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Old 18th November 2016, 22:11   #1
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Thumbs up Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II

A majestic 1974 Ambassador Mark II adopted my FIATian friend Arun Srinivasan. Oh yeah! Read on… It was previously owned by Mr. Rao of Mysore since 1981. Initially registered in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, was later re-registered to Mysore. Mr. Rao being a Mechanical Engineer, maintained this car very well throughout and had been his daily runner. Since his Daughter was insisting him to drive a newer easier car since last 3 years, he wanted to part it away. It took a while for him to finally make the decision. He was keen to let her go only to some one who can value such a beauty and take good care like he has done thus far.

Mr. Rao read an article about Arun's Fiats on Deccan Herald newspaper article in recent past. Luckily, he could connect to Arun as his contact number was mentioned in the article. On 13th November, at 8pm, Mr. Rao spoke to Arun about his FIATs and was having a casual conversation. He then asked Arun generally if had any contacts with Ambassador enthusiasts who would like to own his Amby. It was Arun's long-time dream to own a Mark II as his granddad owned one. He was never serious about it though. Arun was super excited to hear this and asked Mr. Rao to immediately mail him the pics of the Ambassador. In 10 mins, Mr. Rao mailed the pics and Arun immediately forwarded the mail to Srinivas Chakravarthy and me. The car appeared very good in the pics and the price quoted too sounded reasonable.

Below are the two news paper articles which appeared recently, all thanks to FIAT 1100 Club Bangalore. Impressed with our love for old cars, Mr. Rao got in touch with us.

Deccan Herald Link
Quote:
Vintage cars were a childhood passion for Arun Srinivasan, an IT professional, who says the first car in the family was a Fiat and it continues to command the love and respect of the family. The belief that the Fiat has a definite soul and character that most modern cars lack, is what drew Arun to this classic vehicle that has stood the test of time.
Driven by a passion
Quote:
The look is classic old school, but the coverage is ahead of its time’ is what most vintage car owners would say. Thanks to their love for Fiat cars, four friends got together to form a club called ‘Fiat 1100 Club Bangalore (FCB)’ in 2009. Arun Srinivasan, Karthik Makam, Karthik B Mallur and Sujith Thomas met first on Orkut, then in person and eventually decided to form the club.
Arun's Grandfather owned a cream color Mark II in the '70s. Having spent his early childhood in this car in the mid '80s, Mark II was very close to his heart.
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Incidentally, his Grandfather's car too was green originally as per the regn details!
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The other two Ambassadors at his home were his father's office cars in late '90s. Both were Ambassador 1.8 Isuzu.

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On Monday 14th November, Arun and me decided to go to Mysore and check out the car personally and to see if our expectations are met for the price, we intended to buy the car and drive it home. On Tuesday 15th November, Arun and me boarded the 10:30am train from Bangalore and went to Mysore.

Bangalore railway station
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Mysore Railway station. That's not cash in the bag, but some tools.
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Our Dear friend from Mysore; Srinivas Chakravarthy (schakravarthy on this Forum) was kind enough to pick us from the Mysore Railway Station in his Hindustan Motors Cedia.

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We had quick lunch and headed to Mr. Rao's home.
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Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2016 at 09:10. Reason: Links to articles, thanks for sharing & congrats!
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Old 18th November 2016, 22:37   #2
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Default Re: Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II

Mr. Rao was eagerly waiting for us. We went in and he welcomed us to his home. He gave a brief introduction of the car, showed the documents and everything was up to date. FC till Oct 2018 and Insurance till Sept 2017. We were happy that the documents were in order. He then took us near the car garage to show us his car. We were so excited and were waiting patiently to see the car. The Ambassador was neatly parked in the closed garage. He opened the garage, sat in the car, and half crank, the car started. By now we were decided that this car is OURS! The car came in search of Arun and adopted him?


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I did not drive the car until we hit the highway heading home. Yes, I did not even bother to test drive before Arun made the purchase. A 2 min visual inspection of the car and 10 seconds of hearing the sweet and crisp engine note, I just told Arun my opinion to go ahead with buying formalities. He anyways was fixated to buy as it was his heart talking. My opinion and perspectives were purely practical as usual. The first and only test drive was by Mr Rao himself. We just sat next to him for about 1.5kms short drive. He showed us how quickly he could upshift at even low rpms with 4 on board. Arun drove the last 1km back to Rao's home. The drive also was more or less a formality. It was really registered in our mind that the car was ours.

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Post the drive, he parked the car back inside.

