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Old 16th July 2009, 15:41   #1
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Default From 8 cylinders to 800cc and beyond : A Pune newbie

It is time to be fair and introduce myself. Even if it is after having added my two bits to a few threads. And now two bits about my 35 years of driving

My first attraction was to GM, during my student days in the US. Unfortunately, could only afford a 10 year old transportation Chevy II (but was thrilled with the auto transmission). My first job was in Kuwait in 1976. where I made full use of cheap petrol to drive my 8 cylinder dream cars. My company being, among other things, the distributor of GM helped. So the first car was a fully loaded Pontiac ventura 2 Door vinyl top. This I bought. As i ascended the corporate ladder, a GM car was a perk and I went through an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and a couple of Pontiac Parisiennes. Ride quality, power, comfort, road presence of the GM cars of the mid 70s-early 80s was unmatched. Once I decided that I was returning to India, I decided to move from 8 cylider cars to a 6 cylinder Buick Skylark, which was also a beauty. The intention was to import this under transfer of residence. However, wiser counsel prevailed and I sold it before returning to Bharat.

Meanwhile I had booked a Maruti 800 Dx ( yes deluxe, it had airconditioning and better seat covers) under an NRI priority scheme. The premium on a non-deluxe was about Rs 40K, and I assumed I would make a killing on the Dx to part finance my import of the Buick. Well I decided against the import and the premium (by Feb 85) had vanished. And the 800DX became the family ride for 16 years. If the Linea is "admiration guaranteed" today, so was the 800 when I got it. And mine was among the first few Dx cars in Pune. Had to go to Mumbai for the first couple of services!. Sold it regretfully when my garage threatened not to service it any longer. The 130K on the odo included several memorable trips to Mahableshwar, Goa, Alibag and Lonavla, 2 adults and 3 kids on board. Accessories were not reverse sensors but a carrier and nylon rope for the longer trips. As a second car have been through Padmini , Omni( loved driving that, sold under pressure-unsafe; great drive Pune-Bangalore-Mysore-Ooty), another 800 and the Tata Indica Diesel, when it was first launched (great space, great ac, and I must add like a good Indian, great mileage). But 4 years into the Indica and the diesel engine was louder than ever, the oil leaks had started, and I thought it was time to move on. Had a look at my first preference: GM. The Astra was outside my budget, The Corsa did not impress and the Chevys had not yet been launched. Not to mention the dealership experience.

After TDing the Ikon, Corsa, and Accent, one fine Sunday afternoon was passing by the Fiat dealer and thought I would casually check out the "new" Siena. The vehicle was a black 1.6, with a lot of goodies. Took a test drive and I was sold. Did not let the salesman know that I was in love, and said there was no way I was buying a car that would brand me as insane. A week later, I collected my Black Sienna 1.6, with 50K in discounts/freebies. GM was forgotten as my love for the Siena grew. Superb ride, great handling, even greater power ( but that was a bonus), very acceptable FE and decent A** . Hinduism preaches do not get too attached to material objects. I have had one bad accident, and it was with the Siena. Thanks to the build, I escaped with superficial injuries. The car was totalled by the insurance companies, as Fiat would not sell just the engine mountings and insisted the entire engine block had to be replaced.

After that episode, and having answered questions like "why Indica" and "why Siena" over a million times, I decided to go mainstream. I did test drive the Aveo, Fiesta, and the Accent Viva, before succumbing to the "H" badge. I know I have the approval of a large section of my countrymen. My NHC has served me well for 3 years: reliable, "mileage", decent A**, and good "resale". I think it is time to exploit the last factor. I will save the reasoning for a different thread.

