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Old 11th May 2015, 10:47   #1
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Default 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Time for another restoration restoration project, again a Standard, but this time a 1974 Gazel - a contender for the coveted post of India's ugliest car , though something about it has always had me fond of them. This was the final iteration of the Herald (you can read my previous thoughts on the Herald development here (1966 Standard Herald Mark II - Restoration))

While not enough is known on exact timelines for the Herald, even less is known about the Gazel. To be honest I cannot say with confidence when the model was actually introduced. An old Auto India issue from the 90s chronicling the Indian automotive milestones puts the date as 1970, as a replacement to the Mark III. I would have thought they came in around 1971 or 72. And just now a senior collector informs me that they were introduced in September 1972, and discontinued in early 1975.

Even today by and large it is not considered collectable, though more and more people are beginning to understand its significance. Though often referred to as India's first indigenous car, it really is more of a heavy facelift to the 4 door (India specific) Standard Herald Mark III. The front end mimicked the Triumph Herald 13/60, though was an all new design. The rear lost the trademark tail fins, and now had a plain boxy end with nondescript rectangular taillights. The only thing in my opinion that was a success was the fully redesigned (fibre?) dash, with ornate details and an oval cluster for the gauges, and an assortment of piano key switches. The glove box sported a neat Triumph shield shaped button, and the whole dash was painted silver grey. Mechanically I think the only changes were to the rear axle - the independent axle system of the Herald was discarded for a tried and tested rigid axle (taken from the Triumph Toledo/Standard 10?) The short stubby gear lever was replaced by a longer cranked unit like the 10, and a bench seat replaced the individual ones we saw in Heralds.

Here was one I had seen years back, later chopped and doing wedding duties, now probably scrapped. When I was in college (which wasn't too long ago) cars like these were available for under 10,000 rupees - yes, the price of battery and tyres. How I wish that were still true.

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The dash (from another car) showing the ivory switches
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Here are some brochure scans I had found many years back for what we now call the Mark I model. Like with most brochures, there are inconsistencies with some features - this car shows the later bonnet but earlier handles.

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Here is an owner's manual and service booklet borrowed from a friend

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Some years later (1972/74?) came an updated version, what we have come to call the Mark II, though never officially designated as such. The car lost its large one piece forward hinged bonnet to get a familiar rear hinged smaller piece - what we locally referred to as 'Fiat-type bonnet'. Exterior door handles were replaced by Fiat 1100 D/Premier Padmini items, and I think the aluminium badges had the lettering pressed 'in' instead of stamped 'out'. I have seen many bumper configurations - chrome and body coloured, with and without guards, so I can't say for sure what came when. Ditto for side trims - maybe on some later models they were deleted altogether, not sure.

Here is a nice car that was in Bangalore. Note the pressings in the panel behind the front wheel - where the bonnet opening levers were deleted. I like the period colour, though not factory. According to a brochure, the original colours offered were Black, White, Conifer green (the colour of my Herald Mk 2), Copper Blue (my favorite, a medium blue) and Buckskin, which must have been some kind of brown. Incidentally my car is powder blue, which also must have been offered later.

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Smart looking dash - note the black dash switches.
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Here is a brochure scan for the Mark II

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Here is an owner's manual for the Mark II

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And I was lucky to get an original Parts Catalogue for items specific to the Gazel

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There was also a stationwagon version - while I've never seen one (and wonder if any survive), I did see a fibre rear hatch at a scrapyard years back.

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Plus one is featured in what seems to be an old world car guide. It seems to be named Standard Break?

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I really hope that anyone who can remember these sort of details to please share them - its a shame we have no reference material for most Indian cars of the era. I am sure resident Standard motors guru Stanher will contribute, having owned one for many years.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 13th May 2015 at 10:19.
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:15   #2
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Default re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

After having been badly bitten by the Herald bug, it was but natural that I would want a Gazel. When original (and cheap) cars were available, I had no means. When some means became available, the cars dried up. But on a visit to Bangalore in December last year (in my Herald no less), KPS mentioned to me about a car being available, a 1974 Mark II. Apparently owned by an elderly professor from new, and having covered very low milage. Bought new in Bangalore, the car travelled to Rajasthan in the 80s, and subsequently returned to Bangalore - unfortunately giving an ugly registration plate.

