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Old 29th August 2006, 20:06   #1
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Default A look at the Supercar/Import section in the 80/90's.....

Ever wondered what the Supercars section would look like if Team-BHP was formed in the 80's-90's. Lets look at how this scene was during the 80's/90's. I remember a few years back we would get excited at the most common sports car on the road. Let me try and explain the import scene in each of these auto-categories.

The Supercars / Import section has seen a major improvement over the years. Thanks to new Government laws and regulations, money is the last thing a buyer would think as long as he gets his dreamcar. Or maybe it was difficult to find a loop-hole in the import laws.
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:07   #2
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Default Sedans

Sedans : Look at the Indian Car Scene now and its no wonder from where it has evolved. Yes, the cars which used to be imported earlier are now being manufactured / or sold as CBU's. Among the many are the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Accord. No wonder they have been the best selling (even stolen) cars in the US too. Accords and Corolla's (Corona's earlier) were the most widely imported cars in those years. Although they were expensive they hardly required much maintenance and parts were available in all major metro's. Other widely imported cars included the Toyota Carina, Honda Civic, also a couple of Nissan Bluebirds / Sunny's etc. And these imports did not just stop with one model. As new models were launched abroad, these were subsequently imported here within a couple of weeks. Such was the popularity of these cars that the manufacturers decided to officially manufacture and sell them here.

As and when manufacturers that these models were quite well known, these cars started being sold in India. Almost all these cars are now available here with proper service / spares backup. To name a few, the Toyota Corolla, Camry, Honda Accord, Honda Civic etc.

Honda Accord (pic 1 &2) and Honda Civic:


Toyota Corolla / Camry?? / Corsa :


A lot of high end Mercs and BMW's also made their way into the country. These too are the very same models that are now officially available in the Indian market. Although it wasn't known as the C-Class then, the W201 190E/D was the cheapest and widely imported Mercedes to be driven in in the country. Obviously the performance oriented fellow went for the BMW 3 Series. The E Class and S Class along with the 5 and the 7 Series were also imported for those who could afford them. Among the other brands were the Lexus LS400, Audi 80/100 etc.

Mercedes : W201 190 E / W123 E Class / W123 S Class


BMW : 3 Series / 5 Series / 7 Series
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:07   #3
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Default Hatchbacks / Small Cars

Hatchbacks / Small Cars : Yes, we had the best selling / cheap Maruti 800 being manufactured and sold here. But i guess that wasnt enough. People wanted a more powerful more conservative looking small car / hatch. They were not very satisfied with Maruti Suzuki. And where did they look to. Japan, of course. The country of small cars. The Toyota Corolla hatchback , Toyota Starlet , Honda Civic , CRX hatchback were a few of the cars that made their way here. This segment constituted a very small percentage of the total import since they were not considered as VFM.

As small (or smaller) than Indian small cars, these cars were as powerful as Indian mid-sizers. Almost all these cars had a 1.3L + Engine size with power output more than 80bhp. That made them a hot-hatch in those times.

Toyota Starlet / Honda CRX / Daihatsu Move
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:09   #4
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Default SUV's

SUV's : Mitsubishi Pajero. That was the SUV segment in the 90s. If you were a filmstar or connected to the film industry in any way (be it a spotboy or a Director) you had to have a Pajero. The Pajero was the most widely imported SUV to be imported into India before HM-Mitsubishi officially started selling it here. That was the biggest mistake done by Mitsubishi. Pajero's are now considered too expensive and not at all a VFM SUV. You could get a well maintained 2nd hand Landcruiser/LX470 or a brand new Prado for that money. And obviously they are better equipped than the stripped down Indian Pajero. A couple of Landcruisers / Landrovers also made their way here in the 80s-90s although they did not make as much of an impact as the Pajero.

SUV's are all about SIZE. The Pajero was soon overshadowed by the bigger, more powerful and luxurious Landcruiser / LX470. Although it was expensive it was a much better VFM than the stripped down Pajero. As they say "Every dog has its day", the days are almost numbered for the LX470 too. Although its design has still not aged, its been in the market for too long without any makeover. The arrival of Porsche, Audi and VW in the SUV market has not worried Toyota even the least bit. I guess its time they started taking the high-end SUV market and launch the new LX470. Being a well known brand here, I doubt it'll fail to sell.


The Pajero had to take the back seat after the arrival of the LX470.

Nissan Patrol / Mitsubishi Pajero / Toyota Landcruiser
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:12   #5
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Default Small affordable sportscars

Small affordable sportscars : Think about Sportscars in the 90's and what would come to your mind.


Toyota Sera - Whats common between the Toyota Sera and the Lamborghini Murcielago? One of the most popular and best selling sportscars in Mumbai. The Toyota Sera shot to fame due to its scissor-styled doors. Popular Car Bazaar had one Sera for sale in every "Time of India" Friday classifieds. The car was even featured in one of the Fevicol commercials. The Sera was too exclusive in those times with only 9 cars existing in Bombay.


Mazda MX-5 Miata - Another very popular small sportscar. Its compact size and pop-up lights and cheap price was irresistable. The car was comparable to the Sera in terms of power and reliability.


Toyota Celica : The Toyota Celica suceeded the Toyota Sera and the Miata in the sportscar market. It was bigger and more powerful than both of them. The 4-round light-Celica was available both in soft and hard top. The previous gen also had pop-up lights. There was also the Toyota Cynos which sold in sizeable numbers.


