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Old 3rd December 2009, 01:22   #1
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Default Car fanatic from Chennai/Chicago

Hello Fellow Petrol/Diesel heads,

I introduce myself as GVR, based out of Chennai, residing in the US for a while now. Im 28, interested in F1, metal, cars and when not driving cars in real life, I drive them in my Xbox 360. I've been following team-bhp closely as a 'Read only' person for a bit. My passion for automobiles started when I was a kid. I used to constantly go missing from my parents at exhibitions and trade shows that had a Car exhibit. Though it is mildly irrelevant now, the first car that captivated me was the Standard 2000, that was displayed at a Trade show. It was red, gleaming and rotating slowly on a circular plinth. I was a kid and to me, it was as imposing as a 300 foot yacht.

My father is a big car lover himself and has always owned at least one car for as far as I can recall. He had a Chevrolet Deluxe, before I was born. Apparently it went straight to a Date merchant (Perichambazham in Tamil).

The first car we had (as I recall), was a 1964 HM Ambassador. It rolled out of our garage once, even though it was in gear, hit a wall and ended up breaking the wall. I started driving it even when my feet didn't reach the pedals (sitting on my Dads lap of course).

The next one was a Pista Green Maruti Onni Van that had at least two Odo cycles of 100k Km. Dad bought it for 70K new, sold for 95K! Dont ask me how! I loved this car, since I learnt most of my on-road driving on it and would keep the 'sliding doors' open sometimes on long drives. Oh, and you could close the sliding doors just by braking, which was pure awesomeness.

Along with the Omni, we had 2 white Maruti 800s. I learnt the 'wheelspin' on these. So much that I would drive my drivers mad. They would complain of course and I would deny. I took these to tuitions and refused to let the driver do his job. I'd drive all the time. Licenseless. Not that I recommend it to kids these days. Traffic 13 years ago, was literally non existent compared to today.

We also bought a White, 1995 Premier 118 NE. My most favorite car. So much, that we still own it. I still have my driver start it up every day and keep it in running condition. Even when I'm not in India, I call and verify. The odo stopped at 34K Km, in '98. My dad gave me this car as my own. I personally feel, the bucket seats on the NE, is yet to be bettered. It also has the silkiest 4 speed gear box ever made (One of my recent cars, a manual Audi, reminded me of this gearbox). I see some cars these days, where I have to man handle the shifter just to get into first. And the ratios, just perfect. Doesnt make you feel like first gear was like half gear.

Then, it was a Fiat Uno, which got us addicted to Diesels. In my opinion, driving diesels, especially on highways, is an art. You are required to brake less, and keep the torque up. I never got mentally attached to the Uno though, but do remember that I had a 360degree spinout doing high speed on the East coast road near chennai. Company car. Returned. No attachment.

Tata Sumo. Was a company car that my Dad brought home at times. We took one of these out on a long drive and I was fascinated with its gearing (Reverse was where first was supposed to be). I liked the engine too. It was the first SUV/MUV I ever drove. I remember, this Sumo was parked up an incline in Kodaikanal. Stones under the tires, hand brake and in gear. It still rolled down, hit a rock and cracked the radiator. Nothing happened to the head lamps though.

Undergrad in India. Motorcycles were a no-no. Chipped in with a few friends and bought a Yamaha Rx100 while at hostel. I've done more wheelies in this bike than calories I've burnt on a treadmill. Ever. I have no clue what happened to this bike.

I left to the states to study and experienced a different breed of cars/roads. V6's were commonplace and at least 2 liters. Big cars felt small. You could rent any car. I had my fill. I started working and my job required me to be at a different city every other day. I had to rent cars and have sampled every car that you could rent. Hummers, Cadillacs, Fords, GMs, Pontiacs, Buicks, Chryslers. You name it, I've driven it.

My friend had a Jetta in Chicago. I'd take it downtown and drive it like an Auto rickshaw. Very maneuverable and controllable. The VR6 that is.

When I started working, I was in Lincoln, Nebraska. A small town with no public transport and winters which would bury cars under snow. I needed a car bad, and bought a 1988 Honda Accord for $800. It had pop up head lamps. The only reason why I got it. An old woman in a buick rear ended me at a red light and her insurance company told me it would cost $950 to replace the cars rear quarter panel. I asked them to write me a cheque, went to an Audi dealer and traded it in.

I got a Black 2000 Audi A4, Turbocharged, All wheel Drive Quattro. I love this car. I've recently sold it to a friend (who needed a car badly), under the condition that he sells it back to me. It has a silky smooth manual, decent power, Cold weather package, Premium package and a sneaker like feeling. When you sit in it, everything feels perfect and in place. Audi has spoiled me so much, that no other car interior impresses me anymore. I loaded 6 people in this car once and hit a bump on the road. Power steering stopped working and I quickly found that I had to throttle in order to turn the steering. I still drove 2 hours, with the 6 people onboard from DC to Richmond. Told them once we reached. They didnt like the fact that I drove with a non-turning car very much and dont ride with me a lot these days.
Ive driven it all over. From nonstop 18 hour drives to 40 hour journeys. Its done Chicago-Richmond, Richmond-Dallas, Dallas-Chicago, Chicago-Dallas. When you drive it say 300 miles and get out for a break, no cramps, aches, nothing. Sneaker.

