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Old 15th March 2009, 13:48   #121
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Originally Posted by gendarmee View Post
118NE : Does the continuous blinking of the hand Brake light in the dash suggest something?

( the problem isn't with the wiring at the hand brake )
Guess it suggests that your brake fluid is low !
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Old 17th April 2009, 18:43   #122
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Dear Behram Sir,

I have a suggestion to make to you as well as fellow bhpians who patronise the FIATS/Premier's of bygone era!

In the interest of mankind, FIAT/Padmini owners and lesser mortals like us, can I suggest you to document/data mine the vast knowledge that you have regarding Premiers? Probably publish a book documenting the nittie gritties of the Padmini and other FIAT models? If you agree with my suggestion, fellow bhpians can contribute towards funding as wellas helping you out with other facets!

We need to definitely document this precious knowledge of yours in someway or the other. I also invite comments from the administrator's of this site as well as fellow menmebers please.

Regards,

Sandeep
New Delhi
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Old 17th April 2009, 23:10   #123
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Any idea on what is going on at the old PAL factory site now?

the factory at Kurla Mumbai, that land is purchased by a big politician as far as i know and there a big residential and shopping complex called Kohinoor City is being built.. its almost complete maybe might take 6 months to start functioning.


correct me if i am wrong
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Old 17th April 2009, 23:32   #124
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Is there a market in India where still most of Premier Padmini parts can be available ? Bombay with its huge fleet of Premier Padmini Taxis, and privately owned PPs would still be a good place to source spares, I assume a lot of Pps would still be running in Bombay ?
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Old 18th April 2009, 19:48   #125
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Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Is there a market in India where still most of Premier Padmini parts can be available ? Bombay with its huge fleet of Premier Padmini Taxis, and privately owned PPs would still be a good place to source spares, I assume a lot of Pps would still be running in Bombay ?
Mumbai, of course, considering there are 50,000+ Fiat taxis on road! You should check out the 'Post 1950' subforum for various restoration projects going on. However, due to the ban on 25+ year-old taxis, the Fiats are slowly disappearing but it still isn't a cause of immediate concern.
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Old 30th September 2009, 10:17   #126
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I would like to write here that this thread has taken me down memory lane to so back as in 1973 when on a college tour we visited PAL and got to see Premier President cars being manufactured out there. I still remember that some one told that the daily production capacity was for 93 cars. Mr Dhabar Behram may be able to correct if my memory is wrong.

I also remember vividly visiting API also where lambretta scooters were produced. In their canteen all glasses and plates were etched " stolen from API canteen" to prevent pilferage by the API staff.
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Old 30th September 2009, 18:21   #127
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I would also like to know from Mr. Dhabar Behram or Karl- Around how many President and Padmini cars' did PAL manufacture from '72 to '98? And, which month in 1998 did they stop manufacturing.
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Old 30th September 2009, 21:19   #128
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Originally Posted by directinjection View Post
I've had no interaction with PAL although I've travelled much in Fiat 1100/President/Padmini. As a kid I always preferred Ambassador over Fiat 1100. Please do write about your experiences with PAL since you've had a different kind of relationship with them.
In 1964 my dad wanted to buy FIAT and was arrogantly told by their dealer in mumbai to wait for 18 years as that is the waiting period,finally he booked a Ambassador Mark 2 and got delivery in 1 month time
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Old 30th September 2009, 22:04   #129
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Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Wow - all the responses are absolutely amazing. It makes for fantastic reading. Thank you.

As I worked there (read post 1 on page 1), I will share my experiences with you all. In all fairness, I will not mention any names.

My first day:
I joined on 01 April 1984 (all fools day) in R&D. R&D was divided into 2 main areas, design and testing. In design, there were 2 areas, PD and TS (Product Design and Technical Services). I was placed in the TS area, looking after transmission. I remember my first day - in the Padmini, the speedometer would not work as the drive in the transmission would slip off. This was a major problem as taxi meters would not operate as they were driven off the speedometer cable (they still do), so taxiwallahs would be up in arms. I was told to introduce a small button in the speedometer drive gear to provide a positive lock (see - we were doing what even FIAT of ITALY who designed this car did not know - Gangu Teli teaching Raja Bhoj - just kidding) but nobody analysed why the gear would slip in the first place. My job was clear - without questioning, I was to make the layout of how the button would work, make the drawings, get prototype parts made and get them tested (Aha - so now you know what we guys did in R&D back then). I was supposed to write letters to "all concerned" having coded designations like SREXICASS (Senior Executive Incharge After Sales Service), DDM (Design and Development Manager), PTM (Product Testing Manager), MVP (Manager Vehicle Proving), SVP (Superintendent Vehicle Proving) etc etc. and the mighty heavens would crush me if the seniority sequence was not followed to the tee. The funniest part was that I was supposed to mention all past references to this topic with the earliest reference put on top (the heavens would again ---- if I deviated). The content of the letter had to go like this without exception, otherwise the heavens ----- "Vide our letter ref 2 above, we had -----. Vide your letter ref 4 above, you have -----. Further to your reply, vide our letter ref 5 above, we had given our comments -----. My the then boss (no names) edited my complete letter and fired the hell out of me for not writing "vide our letter ref" etc etc.

