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Old 6th May 2011, 02:20   #1
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Default One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Long pending ownership review and it will be a long post so please bear with me.

Before I begin, I would like to thank the following Bhpians for help during the decision making and after purchase queries
GTO: For reminding us that there was this wonderful option called Chevy Spark. Thanks a lot sirjee!!
Sawyer & harishnayak: For their invaluable ownership experience & inputs about the car
SPARKled: For putting up with my countless queries relating to the audio set up of the car. Without him, my SQ set up would not have sounded as good!!

Now that the acknowledgments are over, letís get down to business.

How it started?

Our trusty old M800 from 1995 was past itís prime and needed to be replaced. The car was primarily supposed to be for the ladies of the family and the hunt began. The requirements were AC & PS. No other fancy stuff was needed. The options short listed were
Alto800 Ė This was the only version available in Mar 2010
A Star
Spark PS (After GTOís post)

Alto 800 was rejected straight up as it was not much different from the M800 to the ladies in terms of feel and comfort. Of course they loved the PS.

A-Star was rejected due to the high dashboard-low seating combo

Spark struck the Spark with the ladies!! They loved the interior, exterior, refinement of the engine, everything and everything about it. Whew! So it was finally decided and we booked a white Spark PS.

Delivery Experience:


The car was booked in the Trident Chevy showroom. Booking and delivery experience was very smooth with no hassles whatsoever. I requested the showroom guys to paint the bumpers in the body color. They did a fabulous job with the painting and it looked like LS now.
Freebies offered were: Foot mats, mud flaps, remote locking, and car cover. Everything was ready on the D-Day and it was hassle free drive back home. The total on-road price including the painting charges came to
Rs. 3, 53,000 /-

Twist of fate:

Due to some twists and turns, the car landed as a primary run about for me and my wife!!!! All this while I was planning on buying a Polo TDI to replace the Indica V2 at home & this had to happen. Well, nothing much to be done about it. Accepted the fact and moved on. And I have to say, the Spark is a wonderful city run about. More in the drive experience section below

Running in, Interiors and Exteriors:

Religiously followed the running in instructions as per the user manual and also got the first oil change at the 1000 kms assurance check. Spark is a very well sorted package in terms of interior/exterior design, suspension, NVH, well almost everything.

Interiors: Though not to the i10 standards, the beige interiors do make the innards very lively and inviting every time I take the car out for a drive. You donít walk into the car like the Santro or dump yourself into the low seat of Alto. The seats are a go-between the Santro and Alto.
The cubby holes are dime a dozen and you will never run out of cubby holes to store your chewing gum, mobile, wallet, audio remote and a plethora of other stuff that you might carry in the car or on your person.
The front 2 seats are excellent in terms of comfort, while the rear runs short of space if I am driving. I am 6í0 and have to rack the seat all the way back. With the back rest angle set to my comfortable driving position, no one taller than 5í1 can sit comfortably in the seat behind me for more than an hour. For short city rides, itís perfectly fine.

Exteriors: Again, full marks to Chevy for the well thought out exteriors. To be honest, for the first few weeks, I felt the car to be girly. But then it kind of grew on me and after a month, it actually started appealing to me like how a charming girl appeals to a guy. She looks best in the side view as compared to any other angle. Very good paint quality and nothing to complain about.

