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Old 10th October 2011, 01:11   #1
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Default My life with an '84 Sipani Dolphin

Hi,everyone I thought of sharing my LIFE with my two door DOLPHIN car,with all my Team Bhpian Biradars,this car which I had brought brand new from a showroom in Mahim in the year 1984. Unfortunately I dont have any photographs of this car exept one which I will share with you all.

Let us go back to January 1984. In those days I had my office in Mahim and that too very very close to Citylight cinema, where the very first Mumbai dealer of Dolphin cars was located by the name GOHIL MOTORS.

The very first white Dolphin sample car was kept in this very small showroom, in fact the show room was a shop, so small that Mr. Gohil got the main door of the shop cut to fit this small wonder inside his showroom after which he got full sized glass fixed in the front so that the car was visible from outside of the shop.

Till then the only cars available were Ambys, Fiats and our so called Maruti(old shape SS) were just introduced they were rarely seen on the roads with proud owners driving them around.
The Marutis were available on bookings and draw created by computer and if you are lucky one you will become the owner.

Maruti regular model non AC was costing around 75000/- on road, but if you wanted it one out of turn (your name is not listed in the computer generated list) then you will be paying 70000/- over the cost of 75000/-.

70000/-in those days was a big amount still some went for it just to show off that they own a Maruti.

Let us move away from maruti and talk about my Dolphin car.One day I had gone near Citylight cinema for some work and saw a huge crowd near Gohil House where this showroom was situated. I saw that there was a small 'Q' to see this DOLPHIN car kept inside the showroom.
I stood in the 'Q' and was welcomed by their sales guy who was exhausted by then answering silly questions of casual visitors and not serious customers.

That sales guy was interested in showing off Hazard Flashers, Electric screen washers, SU Carburetted small 4 cylinder engine, (Maruti had 3 cylinders) Small foam padded steering wheel, Small sized tyres, Rectangular head lamps, etc etc which were NEW to all of us as we had only seen them all in imported cars till then ,but over and above everythings he banged his fist on the car body to tell that it is FIBRE GLASS. it is very strong and will not rust for life time,and in case of accident it can be repaired very economically unlike MARUTI which was concidered as fragile and very expensive to repair.

Now at that same time of the year we had shifted our residence to 7 bunglows versova from Mahim, our bld exactly opposit to the sea, where cars are going to rust in a short period, I had a Amby mark 4 also at that time which had started to rust when I moved to versova.

I liked his NO RUST to this car the most. No test drives were given in those days. I booked the car next day and was told that there were just three colours shades available * Shell White, * Golden Yellow, *Moon beam blue, and just two variants CAR, or ESTATE models.

I went for White CAR as the sample car was very appealing in looks.
On road cost was 75000/-. Road Taxes, Bombay Munciple Taxes,(Yes in those days BMC used to fleece car owners with this stupid TAX) Octroi all inclusive.
Now the question came for the delivery time, I was told it will take one month time, since the cars are coming from Banglore and are driven all the way from Banglore to Bombay.
I told the sales guy to cancell the booking and return my money.

