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Old 30th January 2009, 13:04   #1
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Default Contessa Classic

Dear Friends,
Thanks for the Support, Patronage - you have given to the indian muscle car - Contessa. This Thread is basically started to cover all aspects of this car, in both petrol and diesel variants.
The main purpose of this thread is to help every contessa owner about his car's mechanicals, alterations, maintenance, and also spares availability, advice on mechanics, et al.

The PCD of the Contessa is 120.5 which is the same as for any BMW cars, so trying to find a suitable OE rim is a waste of time. If you could get your hands on a set of BMW rims, then its ok. Otherwise, you have to resort to some mechanical alterations, to fit the upsize 15” wheel rims, which technically is very intricate, so I will leave this subject to rest. A 15” BMW wheel rim Plus a Ford Fusion OE Spec tyre will be the only right match for people who wish to upsize their contessa rims and tyres. Otherwise the best option would be to fit the 185/80R13 tyres, the widest one available to accommodate in the OE Contessa wheel rims.

Last edited by shekaran : 30th January 2009 at 13:20. Reason: font alignment wrong
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Old 30th January 2009, 14:29   #2
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wow, Nice to understand that muscle cars share common PCD!
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Old 30th January 2009, 14:33   #3
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i have seen gypsy rims on a contessa.
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Old 30th January 2009, 17:51   #4
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Originally Posted by headers View Post
wow, Nice to understand that muscle cars share common PCD!
Please find me a single Beemer that qualifies as a muscle car?
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Old 30th January 2009, 19:49   #5
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Originally Posted by ImmortalZ View Post
Please find me a single Beemer that qualifies as a muscle car?
I guess he did'nt mean American Muscle cars. Like he said Indian Muscle car HM Contessa so Beemers can qualify as German Muscle cars. Mercs might come in a close second. and Audi can hang around between them.

@Shekaran; just kiddin bro, please dont mind.

Last edited by abhik : 30th January 2009 at 19:55.
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Old 30th January 2009, 20:14   #6
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Don't let any of the Euro lovers see that post abhi
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Old 30th January 2009, 21:29   #7
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Originally Posted by ImmortalZ View Post
Don't let any of the Euro lovers see that post abhi
I know bro! I dont want to make more enemies but how about a 70's Chevy Camero with a M5 heart transplant, should meet all sorts of Muscle Car requirements....Am-German Muscle Car for Shekaran.


PS: Now i am sure i wont be allowed on any of the American Muscle Car or German Car forums.
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Old 31st January 2009, 12:25   #8
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Default Various Tyre Options for the Contessa :

Option 1 : Change from OE to Same width/Lower Profile Tyres.
Name:  17580 to 17570.JPG
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Effects : Lowered car (Aprrox. 110mm ground clearance)

Option 2 : Change from OE to Wider Width/Lower Profile Tyres.
Name:  17580 to 18570.JPG
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Effects : A “little” lowered car (Approx. 126mm ground clearance)

Option 3 : Change from OE to Wider Width/Higher Profile Tyres.
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Effects : Approx. 157mm Ground Clearance + Slow Speedo Reading
Advantages : Better Suspension Feel, Good Ride Handling, Best Tyre Grip etc.,.

Option 4 : Change from OE to Wider Width/Higher Profile Tyres.
Name:  17580 to 19560R15.JPG
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Effects : Negligible - Correct Upsize from 13" to 15"
(BMW wheel rims + Ford Fusion Tyres)
Any more wider tyres will foul with the wheel wells, when steering is in full lock positions.

All these trial and errors had been physically done by me, and verified. Getting BMW wheel rims, will sometimes may be more then the value of the car itself.

People who want to have any other wheel rims have to resort to mechanical modifications in this aspect. my mechanic suggests that he can alter the hub holes, such that the gypsy wheel rims can be fitted - which is yet to be verified, in real life.

Friends who have done any such alterations, please share your knowledge and technical details, for other users.

Contessa Classic: upgraded to stay in contest - By Tutu Dhawan (an old review about the contessa)

THE term ‘luxury car’ is indeed a luxurious term for India. For, till recently, India did not have a true luxury car to speak of. Then came the Contessa and Fiat 118 NE, for the upper crust who could not afford to be part of the stratospheric lot who drove ‘firangi’ cars.

The Contessa thus got the coveted title of India’s first practical ‘luxury’ car (we are not talking about the imports of the Sixties). Contessa, which became a Classic in 1986, had an Isuzu powerplant displacing 1,817 cubic centimetres and for the first time in India, a 5-speed gear-box, featuring overdrive. The car also had a number of firsts to its credit, provided as factory-fitted. This included an electronic ignition system and an electric fuel pump.

Other state-of-the-art features included an adjustable dashboard rheostat, which could never be read in the night anyway, wooden dashboard panels, a long body for all those who believed big is beautiful and for the heavy right foot drivers a long crushing area to keep him safe in case of a crash.

The car had a decent pick-up and performance and the engine was literally bullet-proof - people used to do 2 lakh kilometres plus between overhauls. This was until the assault from lighter and faster cars such as Maruti’s Esteem, Daewoo’s Cielo and later, a host of others.

