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Old 22nd April 2009, 02:27   #1
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Default Fiat Palio GTX 1.6 acquired 2nd hand Edit: Pictures of Painting Process on Pg9

I had been hunting for a used Palio S10 or a GTX 1.6 for over 9 months now. I had seen a few specimens in Hyderabad which screamed "run for your life!" A fellow T-BHPian has one, which he initially wanted to sell but his heart was and, is not in it. Having now driven one for about 800 Km I second his decision not to sell.

Something that looked promising came up in the classifieds section of Team-BHP. A member posted on behalf of his friend. A GTX made in 2002 and purchased new in 2004 was for sale in Mumbai. The pictures posted indicated a car in it's original paint and it seemed to be in pretty decent shape. I wrote to the owner and he replied with some clarifications that shed some light on the car. We spoke on the phone a few times and he sounded like a very decent man, someone one could do business with long-distance. A quick scan of my diary showed that I was free on Saturday the 18th of April, so I called the seller and confirmed that 18th morning was okay with him, I then requested Srinivas, my regular mechanic, to keep himself free over the weekend and booked tickets for the two of us on the first flight out (6.00 a.m.) on Saturday. My plan was to reach Mumbai in the morning before 9.00 a.m., see the car and, if I liked it, pick up a D.D. as soon as the banks opened, get the necessary signatures on the Forms 29 & 30 and start driving back by around 1.00 p.m. so that I could reach Solapur for a good night's rest before hitting Hyderabad on Sunday. Of course, if my mechanic and I did not like the car, we would head back to the airport and catch the first flight out. I re-confirmed the programme with the seller on Friday and checked in via the internet.

Those hectic and crazy 24 hours

Saturday started with my alarm going off at 3.00 a.m., I had a quick shower, shaved etc. and finished my packing. The taxi was there at 4.00 a.m. sharp. I set off around 4.05 and picked up Srinivas on the way. We checked in around 5.15 a.m., KF-red and Hyderabad Airport (HIAL) made the check in and boarding a delightful experience. I even had enough time to get a nicotine shot in the well ventilated 'smoke-chamber'.

Knowing that we had a long day ahead, I suggested to Srinivas to keep his seat-back upright and go off to sleep before taking the same line of action. We were woken up for a breakfast of sorts (served in a card-board box) a quick taste of the same and we went back to sleep. We landed in Mumbai at the STA i.e. 7.15. We sauntered out, I lit up one more cancer stick, called the seller to let him know we had arrived and made our way to the taxi stand looking for the blue variety that keep the heat and humidity out. We got one within 2 minutes and we were on our way to the Barista at Shivaji Park. The light traffic at that morning hour meant that we were there by 8.00 a.m.

Dr. Amey Powar, the seller arrived soon enough and suggested that we let the taxi go as he was putting himself at our disposal for the day!! We promptly shifted our bags to his car and relieved the taxi. The car lived up to it's promise. It looked neat and cared for. Had 61K (almost 62K) on the odo and that seemed genuine. Of course it had the usual scrathes and dents etc. the rear bumper was split (as seen in the pics). Srinivas (never one to waste time), took his footwear off, knelt on them and popped his head under the car. Dr. saab and I bemusedly gazed at Srinivas, now almost prone on the road outside Shivaji Park. He emerged soon enough with a poker face and walked around the car looking like a cattle trader sizing up an animal in the market. He poked it in the ribs (opened and shut the doors after looking at them in and out), lifted it's tail (tail gate), stuck a finger in the unmentionables (exhaust), and finally opened the mouth of the beast. Once the bonnet was opened he looked at the air filter, oil dip stick and a couple of other things. He then shut the bonnet and turned to face Dr. saab. (Damn, the suspense was killing me. Why does he not tell me what he saw? Even a hint, a subtle gesture, a word in Telugu which we both speak but is alien to Dr. saab, would do). He asks Dr. Saab if we can go for a TD. Dr. saab & I could have easily killed him at that moment for prolonging the suspense. Dr. saab proffers the keys, I decline and request him to drive. He takes us for a sedate drive around Shivaji park. I enjoyed the drive as it gave me ample opportunity to check out the eye candy that was out in strength at that time, but hey, I was not here to buy a Rolls Royce for a sedate drive. At the end of the drive I requested Dr. saab to exchange places and took the car for a slightly more spirited spin. No major issues spotted (the car did not drag, and the engine seemed strong enough). I headed back to Barista and parked the car. All of us pile out. Srinivas turns to Dr. saab again (I would have happily strangled him at that point, after all, he was there at my request, I had paid his fare and would be paying him for his time and effort). His face finally breaks into a wide grin and he tells Dr. saab, "Saab, aapka gaadi mujhe accha laga." I thank god that he and I agreed on some things (Dr. saab's car included). He then proceeds to take me aside and tell me about the shortcomings that he noticed in the car.