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Came back to his home, negotiated the price quoted and then there was the task of payment. Due to demonetization, only option was online transfer/ IMPS. Due to IMPS limits, three of us divided the amount and did the online transfer. One of our card payment gateway was cranky. Our friend Venkat back in Bangalore was on standby to make a payment from his account. A big thanks for the his timely help. A very special thanks to how well our banking transactions have progressed in our country in last few years. Post this we did the transfer paper work. Mr. Rao now handed over the keys to us and gave a quick demo of the car.

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Mrs. and Mr. Rao. Proud owners of the car since 1981. Surely would have been a tough moment for them to hand over the car to us.
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Arun posing with owners.
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Arun, Srinivas Chakravarthy and yours truly.
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Co-incidentally, all of Aruns classic cars are 3 digit. 297, 331 and now 282.
This time, the preceding characters are also 3 (CNV)!

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Last edited by funkykar : 18th November 2016 at 22:52.
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Old 18th November 2016, 22:56   #3
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Default Re: Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II

After all the purchase formalities, it was time for the most exciting time of the day; DRIVING back to Bangalore!!

Odometer at the start of our new journey!
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We proud FIATians, now AMBYians too! We have been waiting for this moment for years! Both of us in a Ambassador!!
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Srinivas Chakravarthy drove ahead of us till the gas station and further till the Bangalore highway. SUPER thanks to you Bhpian friend for spending half day with us!
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Gangsta car!!
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Note slot for the tolls and small purchases while on the move.
Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II-arun-amby-23.jpg
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Old 18th November 2016, 23:23   #4
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Default Re: Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II

Arun always for some reason dreamt of me and him driving in an Amby. So he insisted me to drive. Of course, once wheel is handed to me, I don’t return such favours, who so ever the car belongs to. LOL. At the first moment, I was bit sceptic and had butterflies in my stomach. Never ever drove an Amby. The picture I had painted in my mind was Amby's aren’t fun to drive. Its a boring car to drive. Though I have always admired and adored this car.

My mind was set for a terrible handling car with a terrible gearbox. All this theoretical knowledge and mainly in comparison with our other favorite FIAT 1100. This Amby surprised me. May be my mind over a period of time preset a little bad opinion on Amby unknowingly. The Amby also felt so roomy in comparison to the Padmini S1 I drive daily. I got into a very comfortable position and found it difficult to slot the gears. Experience driving the column shift S1 paid off. I found the gear shifter to be much longer in length. One needs to tread its path to slot gears. It doesn't smoothly slot like the S1, neither does it need constant declutching like the vanilla Padminis. It still needed me to get used to. Thanks to the super duper low end torque this car had, I literally had to change gears very very rarely. While I kept driving, everything seemed to get better and better. By the time we reached Maddur, I had a complete hang of things.

My very first Amby long drive!
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Supermoon day!!
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We stopped at Hotel Empire on Mysore road for dinner.

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I was as comfortable as driving my Padmini S1. Oh yeah, the brakes are old school and not as effective as Padmini. But it was in good condition and the stopping distance wasnt bad. The steering response felt pretty Ok, much better than what I expected. From Maddur onwards, I really upped the speed and was matching any modern day car and gave a run for their money. I am sure, I would have hurt a lot of newer car owners ego hurt. By this time, I already told Arun over 10 times that car was much more than what he paid for. Even if it was 2X, it was still worth.

For Arun, anyways the car is more of values and its history. He was ecstatic that it was awesome even in practical sense. He would have even settle if the car ran just average and he could use it occasionally on a lazy Sunday afternoon void of city traffic. Now, he can use it as a daily drive also, such good is this car. I too have fallen in love with this car. I am going to give Arun a tough time by borrowing it often. I am going to make him feel, if he really bought this car or if it was me

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By 22:30, we were home. Whatta fantastic drive it was!!

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Last edited by funkykar : 18th November 2016 at 23:48.
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Old 18th November 2016, 23:39   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II

That very night, his family were eagerly waiting for the Ambassador to come home.

