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Old 21st April 2004, 12:54   #1
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Went by to my regular workshop to pick up my Esteem from a tune-up...and guess what I see? Why, our very own Indian Caterham aka the Chinkara.

The Chinkara looks really imposing in real life, with its really long hood and open wheel racing kinda look. There are not too many details around the car and the word "simple" would be the best way to sum it up. For those who are unaware of its powerplant, it uses the Contessa's 1.8 liter Isuzu engine mated to a 5 speed gearbox and is capable of transfering 90 bhp to the tarmac.

The first thing that struck me when I saw the Chinkara lying there was "Hey Now this is San Storms direct competition." Both are supposedly India's first sporty cars, are positioned toward open-top motoring, two door and priced around 6.5 lacs.

The Chinkara is leagues ahead of the San storm for the simple reason that the manufacturer has not focused on incoporating a dashboard, console, rag top, power windows and all that jazz. The Chinkara is an extremely basic vehicle, and all the better for it. When you are a small (read microscopic) automobile manufacturer, it is much easier to reach acceptable levels of quality with a simple and uncomplicated design.

There really is no dashboard to speak of, but the meters are just bolted onto the front panel. The carpeting all through the car was very well-fitted and tight. Seats looked to be of pretty decent quality. I especially liked the way that the combination switches and the steering were mounted on the column. It reeked of high quality work.

The body finish was nothing to write home about, and lustre was totally lacking on what appeared to be a brand new car. There was a body crack near the wiper mountings too. *But still, the build quality overall is light years ahead of the pathetic San Storm which me and Dippy had experienced a week back. I hate the alloy wheels, and would much prefer a 5 spoke pattern on this breed of cars.

This is one car that really got me excited and just the combination of my favorite Indian engine with a go-kart like vehicle sold me out. 90 horsepower in a car that should weigh about 700 kgs sounds like an awesome proposition, and the Contessa always had pretty decent gearing. I have my doubts on the suspension since it is sourced from a Maruti 800. Butttttttttttttttt no test-drive. Period.

Man, I really ought to get a digi-cam soon.

GTO
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Old 21st April 2004, 13:12   #2
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Hey GTO great stuff man . Excellent description of the Chinkara. I guess those small gremlins you mentioned are normally seen in cars as quality control isnt the top priority but its nice to note that its way way better than the pathetic San we drove last week. It should definately be fun to drive with that Isuzu powerplant under the hood. Even this car has parts taken from other cars like the German dude ( I dont rem his name) who makes them mentioned. Also the car would look great with better alloys as you said.

Did the seats have four point seat belts?

I hope we can get a test drive of this car. I guess it should be more fun that the San. Any idea how we can get this done pal?

Cheers
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Old 21st April 2004, 13:24   #3
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Here is the link to a Chinkara Review by Autocarindia.

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Old 21st April 2004, 17:31   #4
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I recently read in one of the mags that the Chinkara can be got in the MPFi form too.

Two stages of tune are on offer, stage one develops 96ps and stage two develops 118ps. Stage 2 tweaks include a free flow xhaust, ported and polished cylinder heads, revised camshafts (machined by specialists in England) and stronger valve springs.

Revisions have been made to the suspenssion with longer travel dampers at the rear and softer springs front and rear.

It's design and low center of gravity should make it the fastest and the most fun to drive "Indian" car.

Regards...
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Old 7th May 2004, 01:07   #5
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Dudes,

Heres some updates from a very very reliable source.

1. Gautam Singhania is PISSED OFF with Chinkara for selling him a sub-standard car. This despite the fact that he had some kinda business arrangement with Chinkara (Vijay Mallya with San Storm, Raymonds on Chinkara type)

2. Do you know what chassis the Chinkara uses? The STANDARD HERALDS!!! Thats a freaking 4 decade old economy design. Can you just imagine the limitations it would have in terms of handling the power and going around corners!!

3. The front suspension is a stock Maruti 800's while the rear suspension is a modified one from all kinds of Indian cars.

4. Brand new Chinkaras have been surfacing in the market with missing parts...either from the suspension or the engine. Just heard about one where the oxygen sensors were not even installed, and some plugs/connections came off before delivery!!

5. The guy behind this Chinkara project has some exemplary experience in fiberglass motorboats BUT no experience at all with cars. Apparently the build quality is so pathetic that the car falls apart before you run the engine in.

6. The brake pedal on this supposedly Indian sportscar is more like the accelerator - You press it with all your might and the car still keeps moving

I am really disappointed coz this was one car I was really impressed with, at least on the outside. I like the looks and love the concept. But the Chinkara fails...Its poorly built, its dead slow and even a Zen will outhandle it in slow or fast corners alike.

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Old 7th May 2004, 01:25   #6
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i've always been a fan of lightweight cars from caterham and lotus. on seeing pix of the chinkara, i'd really appreciated the mindset of the guy who made our own desi version of the caterham. these cars are built solely for the purpose of having fun, and nothing more. but like gto said, if it fails to deliver, then the whole plot is lost. if only the manufacturer can get the gremlins fixed, then just imagine what a 200hp engine, along with fine handling characteristics can do to this baby!!
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Old 7th May 2004, 13:49   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] (GTO @ May 06 2004,23:37)]6. The brake pedal on this supposedly Indian sportscar is more like the accelerator - You press it with all your might and the car still keeps moving
yeah, this surely explains the manufacturer's prior experience with boats huh GTO ...to put it in simple words, the car handles like a boat in water
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Old 5th September 2004, 18:01   #8
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Hey how much does it cost and who do u contact for it???
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Old 6th September 2004, 19:33   #9
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hey guys i had visited the workshop of chinkara motors 2 weeks back . it is near alibaug . his name is guido and he is a specialist in motor boats but he also designs cars and quad bikes . my friend wanted to buy a quad bike so we had been there . i saw the same car but it was green in color and was for his personal use . it had good huge tyres with the typical jeep white colored wheels , red recardo seats and a momo steering wheel . the car looked to be very heavy . the quadd bike is 165cc 5 gear he is asking 200k and for a 135cc automatic 185k , both are 2 seaters . we have to get it registered frm pen . and he couldnt confirm about the mumbai registration .



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Old 15th September 2004, 03:43   #10
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Worse...The Chinkara design has been Copied....

See the bottom of this page.
http://www.gt-classics.com/photos.html

Cya.
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Old 7th June 2005, 20:24   #11
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Default Chinkara?

Anyone here has driven one? It seems intereesting.

www.chinkaramotors.com
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Old 7th June 2005, 20:38   #12
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I had read about the jeepster in the news sometime back.. It looks like an interesting prospect..

Manish.
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Old 7th June 2005, 20:50   #13
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Well, if you can get from 0-100 in 7.6 secs for 6.7 lakhs, why not? And there was news that they'd be launching an even more powerful version which will be capable of hitting 100 in less than 7 secs.

RWD means it'll handle well and boy do these cars have some serious camber.


Build quality used to be an issue, lets hope they've improved on that.

Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 7th June 2005 at 21:01.
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Old 7th June 2005, 20:53   #14
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Well read this here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/showth...light=Chinkara

The test drive by our admin. His experience in those few words should awaken anyone's senses before he/she puts down his 7 lakhs for it.

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Old 7th June 2005, 20:55   #15
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NOTE - Both Chinkara threads have been merged.

Shan2nu
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