We step into Barista, not to celebrate, but to haggle over the price over a cup of coffee (iced tea for me please - the humidity is already killing me). Almost as soon as we sit down, I spot an old friend who is now posted in Mumbai and he comes over to chat for a bit before his flight. We finally get down to haggling and we are able to arrive at a mutually satisfactory figure (to Dr. saab and me, Srinivas still thinks I paid too much). We debate whether to head to Khar, where Citibank is already open or to wait and head to the StanChart in Dadar at 10.00. A quick calculation of driving times indicate that Dadar is a better bet. So we kill some more time at Barista and head off to the bank in Dadar, reaching there a few minutes before 10.00 a.m. I am ready with the D.D. a few minutes later and all of us head off to the RTA - Mumbai Central. A talk with the agent there tells us that the NOC will be available within a week. We exchange the DD for the signed transfer forms. I collect the original insurance, both keys to the car, a copy of the RC (the RTA needs the original for making some endorsements and issuing the NOC). Dr. saab drives us back to Phoenix where we park the car. Dr. saab leaves us to get on with his life. Srinivas and I head out to catch a taxi (where are those blue ones when you need them?) and head to 'Opera House' to pick up some parts for the car (a rear bumper, wheel bearings, muffler, headlights etc.) Srinivas needs some tools and I want a hydraulic (bottle) jack and a tyre pressure meter. Most parts are readily available but it takes some time for the bumper to reach. We have a quick bite at a place called 'Shiv Narain' - the food is fairly decent and the place is clean - the a/c. works! We pick up the tools and stuff and the shopkeeper calls for a known cab-driver who has a roof top luggage carrier. We pile on / in the stuff we bought and head off in another 'kaala-peela' to Phoenix, on the way we get directions to get to the Pune expressway from the cabbie. On reaching Phoenix, I get the car out and do a 'chakkar' to get to the taxi and the parts in it. Since there are only two of us, the rear seat is folded down and the parts are piled in, but the bumper is a tight fit. We re-confirm the way from another cabbie and we are finally on our way. The time is 3.30 p.m. We ask cabbies next to us at signals if we are the right road and finally hit Sion and fill in Petrol at the co. owned bunk there. We also reduce the tyre pressure as the tyres were seriously over-inflated making the car bouncy and rattly. Srinivas and I notice that the car hits a dead spot between 1600 and 2000 rpm and debate whether to put in 2T oil. We decide against it, presuming that the high speed run to Pune will clear things. On the relatively freer roads through Chembur, Trombay and Navi Mumbai I notice that the car is reluctant to go over 3500 rpm and we seriously start looking for 2T oil, but have no luck.

We notice that the car shudders and that the brake pedal and steering jump about when braking over 90 kmph. The brakes themselves are totally inadequate for the highway. I am therefore forced to stick to 120 kmph, increasing to 140 kmph only over stretches of absolutely clear roads. The tear in the rear bumper which was about 5 inches long in the morning has increased to about 2 feet and now runs right around the corner. The bumper now flaps about at speeds over this unless there is a tail-wind. So speeds above 120 / 140 are reserved for overtaking.

The run on the expressway does clear the acceleration up a bit and the engine does start behaving better but we are still unhappy about it on reaching Pune. We decide to get into Pune town for dinner and to take a call on spending the night in Pune or pushing ahead to Solapur after dinner. I take the left off the expressway onto the Aundh Road, thereafter I take the right onto Senapati Bapat road, a left onto the BMCC road brings us to Ferguson College road and we desperately hunt for parking space. We manage to park and rush into Roopali for a 'rice plate', our first real meal on Saturday. By the time we finish, it is around 8.45 and we decide to push along to Solapur, so that Sunday's drive would be relaxed. That decision is one that we regretted soon enough.

