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Old 3rd October 2009, 12:11   #1
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Default Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking

I went back through memory lane and came upon the sibling of Bajaj Tempo Ltd's Matador. The year around 1970 to 72. It was the petrol engined Viking, a lookalike twin sibling of the then diesel powered Matador. The funny part was that it was powered by a three cylinder two stroke petrol engine which sadly lacked power, pickup and of utmost importance; reliability.

I vividly remember seeing these vehicles in Trivandrum now Thiruvananthapurm. The city police had many vikings then which laboured on the throughfares of Thiruvanathapuram which like Rome is situated on seven hills. The cops on board the viking cannot catch any lawbreaker on bycycles as the lazy viking could easily be outsmarted by the pedalled two wheeler. It was a joke then that somebody could overtake past the Viking by simply walking need not even run as these Vikings could hardly move forward on steep city roads.

I stll remember the note of its engine which undoubtedly camouflaged the shortage of power and torque.

No surprise it vanished totally very soon after.

Last edited by rajeev k : 3rd October 2009 at 12:13.
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Old 3rd October 2009, 16:42   #2
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That was interesting. Got any pics?
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Old 3rd October 2009, 17:55   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajeev k View Post
I went back through memory lane and came upon the sibling of Bajaj Tempo Ltd's Matador. The year around 1970 to 72. It was the petrol engined Viking, a lookalike twin sibling of the then diesel powered Matador. The funny part was that it was powered by a three cylinder two stroke petrol engine which sadly lacked power, pickup and of utmost importance; reliability.

I vividly remember seeing these vehicles in Trivandrum now Thiruvananthapurm. The city police had many vikings then which laboured on the throughfares of Thiruvanathapuram which like Rome is situated on seven hills. The cops on board the viking cannot catch any lawbreaker on bycycles as the lazy viking could easily be outsmarted by the pedalled two wheeler. It was a joke then that somebody could overtake past the Viking by simply walking need not even run as these Vikings could hardly move forward on steep city roads.

I stll remember the note of its engine which undoubtedly camouflaged the shortage of power and torque.

No surprise it vanished totally very soon after.
I too remember these Vikings. These had those round headlights.
There was a distributor of Sagar Butter ( remember that brand?) very near to my residence. He had upto 5 of them, distributing butter. The boy was my classmate, and he used to bring a packet once in a while for a teacher. In those days we had a shortage of everything in India including butter. The engines of these made a peculiar sound, similar to the dragging of coconut tree leaves on the road. Not only wre they weak, they also rotted away. The rust bug was inbuilt, and soon we saw the doors being tied up, a latch welded to hold the rear doors together. One day all gave up, the Vikings, Sagar butter and the agency. what was Bajaj thinking about the quality of their products? Not much.

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Old 3rd October 2009, 18:27   #4
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Here is a very sorry example of an early Matador ( I suppose not Viking, but same body) I spotted in Bombay.

Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking-matador01.jpg
Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking-matador02.jpg
Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking-matador03.jpg

And some brochure scans I came across online.
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Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking-01.jpg  

Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking-02.jpg  

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Old 3rd October 2009, 18:35   #5
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The Viking emitted a much two stroke like engine sound, very much like a two wheeler. The body work was crap with the metal getting badly dented at the slightest hit.The interiors were more crap with cardboards used as door inner lining material.And also coir foam was used on its rexine covered seats.
Even Mahindra Jeeps used stiff, coir foam since the mid 1970's for the seats.
Bajaj Tempo owned by the Firodias was never known to produce any four wheelers for personal use. There was no touch of any kind that favoured keeping these products as a personal vehicle.
And the greatest surprise came to me when I read that Sanjay Gandhi used to own and drive a green diesel powered Matador. Even when his plane crashed, his favourite green Matador was parked at the Safdarjung airport. People say he loved it as it was economical and he could carry friends(cronies as they were called) and party workers discussing things.This Matador was famous during the emergency days. Sanjay Gandhi used to himself drive down to Maruti Udyog, Gurgaon, during the emergency days, daily.There was a village en route falling within Haryana, that he would pass by daily. Cattle, people and poultry would force him to slow down near this village. He had the entire village shifted with the help of the then CM of Haryana.
Please also view these links for more information on these Tempo/Force products:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempo_(car)
http://www.forcemotors.com/sheeba/fo...s/brochure.pdf
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Old 20th June 2010, 12:38   #6
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Tempo 3 wheeler
The Tempo 3 wheeler was launched in India in the late 1950s as a replacement for the handcart (according to an advertisement in The Statesman of Calcutta which I remember reading when I was a schoolboy). The ad said that one Tempo could replace 4 handcarts !
I drove this vehicle in Mumbai in 1973 while working for Hawkins Cookers. It was used to transport cookers from the factory to the dealers in Bombay. It was ideal for this job because the cooker cartons were bulky but light, and there was enough space in the vehicle to carry a whole lot of cartons without loading it excessively.
It was powered by a water-cooled Heinkel two cylinder two stroke engine, of 397cc and incorporating a roller-bearing mounted crankshaft, mounted above the front wheel. It produced a modest 15 bhp, but was enough to propel it from 0-30mph in 28.8 seconds. After the oil crisis of 1973 petrol prices shot up, and the petrol engine was replaced by a Greaves Lombardini 500 cc. diesel engine of Italian origin made in India under license. The petrol engine, on a wide open throttle, was likened by road testers of the day to a roar, "like a swarm of angry bees". Even when loaded, the pace on the open road could creep up to a heady 35mph, with respectable stability (for a three wheeler...) thanks to the Tempo's reasonably long wheelbase.

