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Old 19th July 2008, 21:16   #1
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Default My Lady Love in Black (1955 Landmaster)

It had never occurred to me that BYJ 276 will be mine. The Landmaster has been a one-owner car since December 23rd 1955, till 2003. the late Mr Balamukund Kamathikar, its first owner, who passed away at the age of 82 years on July 19,2007, was the grandson of Rai Bahadur D. Laxminarayan. His wife Mrs D. Bahnabai,had been driven in this car till 1984, the year she breathed her last. The late D. Laxminarayan was a philanthropist, who in 1935, had donated about Rs 35 lakhs, a princely sum in cash those days and tens of acres of land in Nagpur city for the Nagpur University. In fact, Drs Homi Babha, Raja Ramanna both Chairmen, Atomic Energy Commission, Govt of India and Bal Gandharva, the classical singer , have all been driven in this car. When important cases used to come up, Shri D. N. Sheorey alias Dadasaheb, the then Advocate General of CP and Berar State, liked to be driven to the court in this car, as it proved lucky for him. The day this car was sold, in 2003, Mr Balamukund was so sad that he skipped his meals! He was the one who kept the car spick and span, all the 48 years!
As the car was not in regular use for the last few years, it took me some months to make it road-worthy. Mr Mahesh Misal has also struggled to get the car back in top shape. To my very pleasant surprise, Mr Chandrakant Birla, Chairman, Hindustan Motors, India responded personally to my request with a very cordial reply. He was happy that I could buy a Landmaster in mint condition and sent me a 350 page, Xeroxed workshop manual of the car, free of cost. The car's British name was Morris Oxford Series II and is more than 90 % British. Messrs Hindustan Motors, Calcutta, India, manufactured 11600 Landmasters during April 1954 to March 1957. These were available in grey, green, beige, and black colours. Only a hundred odd of them may still be roadworthy. Most of the post-war British cars of the 1950’s are an embodiment of the marvels of design, engineering, and technology. The British car industry was at its zenith then. In fact, the world’s top-rated manufacturers were located in the U.K. until the early 1970’s. The solid- build quality of these cars is sorely missed these days in the Japanese and Korean imports that have flooded the Indian market.
My tryst with this car has created quite a few anecdotes, but I 'll like to share a few. An old friend appeared one day and upon seeing the car said," this car is like the ones shown in old black and white Bollywood movies, where villians kill someone and put the corpse in the cavernous luggage boot, to carry it for dumping. This twist begins the film plot.” Once in 2003, while ferrying my daughter Onjula, to her school in Sadar, Nagpur, the car stalled at a traffic signal and became a barrier for the traffic to move on, at the turn of green. My instant worry was - 15 minutes for the school bell to ding-dong. I sighted another father ferrying his son wearing the school uniform, to the same school and waved at his car requesting him for a lift. He immediately agreed and it shows that the Orange City of Nagpur still has many good Samaritans. A police constable on duty at the West High Court Road helped me push the Landmaster to the roadside - another Good Samaritan. I wish I could photograph him doing such a splendid job in uniform! A lot of petrol had purged on the road- maybe all of five litres. The fault was traced to the cylindrical, carburettor float, which is of brass. The float had sunk within the float chamber of the SU (Skinners Union) carburettor, instead of floating. The float had a leaking joint that made it fill up with petrol.
I have also become a member of the famed Morris Cowley, Oxford and Issis Owner's Club of Oxford, UK and the upcoming and vibrant Hertiage Vehicle Owner's Club of Thane