We filled in Petrol at Hadapsar and put in Castrol 2T oil. Within a few kilometres both Srinivas (who could not drive as he had misplaced his license) and I noticed that the engine sounded better. I laughed and said that it was merely psychological - 'the placebo effect'. As the GTX ate up the miles of miserable roads filled with traffic in both directions, it became clear that the 2T oil had worked it's magic. The dead spot disappered (has not returned since) and the car now revs happily well into the 5k to 6k rpm range. The poor headlights which focussed everywhere but where needed, further hampered our progress.

After two halts we reached Solapur around 2.30 a.m. and began our hunt for the elusive 'Surya Executive', a hotel that hides itself well behind 'Bhagvat Talkies' and the approach is through some by lanes near the more prominently located 'Janata Lodge'. A mute man gives us precise directions!! We finally roll in and ask for rooms to be told that the 'Executive' has only one a/c. room vacant but there is another in the 'Surya International' within the same compound. We check in and are in our rooms by around 3.15 almost exactly 24 hours since we woke up. I jump into bed after a quick shower and a soda - only thing available at that time.

A relaxed Sunday drive with shopping thrown in

I am up by about 7.30 a.m. and by 8.00 Srinivas calls me to say he has been up since 6.00, his usual time. We agree to meet at 9.00 for breakfast. The Suryas' have a common restaurant where a decent breakfast is served. We have a leisurely breakfast and decide to make the best of our stay in Solapur by buying towels, sheets and dhurries (jhamkhanas). We pick up a whole lot of stuff and head out of Solapur by 11.30. We filled in Petrol in Omerga and stopped soon thereafter for lunch at a 'Deluxe Dhaba" a haunt for truckers, which is right next to a 'Hotel Noor' which seems to be favoured by the car guys. I trust the truckers choice of Dhabas and love the simple, rustic fare that truckers dhabas serve up. Bhakri + curd (for dipping the Bhakri) + anda burji washed down with a few thumps up hit the right spot on that unbelievably hot day.

The car is a delight to drive and behaved impeccably in spite of all it's problems - shot suspension (the struts, springs etc are now on order), ineffective brakes (pads, discs etc are now on order), one rim seems to be warped (needs to be checked tomorrow), dodgy tyres (tubeless Good Year, Eagle NCT 5s - with tubes in them!!), choked exhaust (bought a muffler in Mumbai - needs to be fitted), choked petrol filter (now on order).

Once we crossed Zaheerabad, I asked Srinivas to take the wheel. The dismay on his face when he realised the extent of the shuddering was quickly replaced with a maniac grin when he realised that the steering was precise and the car still handled perfectly. He argued with me that there was a speedo error - the car could not be that fast! I merely asked him to recall all the various vehicles that he had overtaken, the maniac grin was momentarily replaced with a sheepish one before he went after the car in front of us and watched it disappear into a speck in the rear-view mirrors.

We reached the outskirts of Hyderabad by 4.00 p.m. and took a detour to see some agricultural land. We were back on the highway by about 5.15 and braced ourselves for the killer traffic. I dropped the bumper and Srinivas and his luggge off and reached home by 7.30. My 7 year old son's eyes lit up when he saw the GTX in it's bright orange (a real damper on my plans to change it into something more sober) and insisted on a drive immediately, he promptly fell in love with the GTX particularly its exhaust scream!

Now to the hard work of ironing out the kinks and getting the car up to scratch.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 05:23   #2
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Congrats for the street scorcherer you acquired. And the entire buying process is very well written. Gosh! You flew to another city to look for a car you really wanted to own! Now that is called passion, hats off to you. Eagerly awaiting the pics, and if its fine to you do disclose the price at which u bought it, also the cost of the parts and repairs. All the best, enjoy your car, and do let us have the pleasure of drooling over an italian beauty by uploading the pics.


Regards.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 05:47   #3
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Wow! That is one purchase experience!

Thank God that nothing went out of plan, but why the, quote "...so that Sunday's drive would be relaxed. That decision is one that we regretted soon enough...". What was that about?

