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Old 2nd March 2007, 16:52   #1
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Default Ode to a faithful companion - Ikon 1.6ZXI, 146k kms!

OK guys, I’ve been procrastinating on this one for a while and just not finding enough time to do justice to it. But with almost two months over since her departure from our family, and going through Jaggu's post this morning, I thought it was high time that I posted an ode to an old friend who kept me company for 146000 odd kms through thick & thin, good weather & bad, highways & dirt roads and heavy loads or light – yes, I’m talking about none other than my josh machine – the Ikon 1.6 ZXI.

Those who currently have & have earlier owned the Ikon 1.6 will understand why I’m so emotional about it….for those who have not driven one, well, I do feel sorry that you’ve missed the experience. So, let me just rewind back to the summer of 2001 when she first came into my life. Till then, my driving experience had been restricted to the Fiat 1100D (wow, what a car that was too!), the good old Ambassador, Maruti 800, Ceilo Executive & finally, the Esteem. My brother was the first one to take the plunge with the Ikon 1.3 in June 2000 and he was quite happy with it. But I’d been reading raves about the 1.6 rocam engine so, what the heck, in Feb 2001, we decided to take a test drive…..and I FELL IN LOVE!

I mean, after all the cars mentioned above, it was a dream come true – the acceleration & the torque were amazing. So, we decided on the ZXI (the SXI looked better but didn’t have some of the features of the ZXI like the music system etc), it was booked & she came into our lives towards the end of March 2001. We had chosen a very unconventional color that not too many people like – it was Cayman Blue – but we went for it because it was “different”. Boy, did I have a BALL!!!! Be it early morning rides or late night trips back home, it was a sheer adrenalin surge. The rush of blood to the head while wheel-spinning away when the light turned green & shocking slower to react drivers with better cars was addictive, habit forming & remains etched in my memory even today. Ahhhh, those were the days, life was also a little less complicated!

Less than three weeks into the ownership, my stupid driver braked hard (and at the last minute) at a red light and a Maruti 800 slammed into the rear bumper on the right side. Crumple zone technology etc etc and, in a nutshell, not much happened to his front but my bumper needed to be THROWN AWAY as it couldn’t be repaired!! 7k for bumper & painting so there went my no-claim bonus! Anyway, the only good thing that happened out of this was the start of a long (and so far pleasant) association with Harpreet Ford VK and my supervisor in particular.

The sheer pleasure of driving the car meant that I was always looking for opportunities to make quick trips on weekends. We were new to Delhi & had only been to Agra till then. So where else did we go? Well, Agra again (April 2001), Haridwar (April 2001), Mussorie (October 2001), Kulu-Manali (March 2002, just missed fresh snowfall by a day), Naini Tal (March 2003), Narkhanda- Kalpa- Sarahan-Simla (June 2003), Dalhousie-Khajjiar (Jan 2004, again missed fresh snowfall by a day in the Kalatop forest stretch), and finally back to Manali (June 2005). Of these, I think the Kalpa trip was the highest she climbed (to a height of around 10000 feet above sea level), we didn’t take her up to Rohtang the last time around because traffic was MANIC even early mornings and I wasn’t in a mood to get stressed out so early in the morning trying to avoid Sumos climbing all over other cars!

The beauty of all these trips was that – NOT ONCE did we have any breakdown (or even a puncture for that matter lol), no electrical issues, no mechanical blips, no wheezing up mountains NOTHING! The cassette player auto-reverse had packed up once so we had to manually change for the rest of the trip but that was that.

I had my share of escapades with her as well. One night, way back in 2002 October, I was on my way home to GKII from Qutab (RGs). Obviously, I had tanked up heavily and in that condition, I took a long detour through VK instead of following the usual route. Somewhere there, I took a wrong turn and was reversing out when I misjudged and mounted a boulder on the edge of the pavement. The car was stuck fair & square. Had I been sober, I would have got out, inspected, called a couple of guys, lifted the car & got the boulder out. Well, I wasn’t sober so what did I do? I kept popping the clutch for the next 40 minutes and trying to get it out. Finally, a few security guards landed up & we did what we should have done much earlier – then, a few Kms down the road (very close to where my workshop was lol!), the clutch PACKED UP!!!!! So I had to leave her there & take a cab back. Next morning, there was a very sober me, considering that I was facing a 8k expense for one evening of heavy boozing. I have been a little more careful ever since!