The Hitavada( a vernacular newspaper from Nagpur) - ICJC Vintage and Classic Car Rally of 2004 and 2007 were a pleasure to take part in. I had pasted a copy of Mr C. K. Birla's letter on the windshield, which attracted many viewers. While on the move, many enthusiastic onlookers waved and cheered us. During the nearly 45 kms run the solidly built car, drove like a fortress on wheels and never faltered even once. Its hats off to Babubhai and Noorabhai, the two garage owners and doyens, who have repaired such cars since decades. For my Mrs and daughter, it was a very memorable drive.In 2007 we won the Best Maintained Classic Car (runner up ) award among the nearly 50 cars that had participated.
I know, this is a piece of history. The “Lady in Black,” with its gleaming paint and British chrome-work, refuses to succumb to the vagaries of weather, even after 51 years! Its mechanism is simple to work upon for a D I Y enthusiast like me. Be it either body shell or the mechanicals like the engine and transmission or the electricals-these are quite user-friendly and always thrilling to handle and repair. While doing the repair jobs I often get pleasantly surprised to see “Made in England” tags on many components that are serving tirelessly since 51 years! Touchwood! Even Sir William Morris called the Oxford simple, reliable, and well-engineered machines. It was Britain’s best-selling car for many years.
My Landmaster instantly acknowledges and responds to any repair and/or maintenance job performed upon it. The response is felt through the steering and gas pedal, that show a marked improvement in the performance sweepstakes after almost every such job. The newer cars are not so instantly responsive sometimes, even if one or more spares are replaced. “Replacement of parts” is a somewhat alien phrase for my “Lady in Black.” Most of its components are repairable, which is a boon as spares are not so easy to come by. The present –day cars have just a few repairable components. I have now started building up a spares stockpile for my Landmaster. The parking and taillight covers need the most frequent replacements. So also the wiper blades, distributor rotor, and fan belt are subject to wear and tear. I have stockpiled these along with some other mechanicals and electricals.
The car weighs 1120Kg and is fitted with the 1489cc, side valve B M C engine. The contemporary Morris Oxford Series II in the U.K., then used to be fitted with the 1489cc, O H V, B M C engines. The side valve engine was carried over from the Hindustan 14 (Morris Oxford Series I) to the Landmaster by Messrs Hindustan Motors . The same engine was fitted to older Ambassadors (Morris Oxford Series III) during 1958-59. In 1960, the proven 1489 cc O H V, B M C engine made its debut in India and continued its innings till 1992, when it was replaced by the 4 cyl, 1817cc/ 75bhp/ 135Nm Isuzu engine to power the Ambassador. The Ambassador was and still rules the roost as a VIP car in India. It is a potent symbol of power and despite the Indian car market being flooded with a galaxy of cars right from the Maruti Suzuki Alto to the Rolls Royce Phantom, most VIP’s prefer the ubiquitous Ambassador with a beacon. Prime Ministers in India until only a few years ago used the Ambassador. The terror-threats since the mid 1980’s made many VIP’s beef-up their security by ordering armour- plated Ambassadors. Thus, the first of the VIP fleet cars were fitted with the Isuzu engines in the mid-1980’s, as the 1489 cc engine was underpowered and less torquey to power the heavier body shell. With the introduction of peppier cars in competition, this engine became the heart of all Ambassadors since 1992. The Ambassador has turned 50 in India in 2008!
I can recollect that sometime in 1999, some trans-continental rallyists participating in a vintage car rally had touched Mumbai. They were commemorating 100 years of the automobile and one rallyist driving a 1912, Rolls Royce, Silver Ghost quipped, " Most of us know our cars like the back of our hands, in fact better than our wives. The cars have been with us, longer. The cars' eccentricities can be tackled with greater ease, whereas our wives eccentricities, sometimes attack our nerves !These cars thus have much simpler mechanisms as compared to our better halves."

So who says 'Yours Truly' cannot have two wives? The real one and the other my "The Lady in Black"! Will post pictures very soon!

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Old 19th July 2008, 21:44   #2
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Well ! thats some kind of a history you shared about your other better half . Yea ! Waiting for the pics.
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Old 19th July 2008, 21:47   #3
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Nice writeup. Where are the pics?

I've just recently had a 1955 Landmaster done up (at a ridiculous cost) and its now running around in Cochin. You can check the Landmaster Project thread.

However, I prefer to refer to the Landy as a HE and not a SHE. It is much too Gangsta to be female.

Last edited by Steeroid : 19th July 2008 at 22:01.
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Old 19th July 2008, 22:00   #4
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Nice writeup Doctor, your car has a history behind it. Looks like this is the month of Landmasters , first Steers, now Doctor, will post pics of My car once it completely ready, still lots of work pending. No time to attend to the car at the moment.

Last edited by egangsta : 19th July 2008 at 22:02.
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Old 19th July 2008, 22:18   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid View Post
Nice writeup. Where are the pics?

I've just recently had a 1955 Landmaster done up (at a ridiculous cost) and its now running around in Cochin. You can check the Landmaster Project thread.