Get the general idea ? Hold your horses. There's much more to come.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
Behram elder brother WHO IS A ENGINEER ha s a friend who was also an degree engineer in mechanical was in PAL in gear box dept in those days he is Mr. Prakash Chugani ,we are still family freind , he has a son who is a MBA now working in USA
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Old 14th October 2009, 02:13   #130
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Our last family Premier Padmini was ancient. MRG 3753. Form the late 60's.

My Grandpa was the Chaiman of MPSC & later VC of Nagpur University. So he used to get them through some special quota without the wait. Dad "Borrowed" it from him in the early 80's.

He used to drive close to 100,000 k every year. So he had a spare engine purchaed from Kurla market at home. Every few months, he would swap the engine and send the old one for a rebuild.

I still remember the dials on our Fiat. They were Round with Chrome trim. The key was in the centre of the Dash. Right in front of the passenger seat. As a kid, I would sit on the front seat in between Mom and Dad. One day, Dad slammed the brakes to avoid a pot-hole, sending me Lip first into the keys. 25 years later, I still have a slightly deformed and swollen Lower Lip. All thanks to the Padmini.

Dad dumped the car in '85 and got a Maruti Van & Car... He even used the Van to send the spare engine to the scrapyard!!!
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Old 26th March 2010, 19:07   #131
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Behramji, this thread rated 5 STARs by 22 people, is waiting for some more updates from you.

I am sure there is so much more for you to tell here.. About various parts of Padmini etc..

Some updates !
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Old 24th December 2010, 20:31   #132
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Default Re: The Premier Automobiles Ltd - The Remembrances Thread

Dear Mr. Dhabhar,

A fascinating and the most informative thread i have read in recent times.

Brings back very fond memories of my childhood, being dropped off to school in my Dad's business partner's old Duccar and later the 1100. We owned to two 2nd hand PPs, the first one being a 1964 make in popti green and the other a decent sky blue 1975 model.

I still have fond memories of pushing the cars when one would not start owing to the alternator malfunctioning and make the battery phuss the unique amp meter didn't always reflect what was happening with the electricals, we trusted our nose and eyes more. My dad always told me to be on the lookout for typical wire burning smell/smoke on long drives. Also another memorable event was once when driving on the Khandala/Lonavala pass we had to stop due to a truck accident on the road and my dad got this brilliant idea of using the hand break lying most unconveniently on the passenger side floor, wherein you could not pull one up without bending down, so me being all of 7 years of age and sitting proudly in the passenger seat decide to do the honour and lo and behold end up with the precious hand brake lever in my hand. Got royally told off by my dad that day and pulling the hand brake has never been the same again.

Thank god for the new Audi A4 and its electo-mechanical type hand brake system.

P.S - Sure you are a very busy person, but ever thought of penning your memoirs at PAL on paper, am sure it would be a bestseller with all of us as well non-net savvy lovers of PP.
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Old 7th April 2011, 12:03   #133
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Default Re: The Premier Automobiles Ltd - The Remembrances Thread

Dear all - in order to keep this thread active (sorry, work does not permit me to do it but I don't want it to die), as per recent queries raised by the users of 118NE cars on the forum, I'll use this thread to give complete answers.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

Dear Moderators - you may move this thread to appropriate section if found suitable.
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Old 9th April 2011, 14:17   #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by autobahner View Post
We owned to two 2nd hand PPs, the first one being a 1964 make in popti green and the other a decent sky blue 1975 model.
Sorry for the late reply to this post, but just came across this thread. Anyways, just wish to point out that there never was a PP (Premier Padmini) in 1964- it was then known as FIAT 1100 DELIGHT, it had just come out that year. And it remained in production with that name, with minor changes, until 1972. Then in 1973, the name was first changed to PREMIER PRESIDENT, the first 'indianised' version of Fiat, then a year later to PADMINI. So your 1975 car may have indeed been a PP.

Anyways, glad that Behram had started this thread- makes for very interesting reading indeed to rear about different people's experiences with PAL Fiats, notwithstanding the shortcomings of the co./dealerships.

