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Old 18th October 2005, 15:54   #1
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Thumbs down Dolphin, Montana, Rover Montego...

Guys
We are all talking about the mordern cars in India…Just curious about the older cars which died out without making a mark in the Indian auto industry....Any one has more details / pictures / specs, pls comment...To list out a few...

Badal - made by reliant auto and later on sipani.... it was a 3 wheeled car and had a very strange shape.. I still remember seeing this in kerala roads when i was a kid. saw a junked one in a workshop in my native village, but unfortunately didnt have a camera that time...

Dolphin - heard that this little 2 door beauty was a good performer with the 800cc reliant kitten engine. looked cute.. but the fiberglass body, only 2 doors & the launch of revolutionary maruti 800 killed this little thing

Montana. Again a piece of **** from sipani. my neighbor had one. The fit and finish of the car was intolerable. The doors just slammed and got a feeling that it will break off soon...the full area was covered with black smoke when the diesel motor started and sounded like an old Govt passenger boat.

Sipani D1. Looked pretty modern for the age (copied from daihatsu charade i think)..was always searching the newspapers those days for the frequent ads they were giving. but this also didnt last and faded out soon as the marutis had already made a mark by this time.

Rover Montego saloon and estate - Again from Sipani. assembled in India. luxury car with all facilities, one of the first of its kind to hit Indian roads. But they say due to some unforeseen custom problems the import taxes were too high and so was the prices (almost 12 times that of a maruti 800). no service network also led to this car's failure.

Standard 2000 - termed as the symbol of richness and luxury those times.. but a very pathetic engine and gearbox lead to its way out...One of my relative took this one in the early 90's for 125000, plonked an allwyn nissan diesel engine, with lot of mods. However the car spent more time at workshop than his garage. Went to kodaikanal immediately after the mods, but had to return back soon cos the car didnt climb the hill... was ultimately sold for a mere 35k later..


Anybody having some pictures / further details of these cars – comments awaited!!!!
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Old 18th October 2005, 16:42   #2
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Dolphin Data:

Engine
Number Of Cylinders 4 In Line
Bore Of Cylinders 62.50 mm (2.46")
Stoke Of Cylinders 69.09 mm (2.72")
Cubic Capacity 848 cc (51.77 in3)

Performance Data
Brake Horse Power (Max) 41.00 At 5,500 rpm
Torque (Max) 6.36 Kg.m (46 Lb Ft) At 3,500 rpm

Fuel System
Carburettor Emission Controlled SU Type HS2 11/4 in

Gearbox
Four Forward Speeds And Reverse. Synchromesh On All Forward Gears

Rear Axle
Type Spiral Bevel Gear, Semi Floating

Brakes
Lockhead Hydraulically Operated Internal Expanding To All Wheels

Suspension
Front Reliant Independent - Wishbones, Coil Springs, Damper, Anti Roll Bar
Rear Reliant Progressive Rate Leaf Springs, Telescopic Damper Units

Steering
Type Rack And Pinion
Turning Circle 7.32 m (24.0 Ft)

Chassis
Box Section With Tubular Cross Members
Wheelbase 2148 mm (84.5 in )
Track Front And Rear 1244.6 mm (49.0 in )
Ground Clearance ( Laden) 127 mm ( 5.0 in )

Wheels And Tyres
Road Wheels Saloon / Estate Van
Tyres Size 350B x 10 350B x 10
145 x 10 520 x 10
Type Radials Crossply


Kerb Weight 533 Kg (1175 Lbs)

Maximum Vehical Weights
Gross Laden Weight - 862 Kg (1900 Lbs)
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Old 18th October 2005, 17:12   #3
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Sipani D1 Review/Sob Story:

Generic Press Photo, my car looked nothing like this


My first car ever was a Sipani D1- it was in decrepit condition when I bought it. Originally came with an Autoland 1500cc Diesel engine mated to the Dolphin gearbox (thankfully I bought it without these jewels). The body style was superb and it had an "edgy tension" to it, & even today I admire the shape of the car. The suspension was similar to the Dolphin but used a reinforced axle in the back with M800 brakes (disc/drum combo) all around.