Over the years, a number of upgradations were done to the standard Contessa. Side impact bars were added, upholstery was improved, there was an attempt to improve the quality of fit, finish and furnishings and even power steering was added, but the basic mechanicals remained the same.

It is still one of the last remaining cars in India to feature rear-wheel drive. Anyway, the car had a great powerplant but tightening emission norms meant that the old carburettor had to make way for fuel injection. So good old Hindustan Motors went shopping and put in their master-stroke - a Bosch multi-point fuel injection (MPFI) system.

As a result of this, power was boosted to 82 bhp from the existing 74 and torque went up marginally to 14.3 kg. This has made almost no difference to the performance but the car is much smoother now and power delivery is seamless and smooth.

On the exterior, some changes have been made. Prominent among these is a black coloured spoiler with an integral LED stop lamp which is common across the model range and all Contessas since 1996 now come with twin headlamps, thereby addressing a long standing criticism of weak and unfocussed headlamps.

New for the exterior this time round is a new metal beading which runs along the side, and the aforementioned spoiler. The Contessa also gets smart new wheel caps and trendy colours like Champagne Gold and Kielder Green.

What however is annoying is that the petrol tank cap once more has reverted to the earlier system of being operable only from inside the boot. If the boot is full of luggage, for example, on a long trip, then much of it would be needed to be shifted before the awkward lever can be turned to loosen the cap. The lever is also quite fiddly and can take some getting used to. Although the petrol tank capacity is a massive 65 litres, which means that you would not like to burn a hole in your pocket too often, this system of refuelling is still a very inconvenient one.

Among other grouses were paint overruns especially in the back and badly fitting tail-lamp clusters. The quality of rubber in the boot and on the doors was also not up to the mark, which essentially means it came off! The spoiler looked as if it was stuck on by Araldite and the rear stop lamp refused to work. This is a shame, because the rest of the car had a very nice paint job and surprisingly, the doors fitted well and panel gaps were not too large. What must however be emphatically mentioned here is that the quality of the Contessa definitely seems to be improving, and the next few years should see fewer problems.

The interiors were better than the exterior. Polyurethane moulded seats of a design not very different from the Opel Astra have taken the place of the older seats and decent headrests now come fitted as standard. There is a rear centre seat arm-rest now like other cars in this segment and rear seat-belts too are standard equipment.

One thing worth mentioning here is the slumberette. This means that the front passenger seat can be folded flat for the big boss to put his feet upon, much like an airline first- class seat.

The glove-box is lit by two lamps. All very posh. Even the boot compartment has a light - this light existed in the older cars too, but now it is brighter. The boot space as can be expected is cavernous, but the high loading sill means luggage has to be lifted over and put inside, which could mean a lot of exercise. Best left to your servant.

Coming back to the interiors, though spartan they have massively improved in quality with good quality carpets and floor mats, all as standard. What is gone however is the extra two vents for the rear seats in the air-conditioning system which meant that backbenchers could have kept their cool faster. But cooling in a Contessa as most owners would agree, has never been a problem. That massive Sanden SD-508 compressor combined to a big condenser and evaporator, gives one of the best cooling effects of any Indian car and the interiors can turn into a fridge within minutes. No complaints certainly on the air-conditioning of this car at least! But the dashboard is still set too low which makes it difficult to read the instruments, more so in the night.

The steering wheel however is a meaty four spoke affair, enabling an excellent grip. It is genuinely one of the best steering wheels we have come across in any Indian car. Amazingly enough, Contessas can now be ordered with electric windows and central locking, factory-fitted. Child-proof rear door locks are standard.

One irritating feature here however is that the engine control module (ECM) is located in the passenger footwell area and front passengers would inevitably end up stepping on it. The wires also terminate rather untidily at the ECM which leads us to conclude that some wire might work lose this way.

Power delivery of the Contessa engine is now better. While it was always quite a refined unit, it manages to become smoother and fuel consumption is also down a little. We got around 10 kilometres to the litre with the air-conditioning on and about 11 kilometres without. These are city running figures, so long distance runs would be better. Pickup has not changed significantly as the Contessa remains a heavy car.

The car’s inherent problem of low ground clearance continues to plague it, with thuds and gashing sounds coming every time the Contessa goes over a speedbreaker. Otherwise, the car appears to run well, in fact, it is one of the quietest cars to run around in.

Today, in a world full of fancy cars with fancier names, many people tend to question the logic of buying a car like the Contessa, and not without reason. It is a ponderous car to drive, provided you are driving yourself.

In fact, in places of paid parking, the guy in charge would ask you double the amount of parking fees without batting an eyelid because of the length of the car, but it is one of the best cars to be chauffeured around in.

The back seat is most comfortable, air-conditioning excellent and the car has an extremely soft and compliant suspension, even though at times it rolls like a cargo ship on choppy waters. This car is to be recommended if you are willing to pass over small problems and faults and have a chauffeur. Then truly, as the advertisement mentions, it’s a limousine to every other car.