However, I prefer to refer to the Landy as a HE and not a SHE. It is much too Gangsta to be female.
Yes the car is really a HE

Quote:
Originally Posted by egangsta View Post
Nice writeup Doctor, your car has a history behind it. Looks like this is the month of Landmasters , first Steers, now Doctor, will post pics of My car once it completely ready, still lots of work pending. No time to attend to the car at the moment.
Thanks egangsta wish you all success for your car's good health and long life. May it be roadworthy very soon.
I will put up the spares list and price for the Landmaster as listed by the MCOC, UK, magazine, on this thread very soon.

Last edited by Rehaan : 20th July 2008 at 01:41. Reason: Please use the MULTIQUOTE button instead of making multiple posts. Read how in the Team-BHP FAQs (you can find the link on the top bar.)
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Old 19th July 2008, 22:45   #6
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Default Some Pictures of the Landmaster- Is it the Man in Black??

The car is original, touchwood! Thanks to Mr Richard Monk, Spares Secretary, Morris Cowley, Oxford and Issis Owner's Club, UK, the UK made and imported Morris logo is visible on the horn console. The horn ring is also imported from the UK. I've got fitted very recently "Made to Order" MRF Legend,white wall tyres on the car for the period look. Its thanks to the Vice President (Marketing), MRF, Chennai, who mailed me and saw to it that the tyres reach their Nagpur dealer.
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Old 19th July 2008, 23:04   #7
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Looks like a real good car!
Congrats anjan_c2007!

'bet most of us never imagined landmasters would find a place among classics in times to come!
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Old 19th July 2008, 23:07   #8
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Default With the White Wall tyres

These give it the period look of the 1950's.

My Lady Love in Black (1955 Landmaster)-landmaster-1.jpg

My Lady Love in Black (1955 Landmaster)-landmaster-ii.jpg
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Old 19th July 2008, 23:20   #9
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Brilliant! This could have even been a Landy currently in production!
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Old 19th July 2008, 23:46   #10
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Impeccably clean car.

Happy motoring anjan.

Yes stan good to see Landy's coming into the classic section.

I love the way the car is shaped and especially the way wipers move.

Very nostaligic and historic car Anjan's got.
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Old 19th July 2008, 23:48   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
The car is original, touchwood! Thanks to Mr Richard Monk, Spares Secretary, Morris Cowley, Oxford and Issis Owner's Club, UK, the UK made and imported Morris logo is visible on the horn console. The horn ring is also imported from the UK.
Very nice to read your lovely stories. Kudos to you for your enthusiasm!

A humble observation. The Hindusthan Landmaster was fitted with an "H" logo on the steering wheel centre, not the Morris logo. Do hunt for one of those too. It would be rare than the Morris one!

I see the car still has the original dealer's delivery plate. Can you share a clearer photo of that?

Keep up the good work.
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Old 20th July 2008, 13:14   #12
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Thanks VJMAVRICK, Stanher, The MAG,Pavan Kadam and Karlosdeville. Yes Karlos I am on the lookout for the original H logo bearing horn centre.
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Old 20th July 2008, 13:28   #13
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Default A few pictures of my Landamaster dashboard

The original dealer's nameplate is still intact-
-Supplied by-
PROVINCIAL AUTOMOBILE CO.,
KINGS WAY
NAGPUR
In fact M/s Provincial Automobile is now the dealer for the Mahindras (Logan included)
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My Lady Love in Black (1955 Landmaster)-landmaster-dash-1.jpg

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Old 20th July 2008, 14:01   #14
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Default Some Morris Oxford and Issis Images

These are reproduced from the Morris Cowley Oxford and Issis Club (MCOIC) magazine. Some lovely examples are shown here. The Morris Cowley was priced as the cheapest variant in the range. The seats had more coir than foam and there were not many frills on this car.There is also an old Morris Oxford ad. The Morris Issis had the same looks but was an upmarket car with a straight six engine. The bonnet is hence longer. It appeared in the Landmaster shape as well as the Ambassador shape. The grey is being used for modeling and has a Landmaster like body. The green one(two tone paint) has the Ambassador looks with the tail fins. The assembled classics are for the annual event of the club that took place in 2007 at Oxford. This year's event is slated for 11 August, 2008. The classified ads section of this magazine is also seen.
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Old 20th July 2008, 20:43   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
The assembled classics are for the annual event of the club that took place in 2007 at Oxford. This year's event is slated for 11 August, 2008. The classified ads section of this magazine is also seen.
The Black car in the first picture with a chequered roof had driven an "Oxford to Oxford" trip, or something like that. I remember seeing the car far a split second in Pune, and it had made the press in Bombay.
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