Meanwhile, may I add myself to the tribe of BHPians and Pune BHPians in particular. Great to be here
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Old 16th July 2009, 22:14   #2
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Wow, finally you did write about yourself.
I am sure, very few people would have the experience of driving 8 cylinder, down to three cylinders.
I too am partial to M800. Only yesterday during our evening walk with colleagues we were sharing our soft feelings about cute cars like M800 (two of my colleagues purchased in the very second lot), even herald (one colleague had it) and of course beetle.
I think M800 has a lot of life and with a bit of upgrade will serve as a good beginning in the motoring career.
Many Indians like me still are indulgent about the Tata cars & SUV's, despite the quality issues. My brother at Bangalore had to sell off the Sumo after just 18 months of ownership. My close friend had continuous problems with Indica Diesel (early batch). Hope Vista will not disappoint us (I was almost bying it- only the garage space was a problem).
Hope to hear more about the ANHC and Siena.
Thanks for the PM. When I visit Pune, I might PM you for a tete-a tete.
Cheers
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Old 17th July 2009, 14:06   #3
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Sure look forward to seeing you in Pune. I have the NHC, not the ANHC as per Team Bhp. language. The Siena is the one I was partial to.

When I had the allotment letter for the Maruti 800, a lot of people discouraged me from buying an 800cc 3 cylinder Engine which would not be able to climb the Ghats. I saw an 800 with Delhi number plates at Pune station. I asked the Sardar owner whether he had driven down from Delhi. He described his journey to me in very colourful Punjabi ( which cannot be repeated here) and the disdain with which his 800 had treated the Ambys and Padminis along the way, including all the Ghats he encountered, 4 passengers and a carrier not withstanding. And that is how my decision was made to buy one. Not that there were too many options in 85
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Old 21st July 2009, 14:25   #4
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My god thats a lot to read but Thats wild hey if ur from pune lets meet u
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Old 21st July 2009, 15:29   #5
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hey pragmites, welcome aboard and i must say, thats one nicely written intro.

and +1 to your love for the 800...my 17 year old one still is the most fun car that i have driven and i cant dream of parting with her
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Old 21st July 2009, 15:39   #6
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Pragmites,

Welcome to TBHP . Pune seems to be getting its fair share of TBHPians. That was a roller coaster ride in cars. Pontiac to M800 to Siena . Looking forward hearing from you in various forums and in person if there is any TBHP Pune meet.

Vikrant
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Old 21st July 2009, 15:40   #7
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Welcome to Team-Bhp Pragmites

Thats a lovely Intro & its nice to have you here.

Please do visit our board rules Section.

Also keep checking The Meet section for any Pune Meets, Have a pleasant stay
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Old 21st July 2009, 16:29   #8
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Very nicely told introduction!!too much to read.
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Old 21st July 2009, 20:27   #9
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Thanks all for the great welcome. Will keep it short in future.
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Old 21st July 2009, 20:52   #10
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Nothing wrong with the length, some of us still are ok with reading things that are longer than soundbites. Welcome!
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Old 21st July 2009, 21:22   #11
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Welcome to the forum, Pragmites! Good to meet a fellow Fiat owner, albeit erstwhile :-)

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 21st July 2009, 21:24   #12
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Welcome aboard Pragmites. Team bhp is like mecca to an auto enthusiast.

I recall similar stories about the maruti when it was first launched till we ended up towing our broken down 81 Ambassador with our 86 M800.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
Very nicely told introduction!!
Too little to read !!
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Old 21st July 2009, 21:33   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by comfortablynumb View Post
Welcome to the forum, Pragmites! Good to meet a fellow Fiat owner, albeit erstwhile :-)

Cheers,
Vikram
Thanks Vikram,
Erstwhile Fiat owner true, but the prodigal returns within a week
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Old 21st July 2009, 21:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Welcome aboard Pragmites. Team bhp is like mecca to an auto enthusiast.

I recall similar stories about the maruti when it was first launched till we ended up towing our broken down 81 Ambassador with our 86 M800.


Too little to read !!
I have towed my Padmini with my even smaller 85 M800
Too little to read? I am just getting warmed up
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