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Old 15th October 2008, 20:31   #1
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Default Restoring a taxi - Advice needed

My dad owns a 1966 Fiat which was converted to a taxi in 1968. Like all other bawas, my dad treated it with tender love and care until about 2003 when due to failing health, he outsourced it to a family friend. The car is well looked after, but with new laws coming up, it will be decommissioned in less then 2 months time.

From what I understand, this car can not be run commercially, but we can keep it as a private car.

Question 1: If it is converted to a private car, can I retain its original number which is MRR series? According to the information I have, there are only 3 of these in the city, 2 owned by bawas.

Question 2: My dad is emotionally attached to this car and has literally cried at the thought of giving it away to a scrapyard for peanuts. I am not sure about others, but bawas on this forum can understand his emotions To a certain extent, even I am emotionally attached to this this car since it has been a breadwinner for the family during our bad days and provided for our food and education.

Can Karl, Cyrus or Behramji (my dad shares the same name), or anyone here help me in getting it restored? When I say restoration, I will obviously not be able to do it fully, but I am looking at a decent job. The car has a CNG kit and I am estimating it to have run about 8L kms with a few engine swaps. I am not really sure if anything in this car is from 1966!

I am looking forward to a good paint job with some interiors and maybe new tyres etc. This will be the second car, and will be used by my dad about once a week only.

I know it sounds really silly to restore a taxi, but I am only doing it for the sake of my dad who turns 79 in 2 months time. Though he does not drive nowadays, he is really proud of his 1950 licence and renews it religiously.

Anybody here willing to help me with the birthday present for my dad?
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Old 15th October 2008, 20:38   #2
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@ Abdriver i am sure you can get it restored and keep the same registration number. Back home i know a few friends of mine who actually picked up Bolero's and registered it as a Taxi ( yellow board )' to enjoy the subsidery benefit. After a year or two they were able to change the status from taxi to private ( white board ). I would recomed you to check with the local RTO.
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Old 15th October 2008, 20:44   #3
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Please post some pictures of the Car. Do you have any vintage pics of how she looked in the 60's or even 70's that would be great.
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Old 15th October 2008, 20:56   #4
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I will try and post some pictures. She has been in black and yellow for 40 years. Time for a new coat!
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Old 15th October 2008, 22:40   #5
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Wonderful sentiments abdriver. I think your dad is lucky to have a son like you, just as you are to have a dad like him. Do up the car well, and give him his present.. You just (nearly) brought tears to my eyes. My dad had a 1959 fiat which I like a fool let him sell some years ago (a decision we all regretted soon after). My dad subsequebtly fell ill, and the best of my efforts to trace the fiat or any other similar one came to nought.
My dear dad passed away last year, and I finally got a fiat for myself six months later. I'm sure it was his gift, and he's somewhere up there, watching.
Do post pictures of your car. We're all available for any help you may need. As you can see, this forum has a few gurus for whom a fiat is a state of being, rather than just a car !!
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Old 16th October 2008, 11:24   #6
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Wonderful, just love it when emotions rule over other sentiments. Thank god that we have another lovely car saved from the clutches of the heartless folks at the junkyard who just strip the car as the hyenas and vultures would a carrion.

To add to that I do understand the emotions when it comes to the car helping in tiding across tough situations in life. We, somewhere around the year 1988, gave away our Simca 9 Aronde to the scrapyard. The proceeds (all of Rs.9,300/- which for us was a good sum in those circumstances) of which did help in being a part capital in the business we have been running since then. Mixed feelings those.

Wish you all the best in your endeavor and please do keep us posted on the developments on this car as and when it happens.
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Old 16th October 2008, 11:24   #7
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This is a great endeavour. We at the club have always wanted a well restored cab in the family, especially since we wont be seeing them too often. Be in touch with President and others in Bombay, they will guide you along the way.

Do upload some detailed pictures so we get an idea of the condition.

One more thing, you really must try and keep it in taxi identity even after decomissioning. I dont know the legalities of it, but we will rally around you and try our best to see the cab still with MRR number, black and yellow, meter etc. After all it is the identity of Bombay!

Wish you all the best, we are here for any assistance you require.
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Old 16th October 2008, 14:53   #8
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More than restoration i am moved by the emotions you have towards your dad's emotions.

Keep the good work going... You'll surely be able to do justice to his car.

