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Old 16th February 2009, 19:27   #1
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Default Sipani D1

Hai, not sure how many of you remember Sipani D1. Am sure there were only a dozen or a couple of dozen people who would have bought this car and my uncle happens to be one. My cousin went crazy about this car based on initial reports in auto magazines ( i guess it was autocar/indian auto, not sure what they were called then) and we went for a test drive.

The test drive car is still there in my mind, a red good looking car (considering we had pal padmini, amby, 800, 118NE as options then) with solid wheel arches. I did notice the car had most parts from the 800 (rear lamp cluster, steering, window controls etc), yet looked like a super mini then.

The car had 2 options a pertrol and a diesel both being rear wheel drive. The company didnt survive too long, by the time we had to pick a delivery the company was in disarray and the car was picked from a garage.

The car we got was a lot different from the test drive car, the rear boot was just accessible through the glass, the car had a bad clearance looked and even the fan switch was not aligned straight.

All the kids on our road thought it was an imported car and some people still do, cause no one remembers Sipani and if they do they havent heard of D1.Manipal motors did service the car for a few years and ever since then the mechanic whose son went to school, went to college only bcoz of my uncle and sipani runs the car 15 days a month, 3 days it struggles to start and the remaining days of the month its on the road waiting for the mechanic to pick it up.

The gear box is changed, the head lamps are not stock head lamps replaced by 800 head lamps and the remaining space is fitted with a metal sheet and a lot of other replacements that would run into several pages.

The good thing about this car, its a fiber glass body structure and difficult to dent it.
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Old 16th February 2009, 21:45   #2
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Wow!! Do you have pictures of it? I remember these cars pretty well. I used to see a shell of this car lying on the road for quite a while but as you said once broken it is very hard to fix.

If you search there are a couple of threads of Dolphins and Montanas. The office in Bangalore was on Queen's Road and I used to see the board up until a year ago. Haven't really noticed it after that.

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Old 16th February 2009, 21:55   #3
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If I remember correctly, the ad for the D1 (or was it 1D?) compared the shell to a helmet: as in - if this helmet can save your head the car can save your whole family; and the auto mags said it would give the m800 a run for its money!
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Old 16th February 2009, 21:58   #4
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here's how it looked.




PS: CAN we talk about the Rover Montego in this thread please?????? Also a model called Montana xxxxx something?
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Old 16th February 2009, 22:06   #5
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Wow a long forgotten gem.

Sipani started with a 3 wheeler (I forget it's name - or was it Badal?).

Next came the Dolphin- later re-badged to Monatana, D1 etc. Car was based on a Reliant Kitten from the UK. If I remember correctly, the Sipanis later introduced the Rover Montego into India. Were the Sipanis ahead of their times?

I remember having driven one aeons ago. It was a nice car (petrol). Rather peppy and eager to get a move on as I remember it. I don't know about the Diesel. A friend of mine had one and, he made friends with a fiberglass guy who made air-cooler bodies etc. Fortunately the car body did not require much repair (no corrosion etc.) and it shrugged off minor scrapes, but a bad shunt meant a run to the fiberglass chappie.

With Sipani shutting shop, spares must be a bother. I wonder if there are many running about.

Cheers,
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Old 16th February 2009, 22:30   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravveendrra View Post
I wonder if there are many running about.

Cheers,
I used to see many of them in Bangalore. A friend of mine owned one and we used to have quite a bit of fun with it. It was the only affordable car apart from the old fiat's and since this looked quite modern, many youngsters bought them. Ive not seen one on the road in ages, guess the main reason was getting spares and from what Ive read about them the engine dont seem to be very reliable either. I dont know about these cars from a collectors point of view. I dont think even the scrap dealers would take it for much because of very little metal to salvage. Im sure if we look around in bangalore we'd find a couple of them in good repair.
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Old 17th February 2009, 00:09   #7
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Of course I remember the D1 - the car made from a Dolphin (Reliant Kitten) frame, a Daihatsu Charade moulded FRP body, Autoland 1.4 diesel engine, Maruti 800 and MM540 bits and pieces (instruments, handles, switchgear, et al). A car that could be maintained without going back to the manufacturer since it shared a common parts bin with several other more popular vehicles. In fact the speciality of this vehicle was that other than the windshield and the headlamps NOTHING else on that vehicle was unique to Sipani or that model and could be bought out from the local spares market and the body didnt require replacement panels and any local FRP moulder could do repairs or replace panels.

If it werent for the quota raj that was still in force back then to protect Maruti and the very very shady antecedents of the manufacturer (Sipani), this is one car (i.e., the original Dolphin) that COULD have taken on Maruti.

BTW it was India's first diesel hatchback. You could even claim it was fully indegenous! The first partly indgenous (edit: DIESEL) hatchback also came from the same manufacturer - the Sipani Montana which was nothing but the Dolphin with a VST (Mitsubishi origin) tractor engine.

Last edited by Steeroid : 17th February 2009 at 00:27.
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Old 17th February 2009, 00:14   #8
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Brings back old memories!My uncle had one of these, and it was so different from the Fiat we had.Used to be a thrill going for drives in the D1.
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Old 17th February 2009, 00:41   #9
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Talk about sharing parts. The car in the picture even has the same hub-caps that the Padmini adopted many years since!
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Old 17th February 2009, 01:32   #10
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my neighbour had 1 last i saw of it was in his farm house only the shell was there he had used the engine to make a generator or something didnt like the car much
but the 2 door dolphin they were cute and used to zip around the engine must have been pretty powerful for such a small car
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Old 17th February 2009, 07:51   #11
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sipani's are rare.I remember those days and even reading news in local papers :when car manufacturer was there in some Cochin court after the company's liquidation to handle the cases.
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Old 17th February 2009, 08:12   #12
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i think someone here uses them for racing, due to their light fibreglass bodies
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Old 17th February 2009, 09:28   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
here's how it looked.




PS: CAN we talk about the Rover Montego in this thread please?????? Also a model called Montana xxxxx something?
The car was exactly this in red and looked awesome. Help, as how to post pictures. I have it uploaded on picasa and tried to have the link here and didnt work. However the you can right click on the icon and say view on a new page and it works.

look at the world of difference between the car in the catalogue and wat we got
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Old 17th February 2009, 10:53   #14
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http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/announ...-team-bhp.html (Uploading photographs directly to Team-BHP)


here, this should help you. upload the pics to the teambhp server so we can see them here!
cheers
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Old 17th February 2009, 12:36   #15
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Hey guys, check out the actual pictures of Sipani D1.
Attached Thumbnails
Sipani D1-image143.jpg  

Sipani D1-image144.jpg  

Sipani D1-image145.jpg  

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