Drive Experience:
Honestly, having owned a 2005 Zen MPFI for a short time, I was disappointed with the peppiness of the car. I found it to be sluggish and was left wanting for more. But gradually I started to understand the strengths of the car as time passed.
AMAZING low end torque, due to which you can cruise in the city all day in 3rd gear at speeds of 25-30kmph without the engine showing any signs of lugging. Fantastic. With the traffic in Bílore going for bad to worse, this was a boon. And it would pull cleanly in 3rd from 1100 RPM up to 2000 RPM.
Refinement is top notch. I ended up cranking the car when it was started as the engine was totally inaudible. Full marks to Chevy for the engine refinement. The blower is the only sound heard inside the car once you roll up the windows. Well insulated cabin as well though you can hear a bit of road noise.
Suspension is perfect for our road conditions and well set up. Though the reports are suggesting the suspension can get bust in a year or 2, touch wood, there are no problems in the last 14 months of ownership. The ride quality is top notch and body roll is minimal. You can take mild curves at 80kmph confidently.
Tires are Acceleres from Appolo and they are doing a good job in the wet, dry, sand & anything thrown at it. So no plans of changing her shoes until 30-35k kms when they start wearing out.
The controls though reversed are chunky and of good quality. You will get used to the center console and the reversed light and wiper controls very soon. The only downside with the center console is the rear pax can see the speeds you are doing and if itís the uncles/aunties then they start losing it even before the needle is touching the tip of the 100 kmph mark.
High speed stability is very good. The highest done on NICE road before the mods was 130 kmph after which I ran out of road and also had a guilt to revv her all the more. After the mods, well no guilt at all as she begs to be revved and yes she gets it. The top speed was 145kmph in the same NICE road.
The car has completed 11200 trouble free kms in the last 14 months. The mileage figures before mods was around 13 kmpl in the city with AC and 16-17 kmpl on the highway with AC. After mods, it was initially lower by 0.5 kms but after 500kms of driving with mods, the mileage has settled at 13.5 kmpl with AC in the city and 18 kmpl on the highway with AC.

Aftermarket Fittings:
The list was already mentally sorted about the aftermarket fittings. It would be sunfilm all round including the front wind shield, SQ audio set up, headlamp upgrade and a diff sounding horn. Enter SATYA from EVO. Man does this guy know the cars and the customers! I am grateful to him for having advised me all the way from sunfilm to the audio setup. His job is top notch and i would recommend him without batting an eyelid. The list and brands is as foll:
1. Sunfilm - Window and rear, not sure of the brand but they do their job. Front windshield is Garware Alps.
2. Headlamps - Hella 90/100
3. Horn - Bosch Skoda type horn
4. Seat covers - No art leather for our hot-humid conditions. Went with beige fabric seat covers which are very close to the stock color.
5. Steering grip - Satya's recommendation of brand and don't remember the brand name. But its very comfy and is a must have.
6. Audio set up:
Kenwood HU
JBL Amp
HiFonics Compos at the front
JBL 10' sub.

The audio set up is amazing and hats off to Satya and his boys for the neat work that they did on the installation. I did not want to lose the bottle holders when they were cutting the door pads for the compos. The boys did an amazing job and saved the bottle holder and also squeezed in the compos. Satya never fails to mention that mine is the best sounding Spark whenever I visit him. Hope he means it too!! (Running for cover)

The GROUSE:
Now with everything so perfect, I should have been over the moon right? WRONG. I was not. Agreed it was a great city car with amazing low and mid end. But the top end was totally disappointing. Take it to 3000 RPM and you feel the engine is being choked by the intake/exhaust. And again the engine is not happy to be revved in any gear. She is most relaxed with 2000-2200 RPM shifts be it city or highway. This was a dampener for me and I started looking for options. Enter ENGINE CAL.

The FIX=Performance Mods:

The masterminds behind the work that went into the car are the guys from Engine Cal. These chaps are very helpful and would answer any queries, no matter how stupid, insignificant or simple it is. Don't get fooled. They can answer even the most complex query related to engine, electrical, fueling, ECU, idle sensor blah de blah de blah!! They were referred by a common friend and the chaps have now become closer than the friend who referred me to them!!

I took my car to check if there was space for any mods. They examined the engine bay and confirmed that there was good potential for mods in the car. We sat and had a round table about my requirements. I told them that I want the car to be a bit freer revving than it currently is and I was not looking at major BHP gains or anything.
They heard me out patiently and recommended that I go in for 4X2X1 header set up along with a resonator and muffler tip for the growl and go for a conical performance air filter for starters. I agreed on the spot as the knowledge they displayed during our chat was immense and I could believe them that no harm would come to my car in their capable hands.

They were accommodating enough to come home to pick up my car and take it for the headers work. The headers were designed at Raj Hingorani's place but the specs were provided by Engine Cal. The fabrication of the headers was supervised by them and they selected a very sweet exhaust note to go with the headers. They managed to get the fabricator to design the headers in such a way that my stock engine heat shield would fit on it. Kudos!! They also chose a BMC conical air filter for my car based on the engine capacity. The combo was very good and the moment I heard the car I fell in love with the exhaust note. They were also very thorough in the fact that all the stock parts including the stock exhaust were arranged neatly and brought back in the car without as much as staining the beige seat covers. Goes to show the extent of care these guys take when they are handling the vehicle.