Some pics of the car would be appreciated
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Old 16th October 2008, 15:40   #9
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HELL YEs!! I am definately ready to help you!! Where do you stay??
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Old 16th October 2008, 17:03   #10
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Probably the most emotionally charged thread on this forum. We have lots of experts here. Besides, the mole's (Amol's) car has just been taken up for restoration. A lot of valuable suggestions will come out of that.
Bawaji, hope your project is completed successfully. Your dad will be proud.
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Old 16th October 2008, 17:12   #11
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Harit tells us of the other side of coin.

Quote:
I read with interest about the sentiments of an old Fiat Taxi. Is it worth it for the gentleman to do what he plans? I do not think so because of practical difficulties.
When these vehicles are removed from service, their registration number will automatically be cancelled. He cannot continue to drive this car as a private car. I have seen in south India that some cars had two sets of plates, same number but black and white background. They would switch as per their desire. I do not know if that was legal over there, but certainly not over here.
I think that the taxi would have a permit. So this permit would be transferred to a new car. In that case probably you have to show what happened to the old registration, either cancelled or changed to a private number. And if you want to preserve this car, then fine, it will be a stationary exhibit, but you cannot use it on the road as the car is today.
I am also not sure if you can use a black and yellow taxi colour combination on a private car.
It does not seem to be easy to preserve such a car. Just note, this must not be the first time that someone wanted to preserve an old commercial vehicle. But do any such vehicles from early era's survive? I know that Dukes cold drinks-the Mangola people had kept their first truck, a chevy in a compound opposite Shakti Mills at Mahalaxmi. The truck just rotted into the ground. There was another Morris Commercial truck lying near Bombay Central Railway station, same thing happened.
Just some thought, not very encouraging because of practical difficulties.

Harit
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Old 16th October 2008, 17:13   #12
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Gentlemen, thank you for your support! I am trying to get the pics ASAP. I am put up at Tardeo. Does anyone have contacts at the RTO who can make the process smoother?

Yes, the car has a permit! It will have to be transferred to another car or cancelled.

Last edited by abdriver2000 : 16th October 2008 at 17:15. Reason: Replying to Harit's post
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Old 17th October 2008, 01:32   #13
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Abdriver, i am touched by your sentiments and emotions. It is nice to see you trying to keep your Fathers pride and joy and wish you all the best to keep her in good health.
In this situation i do agree with Harit uncle that it is a difficult road but i would not say immpossible. I am sure there would be some way of getting around the hurdle and come to a productive solution. In my opinoun the RTO,WIAA and the Taxi Unioun would have to be approached for this. They would be able to give you an insight into the future of the car and the retaining of the number plate. The unioun would be able to tell you if you can retain the permit even after the ban is enforced.
The guru's and experts could correct me if i am wrong but this is what i feel should be done.Everyone here would love to help you and i am sure the car would be in good shape and would see the roads.
Being around Bawa's most of my life Sentiments and Emotions mean alot. So please do not say things like "I know it sounds really silly to restore a taxi". We all are emotional and Sentimental about our cars and bikes no matter what they are, and we understand your feelings completely. I am sentimental about a rubber braclet that was given to me by a friend in school. My friend is no more and the bracelet is more valuable to me than anything, my cars also take a back seat.

Last edited by speedy : 17th October 2008 at 01:35.
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Old 17th October 2008, 14:03   #14
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i had seen an MRR registered taxi some days back but it was heavily modified, i bet the body was of the newer generation Fiats or even padminis put on it. Didnt look that old but the MRR registration was a dead give away that there is an old lady working hard inside that new age metal. Would love to see pics of your MRR taxi.
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Old 17th October 2008, 14:55   #15
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Slightly off topic but I thought the word "bawa" was derogatory and used in a derogatory sense as well. Or has the word assumed the status of other similar words like Bong and Gujju or Maru where it is right now more of an endearment than insult if said in the right spirit ? When words like Bong were initially coined we used to get offended but now we are all okay with it (though I can't quite imagine myself referring to my father as Bong ).
By the way, it is just my academic curiosity. I don't mean to insult anyone. And hope no one is insulted unnecessarily.
On topic - I can identify with the sentiment quite strongly. A forty plus years old association with a vehicle makes it more than a family member. I think you should keep the number plate as a memento if the number cannot be retained. What sort of meter does it have?
Kolkata recently did away with the old meters in taxis and implemented new electronic meters (as if they can't be tampered with) and I really wanted to keep an old meter in the house as a memento. But somehow it has still not happened. I think that old meter used to be one of the most easily identifiable symbols of an Indian metropolitan city. Sadly they have mostly vanished now.

Last edited by Sudipto-S-Team : 17th October 2008 at 14:58.
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