That time Mr. Gohil who was standing near by asked me why I am cancelling the order??? I told him about the delivery time is too long, he took me inside his cabin and called Mr. Suresh Kumar Sipani, MD of Sipani Motors on his STD in Banglore and told him that a customer is going away and is buying a Maruti. He was silent for a moment then there was a smile on his face after which he disconnected the phone and ordered coffee for me and himself.
He said that there is a white Dolphin car ready in Banglore which was to be delivered to a new dealer AS A SAMPLE CAR somewhere in India, same car can be delivered to Bombay.
Mr. Gohil said that in two days time he is flying to Banglore and will drive down to Bombay in my car.
Now there was a wait for just 5 days,on 4th day I saw my mud covered unregistered car inside Gohil Motors compound and was sure that my car has arrived.It came with 5 brand new Radial Tyres along with regular tyres, Radial tyres were given free to me.
In total I had 10 tyres.
My car was washed cleaned registerd in the only RTO (Tardeo) in those days for whole of Bombay. Regd No. M A S 5 3 7.
I took the delivery and started using the car regularly.
One sunday I opened the rear hatch or the glass which had a hydraulic damper to control the movement of the glass, the damper was so stiff that it broke the mountings along with it's foundation.
I called Gohil Motors about the issue and was told to contact their service adviser. This service adviser said it can be done but will be charged for as these repairs are not covered under warranty. I was billed about 400/- for a one hrs FRP job.
Next day when I opened the rear glass again the whole story of yesterday repeated and I was having broken damper in my hands.
It was repaired again by them this time FREE of cource.
But again it broke for the third time, now their service adviser told me that compony's Fibreglass moulder is called from Bangalore to Bombay for many pending issues,at that time he will attend to my problem also.

This FRP moulder turned out to be a labourer from the factory who was in the factory for making moulds of body parts of Dolphin.
This moulder repaired my damper mountings and asked me not to touch the repaired portion for at least two days.

On fourth day I opend the rear glass and ooops the mountings broke again,but by then that moulder had gone back to Bangalore.
I got fed up and removed the damper for good,and was holding the glass on my head whenever I wanted to open the rear glass to use the rear portion of the car.

But even after seeing their own product behaving in such a way Sipani and Gohil were not bothered to correct the defect.

Next issue came with the car was Kms/Ltrs of petrol, I was promised 22 kms/ltr of petrol but the car returned with only 12 kms/ltrs.
Now the compony hired a engineer named Jhon Zhacharia who was a talker more and less of a help for customers.
By now this Dolphin had a list of customers which included film personalties as actress *NUTAN, producer director *Arjun Hingorani, *Dance director Saroj Khan.

My issues with the Dolphin car had just started off.
In less then one year alternator rectifier blew and was replaced by Gohil on chargable basis simply sai Electronic parts are not covered in warranty.

By this time one more dealer of Dolphin was born in Bombay by the name Elite Motors located in third road Khar opposit to Guru Hotel.
This place was owned by some Agarwal family who stayed above the same bld where this so called showroom was situated.
This dealer got hold of a local mechanic Mr.SATISH VASHI who normally worked on regular cars,but started working on Dolphins on salary basis without any training in the Dolphin factory or their training centre if they had one.
This Satish was a trial and error type of a person and often used to adjust SU Carbs again and again to check the functioning.

This dealer or Gohil never had Dwell angle/RPM meters of their own and were adjusting the engines just by crude manner.Even CB point gaps were set by the manner used by roadside mechanic, but charged the customers heavily.
Elite Motors had a wide space in front of their showroom where they parked some three Sample Dolphins in two tone colours just to impress the new customers. They were able to sell in all two cars in their dealership period before they closed the shop.The same bld came crumbling down just few years ago with lot of people died in it.

By now my Warranty period got over and I was not entertained by Gohil or Elite Motors, since I knew too much about cars and they wanted customers with least knowledge whom they can fool around and fleece.

By now I had learnt a lot about Dolphin and started doing things on my own.
First hurdle came with engine oil change with oil filter.Oil filter was not available in the market, thus for two occasions I just changed the engine oil with same filter.
Gohil said it will not sell parts to customers.

By now front suspension started acting, and one day rear leaf spring also broke which was made by a PATTA wala at mahim by modifying a other vehicle Patta and the cost was 1/4 what these dealers were selling at as ORIGINAL Dolphin ka Patta.

I opened up the suspension myself and made list of parts needed along with wheel cylinders etc.