Courtesy - Tutu Dhawan
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Old 31st January 2009, 12:40   #9
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Default TDI INstallation on Contessa 1.8 Petrol

In the quest of lowering the carbon footprint of my beloved car ,i decided to install an efficent ignition system. Enter Eureka Tdi ignition,a product of Kiran Bhide.


The Tdi kit comprises of 4 seperate HT coils fixed over the spark plugs,attached to which are 4 amplifiers which provide the juice.


There are 4 sensors that are fitted in the delco housing and a magnet on the rotor. As the rotor turns, a magnetically induced signal is sent from the sensors to the amplifiers and then relayed to the HT coils. The Kit functioning is highly simple and there is even a wire output for hooking a tachometer(auto gauge rpm meter).


The TDI kit is configured to be used with bosch 4 head spark plugs,this was also provided with the kit,so no headache of buying any extra parts.

The TDi kit takes approximately 2 hours to 4 hours to fit depending on the car.so get your favourite music and your preffered snacks.

Conclusion-the performance of the car is dramatically improved from a “shaking stevens to a smooth criminal”.It becomes so smooth and refined ,that it actually feels like the car has mpfi, fuel injection system.

Average was the main reason i installed this kit, it has gone up by 2 km in city, it doesnt seem much, but in a contessa it sure does. Load factor addage like an ac system also works well using the tdi kit, so no change in that dept.

Overall an excellent pleasure of drivability ,really worth 4500/-
Eureka Tdi ignition (Mr.Kiran Bhide) Mahakali caves road-Andheri E.
022 - 28321645 or 65783949
mobile : 9820914008

Ps-Caution while accelerating, because after installing the TDI kit when i went to reverse my contessa from parking i accidentally hit a wall, this was unbelivable even for a slightly experienced driver like me, so u have to be a bit careful while accelerating as the kit is quite sensitive and responsive.

Considerations, while replacing Diesel Engine.

For Contessas with petrol engines, following are the guidelines one should consider while replacing it with ISUZU diesel engines.

1. Front suspension Springs : Petrol conty’s have soft springs, cos the engine weight is 180kg while diesel engine weights around 270kg, so u need Diesel Contessa’s springs.

2. The Radiator needs a modification, cos the direction of intake/outake hoses is different for Diesel engines, they are just opposite of petrol engines. also hoses needs to be replaced with diesel types.

3. Extra Timer device is needed for heater[Glow Plugs] in electrical wiring, in order to facilitate cold starting conditions.

4. Battery needs a replacement. Petrol engines need 45A-55A battery while Diesel are high compression engines therefore in order to start them a bigger SELF motor is employed which draws more current , so 65A-90A Battery mainly AMARON HARVEST TRACTOR battery is suited.

5. Air Filter Mounting: If you prefer Dry type Airfilter than a mating adapter is required to match the opening of air intake manifold with that of air filter.
But if you prefer Wet Oil type Air Filter then just you need a Hose to connect the manifold to Air Filter.

6. The fendition mountings, especially the left one is required a slight cut of 12mm around interlocking clamps. the rubber mounting are no need to change if they are fine. Its just to facilitate the diesel engine lubrication fuel pump to have some free space in order to accomodate jerks while cranking the engine or vibrations.

7. A new Set of Diesel Filter and its housing is required to be bolted on to the chassis, probably on left side near the battery.

8. All petrol wiring which includes connection to ignition coil needs to be cut, cos they are no longer in use. An additional wire from ignition switch / relay is used for oil pump.

9. The temperature guage sensor is on left in petrol engines while its on right side in diesel engines, so wire needs an extention of around 1metre.

Courtesy – Yohan from Orkut

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Thanking You for your anticipated co-operation

The Team-BHP Support

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Old 27th February 2009, 01:50   #10
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Hey KS..havent seen this thread for a while.Good amount of info. and now you have turned to be the master batsman.
Great going, i have subscribed this thread and will be hearing from you and all and writing whenever possible.
cheers
mike
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Old 27th February 2009, 07:39   #11
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hey shekaran, thats a nice instal that you have done. Would like to see your contessa next time you are in Chennai..

OR if we guys plan a trip to Pondy!

cheers
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Old 27th February 2009, 07:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyer View Post
Hey KS..havent seen this thread for a while.Good amount of info. and now you have turned to be the master batsman.
Great going, i have subscribed this thread and will be hearing from you and all and writing whenever possible.
cheers
mike

Have you managed to sell your ride? I been away for a while and kinda lost track.
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Old 27th February 2009, 13:21   #13
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No, i am not at all thinking of even selling my conti, as it has become my first love, ( as per my wifey, hahah...) and mechanically, i am making it perfect, from the advices, tips from miyer, especially. actually miyer is the best man to ask anything about the conti, in this whole world. his intricate explanations, and defenitions in understanding of minute poblems, always keeps me amazed, at this man, and his superb conti.
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Old 27th February 2009, 15:17   #14
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Hey thanks KS.!!!! for all the good words and acknowledge the little knowledge I share once in a while.
By the way AG was asking about my car (Quotes) and I guess you mistook it for yours, that’s ok.
Cheers
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Old 27th February 2009, 17:08   #15
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hey miyer, any buyers yet ??
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