The chassis is the worst piece of engineering I have ever seen in my life, being an ill-strengthened (maybe even weaker in places) version of the Dolphin & was widened by ~4" in front and ~6" in the back.But as it turned out, not strengthened enough because I later found out that the chassis had broken umpteen number of times due to the vibration of the diesel engine. Of course, the owner neglected to tell me that.

We painstakingly put in a Fiat 1100D engine, again mated painstakingly to a 118NE gearbox.I compromised on everything else happening in my life at the time to bring this car on the road, spending at times 14 hours a day in the garage, and limited only by my mechanic friend who naturally wanted to go home.

Due to the somewhat light weight of the car (700 kg, and it was nearly as big as an Esteem w/o the boot) it was nippy and fun to drive. We had custom-built a side-exit exhaust for it which sounded like nothing else on the road. But one day the inevitable happened and the chassis broke. I had driven the car for a total of 20 km in all. I am lucky I didn't spend any money on the interior/paint etc.

The car taught me, the hard way, many important things in life:

1) NEVER let your heart rule your head. Emotion has no place in engineering.

2) What looks good is not necessarily good & 90% of the time it isn't.

3) NEVER devote time, money & energy to a project unless you are 110% sure that the outcome will be something worthwile.

I owe a piece of what (-ever little) I am today to this car, even though it was a piece of junk. The car was scrapped for the princely sum of Rs.1500 after countless hours of pondering over how to rectify the chassis.

Last edited by ananthkamath : 18th October 2005 at 17:13.
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Old 18th October 2005, 17:24   #4
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Hey guys you forgot the Standard Gazelle! They sold quite a few in the 70s.
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Old 18th October 2005, 18:38   #5
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I think Sipani's efforts to graduate from an automobile dealer to a manufacturer has caused a lot of people to shed their hard earned rupees...pity about that, because the intention was good even if the execution wasnt.

@Catamaran - the Badal was always made by Sipani in India. Reliant is the British company which sold the original car (and sold upgraded versions till as recently as 1999) as the Reliant Kitten. The Montana was just a 4-doored version of the Dolphin (which was a good car because it was mostly imported) with a diesel engine borrowed from the Mitsubishi Mini-tractor sold in India by VST Tractors and Tillers (also Bangalore based).

The D1 was part of his grand plan to become a big automaker (the Dolphin was severely effected by the production quotas put in place by the government to protect Maruti - it was a better car but they just werent allowed to produce enough). He 'acquired' Autoland - which was partly owned by the UP State government - at a low cost so that he could get an alternate motor for his cars. He made fibreglass moulds of the Daihatsu Charade to create the D1.

As Ananth tells us, the effort wasnt worth it. There is a D1 that runs to this day in Cochin, though - owned by a Doc who refuses to sell it.
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Old 18th October 2005, 21:39   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ananthkamath
1) NEVER let your heart rule your head. Emotion has no place in engineering.

2) What looks good is not necessarily good & 90% of the time it isn't.

3) NEVER devote time, money & energy to a project unless you are 110% sure that the outcome will be something worthwile.
so very true. the thing that i have learnt, thankfully, the easy way; i used to ponder about heavy modifications, not so long ago- inspired from the drag meets, and from the world around me; but then, realisation dawned on me - 10 second cars are not easily made, and certainly not easily maintained. which means, that you have to keep a seperate car for all the "mods", besides your regular cars, and more often than not, the 10-second car in question spends 90% of it's life in the workshop, 9% in the garage, and 1% on the road...

the point being; what ananth said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ananthkamath
Dolphin Data:
.....
holy cow...you sure know a lot about the dolphin- do you still have it's brochure or W.S. manual...?? if you do, would love to see a pic or something...

erm...although not quite in the same era, do the impalas and heralds count, since they were sold here too...??
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Old 18th October 2005, 21:55   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
...pity about that, because the intention was good even if the execution wasnt.
.
Rubbish, the Sipani's are one of the biggest con artists around. Cut corners everywhere. When you see their Montego"assembly plant" was a converted chicken farm with not even an approach road - you'll ralise that there is nothing long term about them. An unknown fact - Subaru signed up with them but during due diligence, ran far away! Sipani's got a free Subaru station wagon out of it.
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Old 18th October 2005, 22:45   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veyron1
the point being; what ananth said...