Wheel cylinders were leaking and new ones were costing around 1000/-each.
Cost qouted by Gohil Motors, there was no price list by Sipani.and parts were sold as hot cakes.
I went to opera house and went to Modern Motors and showed them the sample wheel cylinder rubber washer, there was a old man in the shop who said to his staff to give me MINI COOPER wheel cylinder washers set for all four wheels for 150/-.
Some parts were yet to be got ,I just got fed up and called Sipani and asked them about dealers in Banglore for Dolphin Cars.
They narrated few names and the owners names. One name rang a bell in my brain. The name was Vicky Chandhok, Yes dear he is non other then our youngster and todays Karon Chandhok's father.
But I did not hesitate I called Vicky Chandhok and started talking in punjabi telling him how a Dolphin owner is treated in Mumbai, he was very disheartened and asked me to Fax the list and he will send me the all parts needed.
I did the same immediately and in less then 8 days I got a call from him saying that parts are sent by transport and to collect the same.
I went to Andheri to colllect the parts parcel, upon opening the parcel I was surprised to find all neede parts. I called him and asked about the bill which he Faxed it and the amount was very very resonable as compared to our Bombay gang.
I sent the DD. to him. I completed the car in two days time and again started using it.
Now a new probleb came up of engine started emitting smoke. Now I lost my cool and thought that it is too much now.
By this time I got a slightly used Maruti 800 DX old shape in superb condition for 68000/-.
One day one of my friends asked me can he purchase my Dolphin, I jumped on the proposal and S O L D him my Dolphin for 60000/-.
This dost of mine used the car for about ten days and sold it to a garage owner in juhu. There was no whereabouts of this MAS 537 after this day which maybe 17 yrs.God or maybe Tardeo RTO knows where it is .........
Photograph shows my elder son sitting on it when he was in St Blaise School Andheri, today he is a MBA and working in JP Morgan Banking and is happily married.
Attached Thumbnails
My life with an '84 Sipani Dolphin-my-20first-20car-1-.jpg  


Last edited by IQBAL VEERJI : 10th October 2011 at 01:15.
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Old 10th October 2011, 07:03   #2
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Default re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Nice reading Sir. But you're not the only one who went through all you mentioned. Bangalore customers had the similar problems.

How was the Reliant engine compare to Maruti's 3 cylinder mill?
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Old 10th October 2011, 08:06   #3
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Made for a good read there iqbal. Thanks for putting up your ordeal with the Dolphin even though it was a short stint. I can recall a yellow one being driven around my neighbor back in those days when I was in school and the Dolphin created a racket always.

Wasn't this a RWD, coz I remember pretty well that this chap always had to do a wheel spin before he took off.
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Old 10th October 2011, 08:56   #4
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Nice reading Sir. But you're not the only one who went through all you mentioned. Bangalore customers had the similar problems.

How was the Reliant engine compare to Maruti's 3 cylinder mill?
Yes dear you are right Relient engine was crude as compared with Maruti as far a technology was compared.
But then still people in those days had more confidence with BRITISH technology then Japanese. Inspite of GHULAMI under those britishers for ages and even when they were thrown out of India still that faithfulness towards them was there in the minds.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjstyles69 View Post
Made for a good read there iqbal. Thanks for putting up your ordeal with the Dolphin even though it was a short stint. I can recall a yellow one being driven around my neighbor back in those days when I was in school and the Dolphin created a racket always.

Wasn't this a RWD, coz I remember pretty well that this chap always had to do a wheel spin before he took off.
Yes sir, it was a rear wheel drive with diff and leaf springs.
Strangely the diff did not have a drain plug to change the oil, it meant that the oil filled by the Sipani to last for ever.
I got a hole drillled and tapped to create a drain plug.


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Last edited by Rudra Sen : 10th October 2011 at 10:24.
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Old 10th October 2011, 09:15   #5
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Nice recollection of (perhaps) some not so nice memories with the Dolphin. Isn't a Sipani Dolphin just a license built model of Reliant Kitten?
Reliant Kitten - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 10th October 2011, 09:52   #6
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Enjoyed reading through your experience Sirji. Anyway I do not recollect seeing one of these. Are these cars a collector's item now?
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Old 10th October 2011, 09:57   #7
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

I know someone in my City,who still drives around in a dolphin and Montana
A thing that amazed me was the turning radius of this car,almost of an autorickshaw.