I am revving the car in each gear starting from the 2nd till the 5th and loving every bit of it. The car has become lot more free revving and it can revv upto 3000 RPM without breaking a sweat in each gear. It has got a lot of juice left to take it further as well.

A quick word about the modifiers - They work mainly with Diesels but they also work with petrols, albeit on a much smaller scale. Their main expertise is with ECU calibration and they also have a tuning box similar to Pete's with better features. Its called Rapid and their prices are very competitive. They ride with you to understand your driving style and provide maps accordingly in Rapid. They can be reached at 9900357800 or 9900327800 for all your modification queries. Please PM me for more details about their firm and their tuning expertise.

The main thing that i liked about them is that they don't go overboard with their recommendations. They keep in mind the limitations of a car and suggest the right amount of mods that are required to extract the best performance.

@mods, I have no commercial interest in marketing Engine Cal. I am just helping fellow friends to spread a word about their firm. Please remove the content if found inappropriate.

All Izz Well & it ends here. Now to add some color to the thread, a few random shots of the beautiful lady. Don't have too many but will try and post more in the coming posts.

Signing off!!
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Last edited by abhinav.s : 6th May 2011 at 02:31.
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Old 6th May 2011, 10:50   #2
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Abhinav

Amazing write up and good story telling

Goes on to show that any car in india can be modded and potentially used in motorsports making it more affordable

Hopefully someone in FMSCI will listen and let us use them in the INRC

Today even the likes of Swift are not homologated
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Old 6th May 2011, 10:59   #3
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Neat subtle mods! and great write up. Could you also share some pictures from under the hood and the exhaust system if you have them please?
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:05   #4
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Raise the hood, my friend!
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:08   #5
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Loved your performance mods. Now except for thr free revving, any improvemnts to accleration or change in milegae?
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:10   #6
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Nice review and i can agree with you on so many points. I drive a Chevy Spark PS as well. Trident guys have indeed done a good job painting the bumpers to the body color.
Mileage: Agree with the figures you have mentioned.
Have clocked about 17000 kms and it has been a breeze. Prominent negative point about the car is that its performance when the AC is turned on. You can clearly feel the car is trying hard. But again its a 1Lt.

Last edited by GTO : 31st May 2012 at 14:36. Reason: We do NOT allow any posts of overspeeding / dangerous driving. Thanks
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:10   #7
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Congratulations abhinav for your cute little Chevy spark. Great write up, nice pictures and modifications. Please add some more pictures of your car and keep the thread updated with servicing experience.

Wishing you many miles with your Chevy spark. Drive safe.
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Old 6th May 2011, 11:11   #8
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Nice! and thanks for sharing! as others pointed out, more pics of under the hood please?

@ MODS - Can this thread be moved to Bangalore Directory please? I think it deserves there. Otherwise in the Modifications setion.

Regards,
narayanang76
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Old 6th May 2011, 12:23   #9
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushikkrishnan View Post
Abhinav
Amazing write up and good story telling
Goes on to show that any car in india can be modded and potentially used in motorsports making it more affordable
Thanks Kaushik. And of course with the right people giving the correct suggestion, any car can be transformed to your liking!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
Neat subtle mods! and great write up. Could you also share some pictures from under the hood and the exhaust system if you have them please?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankk View Post
Raise the hood, my friend!
Thanks Jaggu and Mayank. Under the hood pics shortly. Its due for a thorough cleaning this weekend. Once done, I will post the pics under the hood and also of the exhaust system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPARKled View Post
Loved your performance mods. Now except for thr free revving, any improvemnts to accleration or change in milegae?
Thanks a lot sir!! Without your perfect recommendation the Sparky audio would not have sounded so... Great!!!
Major changes i observed were as below:
1. Free revving in all gears
2. Load with AC is not noticeable. In stock condition i was forced to be in 2nd gear in a particular speed with AC, the same can now be done in 3rd and the engine does not feel strained with AC
3. Acceleration feels lot better though i am not interested in timing it.
4. The sweet sweet sound of the exhaust. Top marks for the Engine Cal guys for helping me with a very subtle sounding but sweet sounding exhaust note

