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Old 2nd June 2012, 02:17   #1
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Thumbs up Restoration of Arun's FIAT - '91 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

FIATs in India!
Premier Padmini a.k.a FIAT, the car that ruled Indian roads for around 5 decades and continues to serve quite many of us even today. Many of we Indians grew up with being commuted/ traveled in FIATs, many learnt driving in a FIAT and a large majority of them surely repent for having sold their FIATs. FIATs are surely part of Indian Heritage and Important part of Indian Automobile History. Long Live FIATs.

Why this thread?
My journey from Karthik to FIATian Karthik started over a decade ago when I used to dream day night of owning a FIAT car especially the 118 NE. After I finally bought a FIAT, I got to know many other FIATians in Bangalore and me along with Karthik Mallur, Sujith Thomas and Arun Srinivasan went on to start the FIAT 1100 Club Bangalore [FCB]. Arun Srinivasan, a friend of a kind, has great passion for cars especially the Classic FIATs.

Last weekend when I met Arun, his drive was his recently restored Premier Padmini. I know this car, usually referred to as 297(regn no.), she was looking stunning. The car was restored with great passion and having seen the efforts put by him for this restoration, I thought I should create this Restoration thread for him to motivate others who have similar passion for old FIATs.

The Padmini is now complete n back on road after an hibernation for restoration of almost 35 months. I will post the entire restoration story in pics provided to me by Arun.

Details of Arun's Padmini
Make : Premier Padmini
Variant: Economy
Manufacturer: Premier Automobiles Limited (P.A.L)
Year of Manufacture: 1991
Delivery: 07th February 1991
Colour: Pale Lilac
Dealer: Manickbag Automobiles, Hubli, Karnataka
Owners: Single Owner
Regn No.: KA 28 M 297
Cost: 1,05,000L approx.

To get the real FEEL of PASSION of this Restoration, I felt it's important to know some brief history of Arun's Padmini, taken from his Restoration Blog.
Quote:
Why Padmini?
Way back in 1991, I recollect my Dad discussing with me and sisters about a NEW car we wanted to buy. We used to discuss the financial implications as even a 1lakh car was too expensive then. After driving a couple of his colleagues' Padminis , he was fully convinced to buy one.

On 7th Feb '91 mid-night, Dad and his driver drove the car from Hubli to Bijapur. My Mom woke me up saying "The FIAT has come!". Aah, I still remember the first time I saw my Babe - A WHITE ANGEL! Our first drive was to a Ganesha Temple. Few days later, my Sister's friend put the "Arun" sticker on the rear wind shield!

My father bought the Base variant of Padmini which was known as "Economy". It had body colored bumpers, simple seats upholstery and no wheel caps as part of a policy to cut costs!! The Economy model was 10k cheaper than Standard Model as per Dad.

Dad was very particular when it came to maintaining the car. He was particular about our feet being clean before our ingress into the car. He also warned us to close the door slowly!
I was in 3rd Standard when we bought the car. I was very excited to know how the headlights, indicators and other stuff operated . I used to ask my Dad's permission to sit in the car and try out all the controls. I was warned not to change gears!

May 1991, my family and FIAT shifted to Manipal. The car was restricted to weekend drives.Every Saturday evening, Dad would fill 5 litres of Petrol(20rs per Ltr) and we used to drive to Udupi Krishna Temple, 8 kms away from home. I remember Dad never used to switch on the head-lights, may be because of in-efficient charging of Dynamo, I guess.
Mom, Dad and I used to sit in the front bench seat and my three sisters at the rear. We did numerous trips to Nellore and Bangalore when in Manipal. Four years in Manipal and the car had just one scratch on rear wheel arch.

May 1995, my Family and FIAT shifted to Bengaluru! The car was a veteran of 14000kms on the odo in 4 years. We had no parking space in front of house hence she started getting minor scratches. To add to this, Dad started to use the FIAT daily to office which was in City Center - Majestic! Very sadly, I used to notice scratches very often.