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Old 10th October 2011, 20:42   #8
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
Nice recollection of (perhaps) some not so nice memories with the Dolphin. Isn't a Sipani Dolphin just a license built model of Reliant Kitten?
Reliant Kitten - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yes dear, KITTEN was actual model of Relient for Dolphin in england,In fact I got a sticker Kitten stuck at the back of my Dolphin.
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Old 10th October 2011, 21:44   #9
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Nice reading Sir. But you're not the only one who went through all you mentioned. Bangalore customers had the similar problems.

How was the Reliant engine compare to Maruti's 3 cylinder mill?
Respected sir, we in Bombay in those days who had these Dolphins used to think that guys in south are fortunate to have someone to speak to regarding their problems and spareparts, unlike Bombay where there were only fleecers.
I just remembered about that Satish Vashi,the suposed to be EXPERT in Dolphin car was thrown out by both these dealers, and started his own w/s at Bandra.
But again he failed badly in doing things correctly.After many years I came to know about him ,that he was killed by someone and they dumped his body in a car to rot.His body was found many days after he died.
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Old 10th October 2011, 22:22   #10
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

One of my close friends mom used to drive this for many years, and we all friends used to have fun driving like hooligans in this car. Engine though crude was quite peppy, most of the parts were retro fitted from other cars parts bin when it went for maintenance. Mileage used to be a decent 15-16 kmpl. It was a quirky car, but a fun car
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Old 10th October 2011, 22:24   #11
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

iqbaljee
Hi
It was good to read your experience of owning a dolphin.
Gohil motors is still there but Dolphin and Sipani are defunct. Incidentally, this car was featured in a Dharmendra/Amitabh movie with them carrying the car
regards
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Old 11th October 2011, 09:06   #12
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Enjoyed reading through your experience Sirji. Anyway I do not recollect seeing one of these. Are these cars a collector's item now?
Yes Biju, these cars were craze with youngsters in those days particularely with college GUYS.
These cars were two door with a small glass door at the back.and it came with flashy colour shades.
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Old 11th October 2011, 09:10   #13
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Default Re: My life with 1984 SIPANI's Dolphin car

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Originally Posted by faustus77 View Post
iqbaljee
Hi
It was good to read your experience of owning a dolphin.
Gohil motors is still there but Dolphin and Sipani are defunct. Incidentally, this car was featured in a Dharmendra/Amitabh movie with them carrying the car
regards
Yes dear you are right but the car carried by these actors was not a Dolphin but Badal, a 3 wheeled car another crude product of Sipani,with a scooter engine and a huge steering wheel.
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Old 21st October 2011, 00:03   #14
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Default Re: My life with an '84 Sipani Dolphin

Hahaha .... What an ordeal the Dolphin Owners had to Go through.

The Leaking Wheel Cylinders are giving me trouble to this very Day. Do you Guys know. The Recent Maruti Wheel Cylinders are a Direct FIT. I am going to change them tomorrow.
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Old 15th November 2011, 08:53   #15
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Default Re: My life with an '84 Sipani Dolphin

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Hahaha .... What an ordeal the Dolphin Owners had to Go through.

The Leaking Wheel Cylinders are giving me trouble to this very Day. Do you Guys know. The Recent Maruti Wheel Cylinders are a Direct FIT. I am going to change them tomorrow.
Hi, to cure a leaking wheel cylinder temporarily all you have to do is open the wheel cylinder,remove the piston carrying two rubber washers,remove the washers from the piston, take a normal thread used for stitching clothes,wrap around the groove for sufficient turns refit the washer and the leakage stops ... I had done this on my Dolphi and that repair job lasted for a good 14 months.
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