The car was standing for a while, but all the hard to find bits were in place, and very original. The only thing missing was the windscreen (which I am still looking for!). A gas kit had been fitted, though the car was supposedly laid up soon after, so I'm hoping no major damage was done.

These are the pictures I got.

She certainly has looks that take getting used to! Not the image that comes to mind when you use the graceful gazelle for a name.
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Some surface rust visible here and there, but the windscreen frames were mostly clean barring a corner, so I was hoping most of the important portions were unaffected
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This would be a body coloured bumper version - probably a result of value engineering. Note the rare trim around the lights - they rarely survive.
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Looks messy, but most things in place. I'm not sure whether the horn button should be plain black or have a Standard Triumph shield like Heralds.
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Indicators original, and shared with Fiat Delights. Side trims all present and in good shape - impossible to find these days.
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Hard to find trim and sidelights intact
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So much for my surface rust theory
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The odo reads 12,500 kms
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The original Hella taillights - I think some commercial vehicles use them even today.
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A deal was struck, and I'm very grateful to KPS and his father for their help. We took delivery in January. Since the car was in Bangalore, I entrusted the restoration work to bulletboy's 'Jalopy Shop', and he's doing a great job so far, with the right approach and attitude.

My initial desire was to keep as much of the paint as possible, even if ends up being a 'rat-looker'. But I don't see that as a practical alternative, there is too much to renew.

I am really looking forward to hear feedback from the more experienced members here, whether we are going about it the right way, any methods of improvement and so on. Criticism, constructive or otherwise, is always welcome.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 13th May 2015 at 10:38.
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:32   #3
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Default re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

26th Jan 2015

We took delivery and had the car taken over to the workshop. Here is a more detailed look at what we were working with

Rust was obviously worse than it looked in the initial pictures
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Interiors seemed all original, with rare white beading. Can anyone confirm the door pad design to be correct?
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I'm trying to look at the bright side - the rubber gromet over the petrol gauge is intact
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Gas kit of no use. More alarming rust.
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Rare wheel rims with thinner ventilation slats compared to the Herald.
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Luckily all 4 hubcaps came with the car
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More rust...
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Unique air filter and master cylinder reservoirs
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Last edited by karlosdeville : 11th May 2015 at 13:47.
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Old 11th May 2015, 12:45   #4
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Default re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Work started only in the end of March once everyone was free (and money was saved up!)

27th March 2015

The teardown begins. 40 years of dirt and grime.

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-01.jpg

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The doors don't look too bad, even the original protective wax paper is still there.

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-09.jpg

8th April 2015

The decision is taken to first strengthen the body before taking it off the chassis - the whole lower half has to be remade.

Rotten bits are cut out, and used as template for replacement. Its imperative to use fresh, rust free patra to start with. Seam welding is employed for a better seal. Pankaj (bulletboy) assures me that all unsightly welds will be ground down to a good finish, which is the normal procedure.
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13th April 2015

Work on the flooring continues. Wonder what this strange depression/cavity is for - adjustment of seat and handbrake lever?
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Epoxy primer regularly applied as and when portions are completed.
1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-12.jpg
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Last edited by karlosdeville : 13th May 2015 at 10:31.
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Old 11th May 2015, 13:40   #5
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Default re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

14th - 17th April 2015

Both the front footwell portions had completely disintegrated, with just a little bit of the edges visible to confirm the pattern is the same as the Herald, with a central spine and ribs for channelling water to the drainhole.

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A paper template was used to get the basic shape, and I am quite pleased with the result. Rust protection at every stage.

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21st April 2015

After some cleanup this is what we were left with of the boot area - I'm actually glad I didn't see the car up close, I probably wouldn't have bought it knowing the car was so bad.
1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-09.jpg

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-10.jpg

Probably the main reason why so few Gazels survive - they all just fell to pieces! Standard Motors probably had no useful anti corrosion measures
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Last edited by karlosdeville : 11th May 2015 at 13:49.
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Old 11th May 2015, 13:51   #6
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Default re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

28th - 29th April 2015

The remains of the boot floor were cut out, and templates made for a whole new floor.

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One piece was discarded after the pattern was rejected.

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06th May 2015

The body was finally off the chassis, and scraped down for final primer

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-11.jpg

The diagonal beam welded on the floor was probably for reinforcement? It was originally on the car, so we had it replicated.

