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Old 14th September 2013, 17:48   #1
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Default Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past

Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past-balenovtec.jpg

So what is this thread all about? As we all know, it was the late 90's when a lot of international automobile manufacturers started setting up shop in India. Until then, the only cars we could read about were the Maruti's, Fiat's and the Ambassadors. The cheapest car in those days was the Maruti 800 and the most expensive car was the Mercedes E Class. There was nothing available for anyone having a budget between 5 lakhs to 25 lakhs. Often people resorted to importing cars or purchasing 2nd hand imported cars. The late 90's / early 2000's saw the arrival and the rise of the luxury car market - the Honda City, Mitsubishi Lancer, Opel Astra, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Skoda Octavia. Budget cars like the Daewoo Cielo, Ford Ikon, Opel Corsa were also introduced in the lower price range. Although the luury cars were expensive in those days - some of the cars were an instant hit (City, Astra, Lancer) while some of them were outright flops (Baleno, Corsa). Looking at the market response and the need for more powerful cars, few companies were brave enough to lauch performance versions / limited editions of their existing models.

Honda City 1.3/1.5 - Honda City 1.5 V-tec
Mitsubishi Lancer 1.5 - Mitsubishi Lancer 1.8 INVECS
Ford Escort 1.3 - Ford Ikon 1.6 Zetec
Skoda Octavia - Skoda Octavia RS
Opel Astra - Opel Astra Club

I am sure many of us who started reading auto magazines in the 90's would have thoroughly gone through the test drives / shootouts of these cars in Auto India, Autocar India or Overdrive. Some of us would have even dreamt of owning one of these cars - while some would have even fulfilled their dreams then (or maybe now). Just like any other product, cars too have a product life cycle - the old model needs to be discontinued to make way for the new models. In the last 10 years, most of the models discussed above have almost disappeared from the roads (expecially the Cielo's, Astra's and Escorts) - the others still remain in limited numbers. Link

But you still see a couple of well maintained cars on our forum. Between Desmocedeci and myself, we own 3 such cars - City V-Tec and 2 Baleno's (I wish we had retained the Qualis). We met today morning to discuss about cars and have a mini photoshoot of our cars. The discussion spanned through various topics - Indian cars, bikes, supercars etc - but nothing more interesting than our cars. Come on, these were the cars we started reading about first when auto magazines like Autocar, Overdrive, Business Standard Motoring started their subscriptions. These are the cars that started the "luxury" segment in India. These are the cars that bought about the change in the Indian car industry. These are the cars that moved people away from imported cars. These are the cars which put India on the automotive world map.

Today these cars are old and you would hardly see them on our roads. They would have either been scrapped or sold for a very competitive price in smaller towns. However, a few of us still own these cars (either from new or brought 2nd hand). The objective of this thread is to bring together owners of all discontinued Indian cars to participate in a regular meet and discuss our cars. Once we have enough participation, we can have a meet / drive, what you say guys?

The Blast from the Past drive can aim to include the following cars (and of course, everyone is welcome to join along in any car) :

Maruti Suzuki

City Type 1
City Type 2

Lancer (SLX, SFX)

Cielo (Nexia)


Siena / Petra / Weekend

Update this thread with details of your car and once we have a sizeable number - lets arrange a meet.

P.S. Please feel free to add any models that I may have accidently missed out.

Name:  BalenoVTEC1.jpg
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Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past-balenovtec3.jpg

Last edited by Rehaan : 17th September 2013 at 16:31. Reason: Awesome opening pic! Edited post to clarifying that others are also welcome to join in any car.
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Old 16th September 2013, 10:58   #2
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Default Re: Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past

Great meet idea with cars of the nineties

I can join in with my '97 Classic.

Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past-img_4786_7_8.jpg
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Old 16th September 2013, 14:59   #3
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Default Re: Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past

When Allen (BHPian V12) purchased his Baleno, we always used to argue with each other on whose car is better. He would say his Baleno is a 1.6 and my Vtec is a 1.5 whereas i would fight back stating that my Vtec is a 105 Bhp whereas his Baleno is 100 Bhp or is it 90 . All these talks used to end in a friendly banter, lets do a shootout and see which one is the faster one.

Both of us used to work in the same organisation and this was the usual topic once a week much to the irritation of others around us who used to think of anything with an engine and wheels as just a mode of transportation. This went on for 2 years (yep, all show no go).

Finally last week we decided that enough of procrastination, lets atleast do a Photo Shoot to start with. We started early morning at around 6:45 from Allen's place at Versova and headed towards Bandra Worli Sea Link. Allen's brother Gordon joined us.
We did not want to do any kind of shootout on public roads and restricted it to a Mini Photo Shoot.

After reaching Bandra, we scout around for a nice parking spot. Much to our dismay, we find so many people up and running and also find many couples who have reached much before us and occupied a lot of spots with their 2 wheelers.

Finally we find a place and park our steeds. Allen rightaway gets into Shoot Mode and starts clicking pics while shooing me and Gordon to get outside his frame.

I must add that this place where we were clicking pics is actually quite dangerous as most people drive at a high speed on this wide road leading to the Sea Link. It was quite a task for Allen to click the pics while me and Gordon kept a watch on the road to alert Allen.

After spending some 45 minutes, we moved on to Bandstand expecting some nice spots but by then the entire city has woken up and we couldnt do anything, so we parked outside the remains of Sea Rock Hotel and went inside the ruins / bandra fort as they call it. I must say that the view from here of the Sea Link is just wonderfull.

Here we discussed how the automobile scenario changed in the 90s. So many manufacturers came down to India. So many options for the car buyer. Such a change in technology. We wanted to get more people with their old but faithfull machines and have a meet, thats when we decided on the 'Blast from the Past' title.
Apart from all the cars Gordon and Allen have mentioned, it would be great to get the Premier Padminis, 118 NEs, Ambys or the Contessa Classics as well.

After some chat and a chai, we headed towards Carter Road not expecting much and we were right. We ended our mini meet there and headed home with a promise to catch up soon for a night photo shoot after this early morning one.
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Old 17th September 2013, 11:45   #4
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Default Re: Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past

A few pics that i had clicked
Attached Thumbnails
Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past-dsc01728.jpg  

Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past-dsc01731.jpg  

Meet | Drive : Blast from the Past-dsc01732.jpg  

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