Change in mileage was noticed initially as it dropped by 0.5-1km. I was not too bothered but the guys assured me that there will be a slight bump a little later on. True to their words, after i got used to the way the car drives with the mods, it increased by 0.5km in the city and 1 km in the highway runs both with AC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightening-Fast View Post
Nice review and i can agree with you on so many points.
Mileage: Agree with the figures you have mentioned.
Thanks L-F... You sir are very brave to have taken the Sparky to 151kmph in stock condition. My conscience was not allowing me since it felt so strained at 130 itself, i did not want to hurt her anymore!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevolt
Congratulations abhinav for your cute little Chevy spark. Great write up, nice pictures and modifications. Please add some more pictures of your car and keep the thread updated with servicing experience.
Wishing you many miles with your Chevy spark. Drive safe.
Thanks for your wishes and yes this will now be a running report of ownership. The time management hassles were only till the report went up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by narayanang76 View Post
Nice! and thanks for sharing! as others pointed out, more pics of under the hood please?

@ MODS - Can this thread be moved to Bangalore Directory please? I think it deserves there. Otherwise in the Modifications setion.

Regards,
narayanang76
Thanks and under the hood pics shortly. And I would like this to be in the Initial ownership section itself please since there are not too many mods that are going to happen further and this will be more of a ownership review with service updates etc.

Last edited by GTO : 31st May 2012 at 14:36. Reason: Quoted post edited
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Old 6th May 2011, 20:28   #10
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Truly 1 of a kind.

Appreciate the bells to tinker with a new Spark. How is the city drive now? Has the low end torque being compromised?

I would love to see matt black alloys on your car.
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Old 6th May 2011, 21:12   #11
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline GT-R View Post
Truly 1 of a kind.

Appreciate the bells to tinker with a new Spark. How is the city drive now? Has the low end torque being compromised?
The low end torque was one thing which I was very particular about when speaking to the modifiers. I informed them that the L-E-T was already very good and I wanted to retain it as is. And they stuck to it and all credit goes to them to ensure that the L-E-T was not compromised. City drive is breezier than stock since it does not struggle with AC on now. With the 0.5kmpl increase in mileage with AC in city conditions, no complaints whatsoever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline GT-R View Post
I would love to see matt black alloys on your car.
Well, i was thinking of getting the rims painted Matte Black. But now that you have sown the seed, I might think of the alloys!
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Old 6th May 2011, 21:15   #12
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Sleeper car with deadly internal mods. Loved all of it.

Spark is indeed a "dark horse" of hatchbacks. Responsive engine coupled with a light clutch makes it a very easy ride (recently had a chance to TD a new Spark). Your mods seems to have carried forward these essences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
4. The sweet sweet sound of the exhaust. Top marks for the Engine Cal guys for helping me with a very subtle sounding but sweet sounding exhaust note
Would it be possible to post a sound clip of the sweet sound.
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Old 6th May 2011, 21:29   #13
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by dot View Post
Sleeper car with deadly internal mods. Loved all of it.

Spark is indeed a "dark horse" of hatchbacks. Responsive engine coupled with a light clutch makes it a very easy ride (recently had a chance to TD a new Spark). Your mods seems to have carried forward these essences.



Would it be possible to post a sound clip of the sweet sound.
oh, yeh...that too!!
and if possible do a drive by in front of a camera/mic, rather than sticking the mic near the exhaust and revving the car when stationary...
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Old 6th May 2011, 22:11   #14
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Car looks good indeed. Requesting you to share the cost. Not for the audio part but what gone under the hood.
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Old 6th May 2011, 22:29   #15
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Default Re: One of a kind!! Chevy Spark PS with mild performance mods! :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Well, i was thinking of getting the rims painted Matte Black. But now that you have sown the seed, I might think of the alloys!
I am sorry cannot imagine a lovely sounding car without proper dress.

Think hard & think fast. Please.
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