder who designed these newer ones.

Last edited by gendarmee : 27th May 2008 at 14:37. Reason: Typo
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