holy cow...you sure know a lot about the dolphin- do you still have it's brochure or W.S. manual...?? if you do, would love to see a pic or something...
Didnt you see the pic of his powder-blue Dolphin in mint condition??? If he's gotta maintain it like THAT, he sure knows a few things about cars.
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Old 19th October 2005, 00:10   #9
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My grandfather used to have an AUstin. Wonder how it looked. Never seen1.

Ps:- you can have a look at the old Indian cars at Hari's motor world. google and you will find it.
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Old 19th October 2005, 10:11   #10
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My 1st car was a Standard 10. But that was a different era.
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Old 19th October 2005, 10:27   #11
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That's a lot of info on dolphin ananth kamath, How much you paid for the sipani D1??

Ive heard that the dolphin was costing more than a maruti 800 those days and there were some very lucky guys who took dolphin instead of an 800....

Also missed out the standard gazelle / herald here.. My school teacher had one and we always laughed within ourselves everytime it made starting troubles. I liked the shape of this car... specially those top less ones....was there a standard convertibles coming from the factory or people were modding it??/

Brochure of Sipani's montego is available from this link
http://www.austin-rover.co.uk/index....panimontef.htm. it came with a 2litre turbocharged diesel engine and the interiors looks classy for those times....
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Old 19th October 2005, 10:39   #12
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Pics & review of my Dolphin coming soon....

Catamaran, I paid 5k for the Sipani...thats 3k too much when seen in hindsight.



In the meantime you guys can take a look at a trike we built in college using Dolphin suspension at the front: Lemme know what you think of it


Last edited by ananthkamath : 19th October 2005 at 10:57.
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Old 19th October 2005, 10:46   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catamaran
Ive heard that the dolphin was costing more than a maruti 800 those days and there were some very lucky guys who took dolphin instead of an 800....
Yes. In 1983, the Maruti non-AC model was priced at INR 35,000, Dolphin at INR 80,000 and the Yamaha RD350 at INR 32,000. Correct me if its wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
I think Sipani's efforts to graduate from an automobile dealer to a manufacturer has caused a lot of people to shed their hard earned rupees...
A couple of weeks back the Malayala Manorama carried an article about a man who bought a 3-wheeler from Sipani. The said vehicle was a minidor/Ape-like avtar, whose best engineering feature was it will engage the reverse gear sometimes instead of second and third. Parts were falling off at random even before the odo reached 500 kms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat
Rubbish, the Sipani's are one of the biggest con artists around. Cut corners everywhere.
The above-said man obtained a court order directing for compensation. But the Karnataka Police repeatedly replied that the company, Sipani, is not existing and cannot be located.

The company is still reachable by phone, and they abuse anyone who mentions about the compensations/ warranty etc.
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Old 19th October 2005, 12:43   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ananthkamath
In the meantime you guys can take a look at a trike we built in college using Dolphin suspension at the front: Lemme know what you think of it
that's nice- 2 things...

a) is that powered by a jawa engine..?
b) which one of those fellas are you...??

Quote:
Originally Posted by steeroid
Didnt you see the pic of his powder-blue Dolphin in mint condition??? If he's gotta maintain it like THAT, he sure knows a few things about cars.
erm...although i missed out on the pics, he definitely DOES know a lot about cars...but i was asking about the detailed info on the dolphin, as to where he got it from; but now that you mentioned that he has one, forget what i said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by navinji
My 1st car was a Standard 10. But that was a different era.
navinji, wasn't that the earliest amby-looker..? pics, if any, and details, please...

Last edited by veyron1 : 19th October 2005 at 12:47.
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Old 19th October 2005, 12:46   #15
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1) Yeah it is powered by a Jawa 250.

2) None of those guys is me...all friends in college checking out the latest creation from the resident Psycho....
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