There’s one more that comes to mind…….returning from Gurgaon on a Sunday afternoon in August 2004 – wife joining a new job the next day so mood was upbeat (and I had a few more than desirable under my belt). On the MG Road, car in front braked suddenly, I jammed on the pedal & the wheels locked up and I THUMPED into the back of the bu****. Damage to his car – negligible; damage to the cayman beauty –radiator gone & grille damaged!

Apart from all that, there’ve been countless incidents of zipping past truckers at night when they’ve refused to give way and then stopping in front of them and holding them up! Can’t help it guys, that Josh machine makes a HOOLIGAN out of you!!!

Well, I’m not going to bore you to death with the Pros & the Cons since I think they are well known to all. But since some of you may think a long term ownership experience is incomplete without a list, here’s a few –

PROS
  • Responsive ROCAM engine leading to incredible adrenalin surge
  • EXCELLENT road holding, just point her where you want & off she goes
  • Very comfortable rear seat, my wife still misses the ride comfort
  • A very spacious boot even if cubic capacity shows otherwise – we could fit in a lot of luggage a lot easier than we can in the Fiesta though the Fiesta has more capacity
CONS
  • Brakes could be a lot better, they should have always given ABS in the upper end versions
  • The AC diverter has given me problems on two occasions. That’s not SO MUCH in a span of 146 k kms but why the heck should it happen anyway?
  • Having to wrack my brains so I guess nothing much else
Okay, there are some of you who may be wondering what kind of expenses I had on upkeep of the Ikon, particularly in view of the general perception about “EXPENSIVE”, let me tell you that it hasn’t been all that spectacular or mind boggling. I’d always maintained the regular service schedule and apart from the services, the following items were procured during the six & a half years of blissful driving –

2 sets of 4 tires each
Full suspension (once, after crossing 100000 kms)
Steering assembly (a couple of months before she was sold)
Clutch (apart from the mishap mentioned, when she crossed 110000 kms, wasn’t critical but got it done anyway)
Coolant bottle
AC Diverter
Fan assembly
Front windscreen

I will have to fish out some snaps and put them up at a later date but here’s a couple of them taken when Anuj & his friend came to look at her when I first announced the parting –





Well, DL3CS 2896, this is just a big thank you from my side and a tribute to my road companion of almost six years –

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
But the wine & the song like the seasons have all gone
(Well, maybe not, but life has changed and I don’t think those days will be lived the same way again)

So, Adios Amigo, Adios my friend
The road we have traveled has come to an end

What more can I say guys? A lump in my throat and farewell to an exciting driving machine…..there will be many to follow and some will be better performers but it’s the first one to give you that “high” that you have a soft spot for. Earlier, in a different league, it was my Fiat 1100D, at this stage of my life it was definitely my Ikon 1.6 ZXI. I think the entire family was very emotional when she was driven out of our apartment block for the last time on a sunny winter morning on 14th January 2007, there was a huge LUMP in my throat and we were all upset – so many kms of happy memories inside her. I hope her new owner looks after her well…………
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:01   #2
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Nice review sir..

looks like so many people are saying goodbye to the ROCAM today..
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:04   #3
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Terrific write up suman. That was one nice emotional recount. thanks for sharing it.

Quote:
Apart from all that, there’ve been countless incidents of zipping past truckers at night when they’ve refused to give way and then stopping in front of them and holding them up!
have done that many times a few years ago.
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The car was stuck fair & square. Had I been sober, I would have got out, inspected, called a couple of guys, lifted the car & got the boulder out. Well, I wasn’t sober so what did I do? I kept popping the clutch for the next 40 minutes and trying to get it out. Finally, a few security guards landed up & we did what we should have done much earlier
How could you ?? Relax, many folks have been there, done that. But 40 Minutes ????
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:06   #4
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Very nice write up suman. I enjoy driving my 1.6 too (four letters starts with F, not Ford, ends in a 't') just like you did your old baby. And I know a day will come when I have to give her up - and I can feel that lump in my throat too.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:07   #5
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Boy you seem to have poured your heart out on this one and this seems more like a love story than a long term report. Its just the thing with us car guys. For us our cars are more a dear companion than just an automobile.