Feb 1996, two of my Sisters got married. The FIAT was decorated by me with roses! The car was being driven a lot and scratches too were increasing! Meanwhile Dad got transferred to Lucknow and car was very sparingly used for the next two years. In 1998, my Parents became Grand parents! Again lots of driving around and in 1999, my third Sister got married.
By now the FIAT was sentimentally very very attached to family. The car had lost its sheen because of scratches. We got the tinkering done and a over coat of paint. Spent 8k in total and got insurance claim of around 3k. We then fit a Gas connection as petrol prices were going up.

I started finally driving the FIAT in 1999! Had a minor accident, the rear mud guard of my FIAT was damaged. Scared of my Dad, my friend-Shanth Kumar and I tinkered it with lots of Metal Paste and the result was horrendous!

Feb 2003, we bought a Maruti 800 car. We had then built another house and my FIAT got a closed parking place. By this time, I got too busy with College and the FIAT was hardly driven from then. In 1996, it was time for F.C. Dad was too busy and I din't know how to renew the F.C. Insurance too was expired. Car was sparingly driven , and that too on Gas. Dad used to scare me saying it was illegal to drive around with a gas connection. Because of all these reasons, I hardly drove the FIAT.

Fast forward to 2009, I was done with my Masters and was free as a victim of recession. This is when I met Karthik Makam, Sujith Thomas, Karthik M.B through Orkut and went on to start Fiat 1100 Club - Bangalore.

A couple of mechanical problems like rusted radiator, bad clutch, suspension bushes and the main issue - Water pump had gone kaput and it's bolt was stuck in Engine Head. The solution was to remove Head and get the lathe work done! I was not sure of how to do this and led to my FIAT's one year hibernation. I had lost few original parts like White bumpers, original grille etc. Thanks to Team-Bhp, I learnt a lot about FIATs and I wanted to give the FIAT a complete restoration. So I started stripping the car.

The ODO reading says 34,800kms! For the past 10 years, I have hardly driven the FIAT for 1000kms!

Karthik Makam and me used to visit the car scapyard regularly. We collected lots of FIAT Delight original parts. My idea was to convert my FIAT to Delight style and this project was code named "DELIGHTing my Padmini". But THANKS to Karthik Makam, he kept saying that I should restore my FIAT to original form like it rolled out of Factory. I then scrapped this project. I have hardly seen any "Economy" model PPs. This motivated me even more! I soon got all the parts needed to restore the FIAT to 'Economy' Form.
Karthik Makam gave me his 1990 Padmini Standard - 331. I fixed all the Delight parts to 331. She looks gorgeous!

My FIAT friends used to tease me that my FIAT will soon land up in scrapyard if I don't start the restoration soon. Because of personal issues, I couldn't start off with the restorations. Sometimes I used to get nightmares cos restoration is not a easy job. Finding the right people to work on old cars is a tough task!

I have almost never driven my FIAT on highways. The main purpose of Restoration is to improve it's longevity and make it reliable for long drives.

Finally, now starts the DREAM RESTORATION of my DAD's FIAT! Each time it used to rain, I used to wipe out the water on the car when the rain stops. I knew the floor would rust, hence had painted the floor with oil paint a decade ago. I used to cover her with two later car cover when parked on road and not used. All this has helped my FIAT stay 90% Rust free!! I am super excited to see my FIAT get restored. Wish me GOOD LUCK!

Regards,
Arun Srinivasan
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Old 2nd June 2012, 02:23   #2
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

The Padmini spent it's initial days in Bijapur and Manipal, Karnataka.

Arun and his sister Deepa, used to wash the Padmini every weekend, and did click a few good pics too!

This is how the Padmini looked when new, with few aftermarket add ons.
The darkened boy in the pic is Arun, he colored himself in the pic way back then as he wanted only the FIAT to be seen in the pic.

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Arun's Nieces enjoying the good old Classic Mama's car!

Padmini after losing the original bumpers, grill, beadings etc.

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Old 2nd June 2012, 02:31   #3
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Padmini being serviced and greased at Gojer service center Bangalore in 2009.

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Engine Bay look really dusty!
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Underbody being washed.
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Greasing in progress
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Engine bay looks a bit clean now!
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Interiors getting cleaned
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Old 2nd June 2012, 02:39   #4
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Arun's Padmini at the First Official Meet of FIAT 1100 Club Bangalore [FCB] on April 19th 2009.