A friend of mine bought a brand new Mazda Rx8 a few years ago. We drove it straight out of the showroom, turned DSC off, locked the steering while turning. The RWD car spun and faced the oncoming traffic. This car felt wicked though, but in some aspects, didn't feel complete. The same friend bought an Audi A6. Didnt feel sneaker like though.

My mom bought a Tata Indica DLS. We still have it. I like this car. It is honest, simple and very Indian (I like). We still have it.

I decided to go 2 wheels once more. It was my birthday and we went into a Yamaha showroom in Dallas where I was at the time. There was a silver R6 on display. I quickly remembered that my Mom would fly in, beat me, pack my things and take me and my independence back home. Shrugged the thought, got back in the car and started driving home. For some mad reason, I made a U-turn, went into the showroom and got the bike. Impulse I think. It is the fastest machine I have ever driven. I have seen 4 second runs to 100Kph. It is addictive. You'd be doing 100Mph on 4th, with 2 more gears to go. The friend I mention above, with the Rx8 and the Audi, took my bike out when i was out of town, rode with a bikers club (who are experienced of course, but he wasn't), dropped the R6 while taking an exit off an interstate, fractured both his hands, was airlifted, had steel plates in his forearms and what not and was on short term disability for a few months. The bike had damage to the fairings.Thats all. I got so scared, that I put it in storage for 2 whole years, where it still is (Plus, it is in a city where I dont live anymore. Long story). I visit the storage at times and start it up. Post accident, this bike feels evil somehow.

We bought a Mahindra Scorpio in Chennai. I had a flight to dubai that night and went to a Mahindra dealer just to look. Saw this car, got really impressed and bought it immediately. I like its road presence and gangster type looks. Also, it has something really critical and absent in most cars (except a few super luxury ones). Reclining rear seats in the 8 seat layout!! Why doesn't every car manufacturer make the rear seat recline? At least a bit? Last year, there were heavy rains/flooding in Chennai. I drove this car straight into an open manhole (masked by 1/2 foot logged water) at night and broke the wheel. I remember, when they removed the wheel the next morning, it came out in 4 pieces.

I had sold my Audi to a friend and was car-less for a while. Parents called and started talking about marriage. In a fit of rebellion (or something), I bought a used Mercedes SLK 230 Sport. It had a manual(tough find for a Merc in America), AMG logos all over it(sport kit maybe). And is a hard top convertible. Plus, being a giant Mclaren-Mercedes fan (Lewis had just won), I felt it was befitting to honor the engine maker by buying one of their creations. Solid car. Feels like a rock. Feels like it'll drive forever. It is an old model, made before the time when Mercedes started having quality issues. I still own it. Love it. Turns a few heads. Some people ask me about it. I've taken it to 130Mph one time, thats it. Have been married since and am trying hard to teach my wife to drive it. The really low ground clearance and manual transmission isnt helping.

In all, I am a motoring fanatic and its great to finally be in a group that feels the same way about cars. I will post pics of my cars/bikes as soon as I get promoted from N00b status.

Sorry for the long post. I promise to keep it short next time onwards.

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Old 7th December 2009, 13:47   #2
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Hey gvr

Thats a fantastic intro and it was a pleasure reading your motoring experiences in the US. You seem to have had your share of fun with four and two wheels. Tell us more about the 118 NE you own and a review on your SLK would be fantastic. Take some time to go through the Rules of the forum before you head to the threads.

Welcome to Team BHP.
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Old 7th December 2009, 14:10   #3
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Welcome GVR

That was indeed a loooong post

Tell us more about your slk and pics please
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Old 7th December 2009, 14:38   #4
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welcome aboard.

that's an interesting heading - "fanatic" - so what's irrational about your car love?

and don't worry long post are good, as long as they are as interesting as this one.

Last edited by pb10gagan : 7th December 2009 at 14:48.
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Old 7th December 2009, 15:07   #5
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What an entrance, dude!
Always a pleasant surprise to see an Indian in the US not owning a toyota or a honda.
Nalvaravu, GVR!
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Old 8th December 2009, 12:20   #6
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Welcome! that's a loooong post
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Old 8th December 2009, 14:34   #7
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Welcome aboard, GVR

I really liked the way you brought your Scorpio
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Old 8th December 2009, 16:15   #8
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Welcome to t-bhp GVR, and what an intro! Really loved it. i hope you enjoy your stay here!

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Old 8th December 2009, 17:05   #9
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Well written Post. Welcome to the Team BHP. Well in one go you have given all your cars biographies as well as the manhole experience during our greater Chennai's rain. Let is have more from your side.
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