Toyota MR-2 : Actually standing for Midship Runabout (if you check out the latest MR-S, you will see the initials), it was also referred to as the Mister 2 in UK. Also known as Mid-engined / Rwd / 2-seater. It was a very beautiful car since it had a striking resemblance to the Ferrari F355. Quite a few of these cars made their way here. Altough this car was available in a turbocharged form, most (or i guess all) Indian imports were a 2000cc NA versions producing around 156 bhp.


Honda Civic CRX del-Sol : Based on the Civic, this car suceeded the Honda CRX in the early 90s. The 1.6 DOHC 160 bhp car also featured Honda's VTEC technology. Although it wasnt a true convertible, it did have a removable hard-top. The del-Sols you see in Mumbai are the pre-95 Civic del-Sol. All models after 1995 did not feature the "extra" round lights in the front. Honda also excluded the Civic name from the del-Sol.
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:13   #6
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Default Full size sportscars

Full size sportscars : A sports car is a type of automobile designed primarily for performance driving.


Toyota Supra : Its Toyota again. 3 litre, twin-turbo, 320 bhp was one of the fastest and powerful cars you could import from Japan. The Supra was one of the most sought afetr cars along with the Mitsubishi GTO, Mazda RX7's and couple of SLK's. The huge spoiler which was as high as the roof did not look out of place on this car. No wonder DC used a similar one on an Opel Astra.


Honda / Acura NSX : New Sports eXperimental - mid-engined 290bhp the NSX was built to compete with the Italian exotics. It was most commonly referred to as the poor man's Ferrari. During its time it was the most expensive Japanese car.


Nissan 300ZX : Another 3 litre, twin turbo 300 bhp car, the 300ZX was light years ahead of the 240Z (the model it replaced). The 300ZX competed with the Toyota Supra and it too had a non-turbo version. But most of the cars imported were the turbo versions. I remember first seeing the Nissan 300ZX in the World Book Encyclopedia in somewhere around 1991-92 and I was floored. It looked as good as the Testarossa pictured above it. And imagine what I must have felt years later when I actually seen and touched one at a dealers garage. The car has presence, lots of it, unlike the 350Z which looks smaller and more like the older Honda CRX.
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:15   #7
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Default Supercar

Supercar : A supercar is a term used for a sports car, typically an exotic or rare one, whose performance is highly superior to its contemporary sports cars.


Porsche 911 : Not rare anymore. You get to see so many 997 911's since Porsche has officially setup shop in India. But the 993 911 was exotic, rare and a true supercar. Not many could afford a 911, far less a Turbo featured above. Wish Porsche would have never changed the 993's looks. Other than the white and the darkblue 911 (which featured in BSM), I doubt the existence of any other Turbo in Mumbai. Other Porsche's imported during these were the 944 / 924 etc.



Mercedes SL (300SL and SL320) - One of the world's best roadsters, this car could well classify as a Supercar for our roads. The R129 Mercedes SL was a popular import amongst Mercedes fans. Most of the imports were the base 300SL with a 3 litre 228 bhp engine although a very few SL500's and one SL600 also made its way here.


Ferrari : You had to be rich to own a Ferrari. Thats the reason why Ferrari's were imported in very few numbers. Only a handful of 308/328 existed in Mumbai. The first time I saw a Ferrari was at an Auto show where it was standing next to a Porsche 911. After that there were reports of a white Ferrari in Bandra owned by a very famous businessman.


Lotus Esprit : During the 30 years of its lifetime, the Lotus Esprit competed with the likes of the Ferrari 308, 328, 355 and the Porsche 911. SO obviously with the presence of all these 3 cars in Bombay, the Esprit could not be left out. For obvious reasons it had to be the Turbo. It was once mentioned in Auto India or Indian Auto (i dont remember) that actor Jackie Shroff owned the one and only Lotus Esprit Turbo in India. Maybe they didnt know of 2 other Esprits that had been imported. One that was displayed at the Auto Show at NSE Grounds, Goregaon (MH-04-AC-9595) and another one which is dying a slow death.
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:16   #8
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Default High-end Luxury cars


High-end Luxury cars - So what if the 5-crore Maybach was not existing in the 90's. Rolls Royce and Bentley still produced one of the best and most luxirious cars. The Rolls Royce Silver Spur was one of the most famous Rolls Royce in those times. Giving it competition was the similar looking Bentley Turbo RL. The motorcars you see above are one of the best maintained / preserved RR's / Bentleys existing in Mumbai. The silver car was on sale a few years back for around 25 lakhs. Since it could not find any buyer it was then sold off to a very prominent imported car dealer.
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Old 29th August 2006, 20:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v12

V12, nice way of saying " ". Any plans to replace this emoticon?

Last edited by condor : 29th August 2006 at 20:26.
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Old 29th August 2006, 22:26   #10
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Not to forget a couple of MPVs like the Toyota Hiace and Toyota Previa too.
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Old 30th August 2006, 10:28   #11
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Man, I gotta tell you...No one beats V12 and Gordon in their coverage of the Indian Supercar scene.

Excellent read. Undoubtedly a five star rating for this thread. Just voted.
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Old 30th August 2006, 10:37   #12
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Mama Mia V12. Fantastic thread..Great reading...great pics...

I'm sure you've a massive archive hidden somewhere..
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Old 30th August 2006, 10:39   #13
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Great job! And nicely done too. Keep it coming boss!
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Old 30th August 2006, 10:40   #14
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So this is what you were doing for the past one month! Great thread. And Welcome back!
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Old 30th August 2006, 10:47   #15
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Hey you forgot to mention the Mitsubishi GT 3000 and the Audi sedans
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