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-12.jpg

Remains of the original
1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-13.jpg

08th May 2015

Work continues on finishing the underbody
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Filling up pinholes in the wheelarches.
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Chassis looks surprisingly sold and rot free, but these pictures were in the dark. This is actually the first time I am seeing a Gazel chassis - I wonder if anyone else has ever done a frame up job on a Gazel.
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09th May 2015

Here is the chassis in daylight - still looks good enough, I was fearing the worst looking at the rest of the car.

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-21.jpg

I was so happy to see the fixed rear axle and coil spring arrangement - most Herald users will echo my sentiment!
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The wheel arches were coated with tar/pitch anti rust treatment, which saved some parts of the car

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The completed underbody - a wasted effort on a lowly Gazel my friends tell me, but I couldn't be happier

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Work was also on for starting the engine - look at the sludge that came out!

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The engine fired, sounds ok, but after doing so much work on the rest of the car we decided that we will strip the engine as well and take stock.

Last edited by karlosdeville : 13th May 2015 at 10:36.
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Old 13th May 2015, 14:03   #7
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Classic Car Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th May 2015, 14:12   #8
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Karl, I've often wondered how they manage to get the ridges impressed on the metal sheet whenever a part of the floor pan or any other panel is restored?
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Old 13th May 2015, 14:39   #9
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Glad to see the work on the car and she seems to be shaping up very well.

When I sent Karl the pictures of this car, his reaction was "you are going to get me into trouble!". The attraction was the originality of the car and Karl knew this was not to be missed. The small trim pieces were all there. The price was a big issue but Karl took the leap after some sustained negotiation.

The chassis and the engine condition is a big plus on this car.

Bulletboy is doing a great job as usual.

Look forward for a ride in the finished car. May we should do the Ooty--> Coorg --> Bangalore leg of the Southern Trail route, which the Herald missed last November.

Cheers

KPS
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Old 13th May 2015, 14:57   #10
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

As always. Restoration stories are a delight. Please keep it coming.
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Old 13th May 2015, 14:59   #11
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by moralfibre View Post
Karl, I've often wondered how they manage to get the ridges impressed on the metal sheet whenever a part of the floor pan or any other panel is restored?
Since we obviously cannot make a die/press for a one-off panel, a skilled worker beats in the ridges with hand tools. With modern cars usually there is much less panel beating, with replace taking importance over repair. Skilled panel beaters are becoming harder and harder to find.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KPS View Post
Look forward for a ride in the finished car. May we should do the Ooty--> Coorg --> Bangalore leg of the Southern Trail route, which the Herald missed last November.
Sounds good. The plan is of course to eventually drive back home to Pune.

13th May 2015

Stripping down to bare frame continues. Corrosion/rot is centred around the underside of the chassis at the front

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-01.jpg

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1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-03.jpg

1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-04.jpg

The bare front end assembly
1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration-05.jpg
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Old 13th May 2015, 15:03   #12
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
Stripping down to bare frame continues. Corrosion/rot is centred around the underside of the chassis at the front
The bare front end assembly
Do consider sand blasting the chassis.

For body panels: Soda blast (Soda Blasting in Bangalore: Strip any coating from any surface)

I sorely miss having a Aqua blasting facility for engine restoration. :(


Last edited by moralfibre : 13th May 2015 at 15:04.
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Old 13th May 2015, 15:04   #13
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

What a delightful thread for an unsung car !
thanks for sharing, hooked on to this thread now !
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Old 13th May 2015, 15:26   #14
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlosdeville View Post
Time for another restoration restoration project, again a Standard, but this time a 1974 Gazel. To be honest I cannot say with confidence when the model was actually introduced. A senior collector informs me that they were introduced in September 1972, and discontinued in early 1975.
Dear Karl - CONGRATULATIONS! I know for sure that a brand new Standard Gazel was registered in 1980 as the company car of Mr.Ashok Sonalkar of M&M Kandivli, when I had joined there as a trainee. The car was light green in color and the number was MMU something. This means that in 1980, Gazel was in production.

I suggest that if you really want to make this chassis and suspension parts like brand new, you must get these things CED coated. It will be a big hassle to do besides being very costly, but it is the best way.

ALL THE BEST!

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 13th May 2015, 16:17   #15
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Default Re: 1974 Standard Gazel - Restoration

Karl,
Although not quite my kind of car, congratulations . The work is being systematically carried out and I am sure the end result will be pleasing.

Maybe she will join us later this year to Gujarat and beyond??
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