Regrettably, I have not much to contribute here from the old days as we (my father) never owned a Fiat even though he certainly was fond of them! Firstly, he couldnt afford them atleast initially. Secondly, he didnt really approve of the steering gear, citing some medical reasons (he was basically a doc) related to shoulder pain etc.! IMHO, had he actually ever driven a Fiat, he might've found it otherwise.
I remember him telling me of a time around the 70s when the Fiat/PP of the time was known as "ladies fiat" for some reason! But none else I asked seems to remember this! Maybe Behram sir could clarify?
As a kid, I always hoped that when/if we changed our car (we had a 1974 Standard Gazel for years back then), we'd go for a fiat only. Incidentally, I remember I was familiar only with the Padmini then, not with the names of the older versions like the 1100 delight, President etc. although I certainly wouldve seen them too! Its another story how I got to know the name '1100 D!'

Anyways, at one point, back in 1994, my dad surprisingly did agree to buy a PP. I was in 8th standard then, and there was this 1990 model PP in "railway blue" (as I call it!- M800s and Vans of late '80s too came in this colour)...'think it was a Deluxe BE, I remember it did have an AC though! 'twas owned by our family friends here, who were also ex-colleagues of my parents, and I remember having had a ride in this car when it was brand new in 1990! I remember noticing for the first time the lack of front quarterglasses! I did like it, although not much the colour. That couple were retiring from service here but were migrating to the US thereafter. At the time, my dad was contemplating buying a newer, reliable car to replace our 1974 Standard Gazel. I insisted on fiat as I hated (and still do hate) the 'new' M800, which was the main new car available then.

So those ppl. initially agreed to sell their PP to us, but only when they were finally leaving from here as they needed the car until then.

However, my mom and I used to visit them at their quarters in between and one fine day, the lady gave us the disappointing news that they couldnt sell their car to us as her brother, who'd just retired from the Army had just moved to Hyd. then and he didnt have a car at the time, so I guess 'sisterly love' (or money!) prevailed then and she promised him the car instead!

I remember being very upset at the news back then! My dad could've found a good 2nd hand Fiat/PP easily back then. But he had a theory never to buy a 2nd hand car from anyone other than those known to him. Else go for a brand new car. And he finally went in.......for a brand new M800!! Much to my disliking!

To this day, I wonder why/how then, he couldnt have as well gone for a brand new PP!! In any case, he bought the 800 on a car loan!

And the floor-gear S1 was introduced just the following year (1995) so even if he didnt have a floor-gear Fiat yet, he couldve had it converted a year later!

After I grew into an adult, I myself did go through quite a few fiats though, between 2006 and '08- all 1100s except for one, a white 1989 Padmini 'Standard' model (I think- it had reverse lights but no "DELUXE BE" etc. badges), which incidentally wasnt mine but a neighbour's! Although I had recommended this car to him. He never really used the car so let me use it instead, and use it I did- extensively! for nearly 6 months. He finally took it back one day and eventually sold it to a dealer. It was a good car, ran very smooth and seldom gave trouble. Interior also was very comfy and neat, with the original tan/black upholstery intact under faded tie-on cloth covers (which I took off and later used as mopping rags!)

But I did notice that bodily/cosmetically this model was quite different in standards, being a bit lower in quality than the older fiats/PPs I'd known. Being a classic car guy, this was my first experience with a fiat that had 'non-classic' fittings, viz. the black-face meter console with green needles and markings, plastic steering wheel with 3-4 spokes, etc. And never had any dealership-related experience as the cars having gone obsolete by this time, there never were any original dealers to take it to! Hehe!

I also do remember feeling sad about PAL shutting down operations around a decade ago ('99), only because I heard stories of how people were then going to dump fiats as they had no more chance of OE spares, and that the govt. was planning to scrap the PP taxis in B'bay. Speaking of which- I always wanted to have a ride in one of those...but so far hardly been on any trips to B'bay in the recent past. I did get to ride in an old PP taxi once during a visit to Madras though, back in 1993. This I made my father agree to by fighting tooth & nail with him on the spot (he had first intended to take an Amby taxi!) outside the hotel where we stayed! That PP was the only Fiat taxi at that stand and, much to the driver's delight, we ended up hiring it for the rest of the day as we went around visiting relatives etc.

All in all, I've had a brief but likeable experience with PAL fiats, although my only regret is that we didnt have them in our family when I was growing up, especially that '90 model we missed buying in 1994, which made my father go for a M-------!! I might've had more to share otherwise.

Last edited by Stanher : 9th April 2011 at 14:20.
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Old 11th April 2011, 10:28   #135
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Default Re: The Premier Automobiles Ltd - The Remembrances Thread

Stanher nice note.

I don't know if it has been mentioned on this thread earlier, but the plot on which the Premier Factory (at Ghatkopar-Kurla off LBS) was present had been sold out a few years back and now it has been built over and there is now a nice residential complex on the same place, pretty much wiping off all traces of that bit of our history.

I guess Fiat 1100's and PP will always be a part of all of us auto enthusiasts for the next many years. The kids today will not be able to appreciate it much but the legacy through us will live on till the 2050-60 decade. Don't know how the cars would be then.
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