Drive to the front wheel was via a chain, the engine, clutch, gearbox and radiator all turning with the single front wheel. The tiny fuel tank was alongside the engine, too.

The vehicle featured a steel backbone chassis, running the whole length of the vehicle with the engine pack sitting at the front end and the two rear wheels were on swinging arms pivoted at the central chassis tube. The driver’s cab had two suicide-style doors. The vehicle measured about 13’ 6” overall. Dual springs were fitted up front, with independent suspension (!!). The two rear wheels had two coil springs each, one on either side of the axle hub, with a locator rod connecting the hub to the central chassis. When empty the wheels canted inwards sharply, much like a Standard Herald, and as you put more and more load on the vehicle the rear wheels gradually became vertical, or even canted outwards, The rear axle set-up was later replaced (privately) by a tubular dead axle with two semi-elliptic leaf springs, the idea being to increase the load carrying capacity.
It had a very large turning cycle, as much as a truck, so that one had to plan one’s path very carefully in order to get around in the bazaar areas. This is because the entire front power pack (engine, gearbox, chain-drive and wheel) would turn together when you turned the steering, and the angle to which you could turn the entire assembly was very limited. Just as well, because if you turned the steering fully and tried to go faster than a crawl, the vehicle could topple over ! It happened once inside the Hawkins Cooker factory.
The gear change was, well… strange. The gear lever was L-shaped and stuck out of the dashboard. It would move in and out of the dashboard as the vehicle moved and the front wheel reacted to bumps, or even to the accelerator because when you pressed the accelerator the front wheel moved forward (compressing the front coil springs) and then the rest of the vehicle followed. There were 4 forward gears and 1 reverse in an H-pattern. First was - pull towards you and twist left, second was - twist full right while the lever was towards you, third was on the left but towards the dashboard, away from you, and 4th was to the right and away from you. Gear changes were tricky because the gear lever continuously moved, and there was a lot of play in the shift mechanism. The brake and clutch were mounted on the central chassis tube, similar to those in the old VW Beetle.
It came in a number of versions, starting with a cab and chassis on which one could build whatever body one liked. The most common was a pick-up version, often with an awning on top. There were various other versions, such as low and high roof closed delivery vans.
The ”people carrier” version was much in use in north India. I had seen many around the Punjab/Haryana region. It had two bench seats facing each other at the back. Though nominally meant for six people at the back, and the driver + 1 in the cab, it routinely carried up to 20 people plus a couple of bicycles on top of the canvas roof.
The other Tempo vehicle which was popular at the time was the Bajaj Tempo Viking. It went extinct after the 1973 oil crisis and was replaced by the Matador 305 and 307 models.
Driving this little minibus was fun. It had practically no low end torque, and one had to rev the engine hard to get any power out of it. The overall output was probably about 25 bhp, not much for a 10-12 seater minibus. One had to use the gearbox a lot, and keep it in 2nd and 3rd gear all the time, with the engine revving hard and belching a stream of blue smoke (petrol + oil in the tank, remember). Getting into 4th gear, in the Thane/Mulund area, was an event because one hardly ever reached the 50Kmph speed at which the engine would pull in 4th.
Nevertheless, the gearbox was very smooth and the gears slotted easily. The steering was light. Visibility was excellent. Overall, it was a nice little vehicle apart from the severe under-powering.
The bodywork was pathetic. Everything rattled, and rust set in almost before it left the Bajaj factory. But at the time it was practically the only cheap vehicle available that could ferry 10+ people between the factory and the stations. Petrol was still around Rs 1.50 a liter and for the small distances covered it was cheaper to buy a petrol vehicle as diesels were very expensive.
These two vehicles were the forerunners of motorized small-scale transport in India, and they did add value. I must say that at the time, since the alternatives were “haath-gaadis” and public buses, nobody complained about the shortcomings of these two “Bajaj” (actually – Firodia) vehicles.

Last edited by Eddy : 20th June 2010 at 13:49.
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Old 20th June 2010, 17:17   #7
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There are hardly any Matador left now. And those are surviving are almost junk. Those were very popular once upon a time. I have driven Matador delivery van (305) of my friend in late 80s. And it was so underpowered that I used to press the accelerator pedal very hard, and I remember I broke the throttle cable 2-3 times. But it was fun travelling along with friends on a weekend.
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Old 28th March 2011, 23:10   #8
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Default Re: Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking

The Viking's engine was the first 3 cylinder engine to make an appearance in any Indian vehicle.
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Old 17th April 2011, 12:30   #9
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Default Re: Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking

Here is a Similar thread running Elsewhere

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...r307-vans.html

@ MODS CAN WE MERGE THESE TOGETHER ?
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Old 17th April 2011, 13:29   #10
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Default Re: Remembrance - Bajaj Tempo Matador's sibling, the Viking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shreeram View Post
Here is a Similar thread running Elsewhere

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/commer...r307-vans.html

@ MODS CAN WE MERGE THESE TOGETHER ?
I dont think so as this thread is supposed to pertain only to CLASSIC commercial vehicles, whereas that one comes under commercial vehicles in general.
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