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Old 2nd June 2012, 02:56   #5
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Now the restoration Pics.

When Arun decided that the Padmini had to be restored, he started stripping the parts from the car and kept them safely. Every nut and bolt that was removed, was safely packed in sachets and kept at home, so that no part had to be stored in the garage and hence no risk of losing them.

Here are some pics of the Padmini when some of the parts were stripped. The body line is very good, just with few dents and rust bubbles.

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Rust spots
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Rust spots sanded down and applied red primer to prevent further rusts.
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Rust near running board.
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Security man washing the Padmini.
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Arun's two FIATs! 331 n 297!
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Padmini at FCB Meet!
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Old 2nd June 2012, 03:06   #6
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Mechanically the Padmini was very sound, except for the water pump issue! The pump was never changed since new and it had gone kaput. While trying to remove the bolts of the water pump, one out of the three bolts got stuck in the engine head. For this reason the head had to be removed out.

greasy engine bay!
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Arun's greasy hand!
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Mechanic Manoj removing the head
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The broken bolt of water pump stuck to the head!
Restoration of Arun's FIAT - '91 Premier Padmini 'Economy'-6.jpg
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Old 3rd June 2012, 17:16   #7
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Jan 2011 - Time for TINKERING!

Arun got the Padmini towed from his home to the tinker's garage near Jayamahal. Nizam the tinker, is a pro in tinkering vintage and classic cars.

The body of the Padmini had two major dents; one below the boot and another near the rear wheel arch. The other works were minor dents and working on few rust bubbles. Total cost for tinkering was around 22k. Total time for tinkering was 3 weeks.

Pics to describe the tinkering events!

Padmini being towed to tinker's garage.
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The part below the boot being replaced as it had a major dent.
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Old 3rd June 2012, 17:23   #8
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Default Tinkering the rear wheel arch

The other major dent on the Padmini was on the right rear wheel arch. A drunken M800 car had crashed into the Padmini in 1999.

The dent was tinkered by Arun and his friend with lots of metal paste back then. Now it was time for Nizam to give back the perfect shape!

Pics!

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Old 3rd June 2012, 17:33   #9
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Default Floor restoration

The Padmini's floor was eaten up by rust in many places, thanks for the Mangalore climate n rains!

The parts to be replaced were painted with two costs of primer and after the piece was welded to the floor, again the primer was applied to all bare steel areas. Arun gifted the tinker his vacuum cleaner to remove the rust particles from unreachable areas when the inner running board was replaced. It also helped to keep the interiors clean for a perfect finish.

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Clean finish!!!
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Old 3rd June 2012, 17:41   #10
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Some more pics of the right side floor work.

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Old 3rd June 2012, 18:06   #11
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Default Body Tinkering

Once the floor work was done, it was time for rest of the body to be tinkered.

Enjoy the pics!
Attached Images
                              
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Old 3rd June 2012, 18:21   #12
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Tinkering Pics continued..

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Tinkering done, now Padmini goes back to Arun's home.

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Old 3rd June 2012, 23:26   #13
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Default Mechanicals and underbody painting

After the tinkering was done in January, the Padmini was towed to Arun's home.

In June, the Padmini was towed to the Mechanic's garage for all mechanical works and underbody/chassis painting. Mechanic is Lokesh, having around 30 years of experience, not a perfectionist, but better among my known mechanics.

Painter is Murthy, Arun knows him two decades. He was waiting to work upon the car as Arun kept telling him from many years that he dreams to restore the Padmini to full glory.

Spares for mechanical works costed around 10k. It includes, Clutch plate, suspension bushes, radiator, fuel pump, water pump, coil, delco, points, air filter etc.

The cost for mechanical works was 10k and underbody cleaning and painting costed 5k.

The total time for the above works was 3 weeks.

Pics!

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Old 3rd June 2012, 23:44   #14
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

Pics continued..

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Engine ready to be fit back!

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Last edited by funkykar : 3rd June 2012 at 23:46.
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Old 3rd June 2012, 23:50   #15
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Default Re: Restoration of Arun's FIAT - 1991 Premier Padmini 'Economy'

The engine was then fit back. The Padmini started right away. Arun then drove her back to home.

Here is a Video of the Padmini starting after a gap of two years.

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