I always feel the same lumps in my throat whenever I have parted with my cars. Felt the same few months ago when i parted with my Zen.

Great and actually very touch report. Awesome write up .

Hope your josh machine is in loving hands as I type this.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Relax, many folks have been there, done that. But 40 Minutes ????
Thanks E_L, you know how it is ......almost a bottle inside you so you think you CAN DO IT!!!!

I forgot the best part in this........as I was turning into the road near my workshop I realized the clutch had packed up and guess who was there with me, for me always???? A Delhi Police gypsy ....so there I was wondering if i was going to spend the night in the cooler (I must have been smelling like a distillery and it was about 2.30 in the morning!!)....switched on my interior light & asked him to get out and see that when I was releasing the clutch, the car wasn't really moving. I was LUCKY, he peered in, saw i wasn't bull****ting (and I wasn't slurring at that moment thank my stars!!), called a couple of cabbies to my rescue, told them to help push the car into the cab stand & sent me on my way home with an assurance that the car would be fine till I came back the next morning.

Decent guys....and were with me & for me for a change!!!!

Dippy, Dceite, Typeonegative, thanks guys, we are attached to our cars aren't we!

Last edited by suman : 2nd March 2007 at 17:19.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:17   #7
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wow suman da! nice write up. loved it.

and you said it right both of the 1100D and the 1.6 Ikon are very good cars .. be it the way they look or the way they move!
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:21   #8
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Hey Suman,

It is really sad to part with your gaadi after such a long haul..

Anyway,the report is well crafted and as dippy said it makes another great "Karan-Johar" story.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:32   #9
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Excellent writeup. Reminded me of the day when my father had tears (i am not making this up) in his eyes when his 1984 Ambassador was sold in 2004. He had done over 150K kms in it. It was a Mark IV with steering mounted shifter. I also had emotions attached to it as I learnt my driving on it.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:41   #10
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Very moving writeup @Suman .. memories of the day I let go of my Shogun came rushing back. I was soooo sad, that I couldn't even bargain well. The guy rode off on her paying me 500 less than what was agreed upon.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:48   #11
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Fantastic review there Suman, absolutely Fantastic!

I still remember this time last year when you and me were arguing as to which car among the Esteem MPFI and Ikon 1.6 was faster on a 0-100 kph drag., wasn't it fun? hehehe

Feel sad buddy that you had to let go of your prized possession, but then thats life!

Take Care,

Cheers

Last edited by prince85 : 2nd March 2007 at 17:49.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:52   #12
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thats a nice write up suman..really touched my heart....
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Old 2nd March 2007, 17:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prince85 View Post
I still remember this time last year when you and me were arguing as to which car among the Esteem MPFI and Ikon 1.6 was faster on a 0-100 kph drag., wasn't it fun? hehehe

Feel sad buddy that you had to let go of your prized possession, but then thats life!

Take Care,

Cheers
Thanks man, and you are absolutely right! Time flies doesn't it........I remember our little exchanges & your invitation to go down to Mumbai . When did the Camry join the stable by the way, congrats!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Very moving writeup @Suman .. memories of the day I let go of my Shogun came rushing back. I was soooo sad, that I couldn't even bargain well. The guy rode off on her paying me 500 less than what was agreed upon.
I also let her go for a song considering she was in very good shape other than the tyres. But the guy was known to a colleague of mine and seemed to be a nice sort so I didn't bother about the price

Thanks Raajiv & P_R; P_R you said it, the 1100D was another hell of a car!

Last edited by suman : 2nd March 2007 at 18:02.
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Old 2nd March 2007, 18:38   #14
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Excellent way of saying thanks to someone you love so much, terrific write-up
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Old 2nd March 2007, 19:43   #15
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Very nice write up Suman. Its one car which takes out the Kid in you, I still remember the first time I drove my friends 1.6, i was giggling like a kid, not wanting to get out of the car. I hope she's being treated well by the new owner.

P.S. How was the engine after 146K's of driving? What about the body shell, any annoying rattles or something?
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