A quick drive! A nostalgic drive for Arun's mom, driving along in an Ambassador after close to 3 decades.
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Parked safely.
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The Ambassador along with the Padmini, more or less represent yester decades of our country. For many of our yester-generations, a car means one of these. Back then, most families treated a car as good as family member and car was part of few generations of any family. Ambassador to an extent has been an unsung hero in our country's history. Arun is very proud to own it. Our heartfelt thanks to Distinguished-Bhpian DrAnjan Chatterjee, who has motivated so many Ambassador fans to own a Amby rather than just admire and for giving quick inputs on the car which helped us make this wonderful decision of welcoming an Ambassador into a FIATian's home.
The most iconic Landmaster!
Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II-11.jpg

Last edited by funkykar : 18th November 2016 at 23:56.
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Old 19th November 2016, 07:16   #6
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Post-War Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th November 2016, 11:06   #7
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Quote:
Note slot for the tolls and small purchases while on the move.
Attachment 1576410
My folks had a 1974 Mark 2 Ambassador bought in Madras in April 1974 Brand new. It was finally sold to a chap in Chikmagalur just before my Dad retired from service.
That "note slot" as you call it, was actually an ash tray positioned on the dashboard top. It could also be used as a coin slot but getting the coins out was a pain as I remember from my childhood. My Dad used to use it as an ashtray because it could be removed and cleaned every day.

Last edited by Aditya : 19th November 2016 at 12:29. Reason: Fixing quote tag
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Old 19th November 2016, 12:19   #8
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Default Re: Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II

That is quite a find. The fact that he parked it inside speaks volumes on his commitment towards maintaining a car, even after he has decided to sell it.
Not to sound fussy, but methinks the OE Steering wheel with the indicator stalk and rexin covered seat covers will complete the classic image. It takes a very brave man to own an Amby in this era. Best wishes to you and your amby.
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Old 19th November 2016, 12:21   #9
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Lovely report of a legend that put India on wheels. It's great to see such ownership reviews where the car is treated with love and care like a family member. Wish the new owner great drives and sweet memories with this cozy house on wheels.

I so miss my Fiat Premier Padmini! We had the car for 18 years and eventually it was sold off due to rusting and spare parts issue.

I must say these cars had character which very few modern cars possess.

I wish I had held on to my Fiat and made extra efforts to restore it!
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Old 19th November 2016, 14:30   #10
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This reminds me of our white Amby with fancy number 9999. It is under restoration for ages now. Not sure if it will come back to life ever :(
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Old 19th November 2016, 14:36   #11
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Lovely writeup!

I drove a Ambassador Mark IV (I think) intermittently from 1986 to 1999. It was super easy to drive. It was the petrol variant with gears behind the steering and not the diesel with the Isuzu engine and floor gears.
This belonged to the company that I worked for. The company drivers were the regular users. I used to drive a couple of times per week.
For 2~3 years I drove the Padmini of my boss - ON and OFF. Like you have noted, it was definitely less spacious. However, it did feel easier to drive.
The Mark IV required regular doses of 'push start'. My wife could not drive at that time and landed up pushing that heavy vehicle many a time.

You have triggered a lot of memories! Thank you!!

Regards,

Girish Mahajan
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Old 19th November 2016, 15:41   #12
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Ahhhh... this sure does bring back a flood of memories! My own first car was a 1974 Amby and would you believe it - the exact same colour. I bought it in 1984 and kept it for 7 years before going in for a Maruti 800.
I am sure the Raos must have felt a pang (a big one at that) on seeing it go.
Congrats to your friend Arun - I'm sure he will enjoy driving it.
If memory serves me right I think my Amby's steering wheel was different. This one must have been changed somewhere down the line.
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Old 19th November 2016, 17:54   #13
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Never dreamt that the car I learn't driving on way back in school would be in my lifetime itself be a classic.

The instrument panel does not look like original. But then there had been som many changes in Amby that one could easily mix up.
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Old 19th November 2016, 19:02   #14
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Nice report Karthik, thanks for sharing
Congratulations to your friend Arun, wishing him a joyous ownership experience with this beauty.

Brought back nostalgic memories from my childhood
My uncle was in Mysore and all the cars he had were Amby's during the late 70's and 80's and I was a very happy child passenger on several trips between Bangalore-Mysore, oh those benches were like sofas! And the Bangalore-Mysore SH 17 those days was an undivided road, actually an avenue with the beautiful (Gulmohar ?) trees lined along the road.

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Old 19th November 2016, 19:56   #15
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Congrats Arun - if you're reading this thread! You're indeed lucky to get such a well-cared for/long ownership car! Though my battery charging is usually weak in the Amby dept., I don't hesitate from complimenting a well-maintained,'unmolested' example! I hope you're able to replace the few non-original bits on the car soon! And I suspect most of them (viz. steering wheel) can still be had?
Also personally hope you make space and vitamin M to acquire one more 'unsung hero/ine' of post-Independence Indian motoring history! You'll know which one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkykar View Post
The reverse light fitted onto the bumper looks very like (but can't confirm without a closer look) the Lucas L661 unit used on British cars of the 60s. Is it working? If not, I should have one to spare!

http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/9zIAAO...ar/s-l1600.jpg
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