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Old 4th March 2010, 16:36   #1
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Default 1959 Ambassador gets a rebirth

My love for vintage as such started only about 2 yrs ago. Finally decided to take the plunge.

Hunting a car took sometime and finally found one which suited my budget. My brother and cousins did the buying for me.

Few things to be done in on priority:

Identify a garage in my hometown kerala - Done (found an old master)
Change floor gear to hand gear - Done
Horrible brakes to be changed - Done
Remove bucket seats - Pending
Replace engine to petrol (matador at present) - Hunting for one

Now that few of the things above were done then began the question whether to get it painted immediately or use it for a while. (I wanted to use it as a daily drive)

But finally decided to hold my horses and get entire work done.

Please suggest any shortcomings you find. Will help me build it better.

Attached some initial pics. Will keep updating as and when u get updates from my brother and cousin.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 4th March 2010, 19:15   #2
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Congratulations Abhilash, you have found a nice car (my fav) and good that you want to bring it back to original state and got it changed to hand gear aswell. As you said you want it to be a daily commuter so I would say continue the same way for sometime. You will understand the car better and you also get ideas what to do and when to do. Meanwhile procure parts required and if possible stock few for future aswell. Get to know the history of the car which colour was it initially and if you feel ok with it you can colour it the same way or there is a good old black for this beauty.

One friendly advice remove the horns on the bumper and fix it somewhere inside the hood. I love the car with this grille.

I am not sure with the ampere meter is that a original one?

Abilash we have Anjan and few other who can give you an expert adivce. Keep rocking with the English beauty and SAFETY FIRST.
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Old 4th March 2010, 21:19   #3
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A very beautiful car to restore.Congratulations on the buy.
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Old 4th March 2010, 21:38   #4
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Congrats Abhilash on your buy.
I am also in the same situation as you. My hunt started 2 months back, but very slow as of now. Is this mechanic an expert in other older cars than Amby?

I agree with Chanu regarding the horn! I don't know if there was white wall tyres for thes models!

keep posting pictures.

best wishes
vok
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Old 4th March 2010, 21:46   #5
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Wow the car looks neat!!
Is the car in Mangalore?
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Old 4th March 2010, 23:25   #6
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Ambys always are an attraction and they are an icon in this country.Happy to see this restoration.
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Old 4th March 2010, 23:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hillram View Post
Ambys always are an attraction and they are an icon in this country.Happy to see this restoration.
Ram, something tells me you will have one of these in your fleet too one fine day!

If you do, get a black one- oh, you both will go so well together, like those 70s B'wood henchmen and their cars!!
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Old 5th March 2010, 00:44   #8
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Are you sure that it is 1959?
And many items have been modified apart from the engine which you have reverted. Steering wheel is modern, dash plate on which meters are fitted appears to be home made etc. I suggest that after the new engine is fitted, you use the car and in the meanwhile collect as amny original parts as possible. And then one fine day strip down the car compeletely and redo her.
Today this car stands out, and is noticed. I know, I use one. But the car is a real pig. Horrible. Ancient, no prehistoric and cumbersome. You will know after some time. I had dumped her atleast on 5 occasions and brought her back just to be different. Not at all justified, but neverthe less you get noticed

Good luck and enjoy.

Cheers harit
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Old 5th March 2010, 08:57   #9
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Hi Abhilash,

Great buy! Congrats! The car looks great!

Where did youmanage to find a petrol engine? Has the RC book been updated with the new engine deatils?

The color of the car looks great and sure has been painted sometime in the past. The previous owner seems to have kept the car in a very good condition.

It is wonderful to know that you have reverted back to petrol engine with gears mounted on the steering coloumn.

I would suggest to keep the color as it is for now and use it for sometime. Once you have sufficient things to be added to the car, at that time you can color it and also do other things which might need attention.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 09:10   #10
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What model amby is it. I am confirming this as i have seen the same car albit without engine in scrapyard recently.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 10:09   #11
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Nice amby there abhilash.
But one question,how did you change the floor shift to column shift.?
Was it b'cos the old ambys had one or did you custom made one?
I mean can you change a car that didn't have floor shift(or its option) to column shift,and what's the cost?
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Old 22nd March 2010, 10:34   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
Are you sure that it is 1959?
And many items have been modified apart from the engine which you have reverted
Cheers harit
Quote:
Originally Posted by ObsessedByFIAT
Where did youmanage to find a petrol engine? Has the RC book been updated with the new engine deatils?

It is wonderful to know that you have reverted back to petrol engine with gears mounted on the steering coloumn.
Now I am confused, Is the engine swapped to a petrol one? As per the pictures I see that the engine is still diesel
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Old 22nd March 2010, 11:02   #13
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Looks good. Should be a nice one after the whole work. Few pointers:

1959 Ambassador gets a rebirth-points.jpg

1. Remove that padded cover. Source original center cover for radio. It was a rectangular plate with vertical punch cut grill.
2. Try to get a Smith clock.
3. Try to get original light switch/ignition key unit.
4. Foot switch for headlamp deeper/dimmer.
5. Remove that lever switch and use center slide switch for indicators.

Well, all these are very easy for me to say and equally tough for you to source. But hoping your current workshop has enough contacts to get those.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 13:53   #14
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Thanks for all the comments and feedback.

1. The car is still with its diesel engine. Yes it has been updated in the RC book. New petrol engine on the hunt.
2. I wanted the gear shifts to be old style hence got the same one. Its cost me roughly around 7k (GB, Parts, labour, lathe work etc)
3. The car is not in mangalore, its in kerala
4. Yes it is a 1959 as per RTO records and is mentioned as same in the RC book.

Rudra: I have seen your amby being worked on during 1998-99 i guess don't remember exactly the year. I have seen the effort that has gone into your car truly awesome. I used to visit my friends who stayed next door to the garage or rather i should say house/garage. As you said getting parts is tough, you know that better than anybody.


Ran out of patience so decided to get the work done fully and then start using it. Hence the update so far:

Tinkering work has started. The rust is not all that bad, i had expected worse. Will be completed this week.

Gear box and brake work done works real smooth and perfect.

Pics are getting delayed as my cousin has his exams going on and should be able to get me the pics mailed by next week. Will upload once i have them.

Rudra: I would like to meet up with you sometime to get some more insights into this restoration.
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Old 22nd March 2010, 13:58   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhilash View Post
Tinkering work has started. The rust is not all that bad, i had expected worse. Will be completed this week.
Sheet metal quality of that car is way superior than todays Amby. Unless there is no crude patch job done before that body shouldn't be in rust.
Quote:
Rudra: I would like to meet up with you sometime to get some more insights into this restoration.
Sure. Just let me know.
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