And yes, the pictures, please.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 08:56   #4
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Ravvs, that's one wonderful,fun-filled and delightful experience packed day. It almost seemed like you went to Mumbai to bring your bride back home...LOL

I am suprised to know the initial kinks that you experienced until Pune but in my understanding the good doctor has not been using the car for long and with some running and bit of care in normal spares it should sprint back into its original condition soon.

I see you stayed at Surya International in Solapur, did you ask the security there to clean your car in the morning? He did that for me thrice that i stayed there, for a meagre 20 bucks and he does a good job too at that.

Congrats again and look forward to seeing it in flesh tomorrow and hopefully for the weekend drive too.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 09:38   #5
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As usual very crisp and informative write-up. Look forward to seeing the car in reality soon.

Happy Revving!!!
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:12   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Ravvs, that's one wonderful,fun-filled and delightful experience packed day. It almost seemed like you went to Mumbai to bring your bride back home...LOL

I am suprised to know the initial kinks that you experienced until Pune but in my understanding the good doctor has not been using the car for long and with some running and bit of care in normal spares it should sprint back into its original condition soon.

I see you stayed at Surya International in Solapur, did you ask the security there to clean your car in the morning? He did that for me thrice that i stayed there, for a meagre 20 bucks and he does a good job too at that.

Congrats again and look forward to seeing it in flesh tomorrow and hopefully for the weekend drive too.
Thanks guys - YC.BALENO, HappyWheels, MC & Avi.

The initial kinks were because Dr. saab used the car for sedate driving (was the FE an issue?). He also has another car, a Santro, I guess he favoured the Santro for city driving. He did take good, or rather excellent care of the car. It felt impeccable in the city (his normal hunting grounds). Since he was driving sedately, the engine is in pristine condition. The minor blocks etc. should clear up with a little loving high revv driving and change of filters and plugs. (Insha Allah will be done today).

Inflation has hit Surya in Solapur, the going price for the car cleaning is now Rs.30/-. Surya has two wings - the older 'International' and the newer 'Executive'. I prefer the executive - total paisa vasool place, I took their last available A/c. room while Srinivas got the last available room in International.

Cheers,
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:20   #7
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Ravvs! Congrats! Please post pics as the custom suggests
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:29   #8
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Very, nice narration! This is what passion is all about.
Enjoy the Italino monster

Pictures please.

Last edited by ms001 : 22nd April 2009 at 10:37. Reason: PICS PLEASE
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:35   #9
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Congratulations, Ravvendrra.

A very well written experience of the purchase. Reading it felt as if being a part of the experience. Hope you enjoy the ride much more after you have got rid of the minor niggles.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:37   #10
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Hey Ravveendra, great write up there!!!! As they say, 'sabr ka fal meetha hota hai'....great that you could find a specimen you liked after being on the lookout for so long. Now you own two tanks, that enough to give you the moniker of Tank Commander (TC)?LOL

Jokes apart, congrats again and look forward to seeing the new acquisition in the flesh (metal?) very soon. Till then, can we have some 2-D images, pls?
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:39   #11
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Excellent write-up Ravveendrra! Well narrated!
We are waiting for the pictures of the Italian beauty!
Would be nice to have some before-after pics once you bring her back to shape
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:40   #12
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very well written ravs i was feeling as if i was also there with you at shivaji park.(yeah i do miss the eye candy spotting .lol)

you missed a quick darshan/puja at sidhivinayak though.

once again a big congrats for the new ride.(as our friend from chandigarh mentioned on his post ,you have real passion to fly to another city to buy what you wanted to own from a very long time.

see you around.

Last edited by Rajesh Rawal : 22nd April 2009 at 10:43.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:41   #13
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Congrats Ravvendrra! Fiat 1.6 is always fun to drive....enjoy your ride!

Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:41   #14
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Congratulations!
Welcome to the GTX owner's club. Will look forward to your ownership experience.

You mentioned you bought a few spares at the opera house. How was the pricing compared to the spares at a dealer?

Happy driving!
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Old 22nd April 2009, 10:51   #15
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As i said Raveendra,Welcome to the GTX club and your jpurney to the acquisition shows your passion for the GTX.Now i understand completely your devotion towards this acqusition.
Have a Happy drive in the GTX and not to forget that we both drive out our GTXs in our next TBHP drive.
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