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Old 12th December 2016, 22:16   #1
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Cool Acquired Passion - 2007 HM Ambassador MPFI

Why Ambassador?
My addiction with cars is fascinating. I have had a lot of cars in my life, especially in the last decade. The variety of cars included Maruti 800, 118NE’s, Padmini’s, Padmini S1’s, Palio, Palio Adventure, Safari, Linea, and a Cruze. Around a year ago, I somehow developed an acquired fascination towards the yester decade Ambassador. From my thought perspective, this car was always an underdog. I never let my mind pay attention towards it, as mind was preoccupied with the Fiat 1100 and anything that relates to it. I have completed an easy 18-22k kms on my 1997 Premier Padmini I got just couple of years ago from Nashik [http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...angalore.html] (Pre-Loved '97 Premier Padmini S1 - From Nasik to Bangalore).

Once I really got interested with the ambassador, I prepared myself for a stint with the Ambassador. Casually, I started searching on various used car portals including Team-Bhp classifieds. It had to be a petrol and with a 1800 Isuzu engine. For me, even if its a classic car, I should be able to use as daily drive reliably. I prefer to use it and enjoy it, rather than just own it for pride. Performance and reliability was the main thing on mind. So my search was for an MPFI Ambassador. If it has AC and Power Steering, will take it is a bonus, though not a big fan of either. The initial search was slow and lacked conviction. After Arun1100 got an Ambassador for himself recently (http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/post-w...r-mark-ii.html (Got Marked by a '74 Ambassador Mark II)), some chemical process happened within me and I started to fast track it.

I had shortlisted many Ambassadors that fit the bill for me.
1) A 2000 MPFI in Jayanagar, Bangalore. White colored
2) A 2001 MPFI in Jayanagar, Bangalore. Cream colored
3) A 1995 CARB in Tiruppur, PY registered. White colored
4) A 2010 MPFI in Guntur. White colored
5) A 2010 MPFI in Chennai. White colored
6) A 2005 MPFI in Jalandhar. Blck colored, taken from Army auction I suppose
7) A 2005 MPFI in Patiala. White colored
8) A 2007 MPFI in Pondicherry. White colored
9) A 2004 MPFI in Shivajinagar, Bangalore. White colored
10) A 200x MPFI in Harayana. White colored
11) A 2005 MPFI, Pune. White colored.

Only 1,2,9 cars of above, I could personally see. All 3 did not have a battery to try it. They were from government auction from different departments in Bangalore. They seemed in reasonable condition. The quoted price sounded pricey as the road tax was to be paid by us, new Insurance made and buy a new battery. Apart from this, a full servicing and a lot of cleaning and detailing activity with a service was needed. It was really a big gamble. They wouldn’t let us test drive even with our battery until some sort of advance was paid. We kept it on hold.

By the time I had enough pictures, 3) got sold. I was not too keen anyways as it was a carburetted engine and math of paying tax and getting the car re-registered was not justifiable.

Similarly, by the time I could have seller send me enough pictures, the Guntur (4) car got sold. I was too disappointed. From the initial pics, it really looked top notch and in awesome condition. The Chennai one was too expensive and owner was in no mood to negotiate. He wouldn’t agree to send pics either. Had to forcefully drop this choice.

6) and 7) was again not too co operative to send pics on Whatsapp. The one in Patiala wasn’t responding to Whatsapp. I was in process of getting someone check the car, and the owner was out of town for a while.

Here are some pics of the cars I saw.

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Images sourced from OLX and few clicked by me.

Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 22:46.
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Old 12th December 2016, 22:20   #2
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The final selection!
During the search, I had casually messaged for some details on the 2007 PY car. Owner Shagul responded after a couple of weeks. I couldn’t even remember contacting him. Then on OLX we continued to chat and then switch to Whatsapp. Luckily, though he was new to the Internet, he managed to answer all my queries and just managed to get me enough pics. I spoke to him several times clarifying a lot of things. After 2 days of chat up, everything presented to me looked good and convincing. We all know how deceptive pics could be, especially with classic cars. I quickly checked around with a few friends for any contacts in Pondicherry. While doing this, I also told Shagul I would pay him a token advance and asked him to give me a weeks’ time for me to come to Pondicherry and check the car. Repeatedly, I asked him for account number to transfer a token amount. He just wouldn’t give, but he was kind enough to take down the advertisement until I visited the car. I was very pleased. Meanwhile, my office colleague had a friend at a town 30kms from Pondicherry. He couldn’t help me get a mechanics contact for evaluation of car. He himself wasn’t car savvy either. I anyways made up my mind to go check it out myself.

Bhpian Ilango at my rescue, again!
While I set my dates and made travel plans, I casually messaged our BHPian Ilango. Gone are the days when Ilango helps us with car maintenance and car issues. He was perplexed, confused about my decision to buy Amby. He parked his thoughts and questions and said he will enquire why am buying the Amby later. In a few hours time, he gave me a number of a colleague(Jayakumar) who hails from Pondicherry and working in Bangalore. I messaged him and he was quick to respond. He said in a days time, he will get back. In fact, in a days time he did get back stating he has spoken to a mechanic who is trying to contact the owner of the car to pay a visit. That very day, the owner did not answer his call nor my call. He was too busy. My travel to Pondicherry was fixed for a day after and suddenly the owner doesn’t answer calls properly. He was yet to give account details for the money transfer if the deal went through. Thanks to the demonetization, he got well versed and some how barely managed to give account details. I did a test transfer and he wouldn’t pick calls. I was really confused. Then after a day he picked the call and said he was terribly busy. I was so irritated that I asked him if he was interested to sell or not. I even asked if he already sold and playing with me. Then, he says some mechanic representing me came and saw the car. He was satisfied with the car. Call and find from him more details if you want. That really relaxed me and things seemed back on track. He also explained me that the test transfer had to be verified at an ATM. The account had not even linked a phone number, forget online access. Moreover, the account was of a cousin’s. It was exclusively shared based on my request and also due to demonetization. Some how, Ilango always has a role in my classic car purchase. Of course, he is the lifeline for us to maintain them.

Journey to Pondicherry!
At office, a couple of my colleagues(Venkat and Ashutosh) planned for a drive to Tirupati along with a common friend Girish. They dragged me into this wooing me with letting me drive the TJet and also that climbing of steps is equivalent to a gym session. I couldn’t resist either and agreed. The visit to Pondicherry was also supposed to happen at the same time. Some wicked ideas started flowing in my mind, especially that I needed to visit Pondy without anyone from home knowing about it. Should I cancel Tirupati and just go to Pondicherry. What about doing Tirupati and Pondicherry both with the friends. Then I decided I would do both, but Tirupati with friends and Pondicherry alone. I did not want to burden my friends. If deal went through, the return journey will be dictated by the condition of Amby. So, I did not want to force it on to them. After driving up to Tirupati on 23rd Nov Wednesday evening, we could just catch 1 hour sleep as we reached very late night and had to start climbing the steps very early morning. My fitness regime made me ascend the 9kms of steps to Tirumala in less than 90 minutes. I did it non stop and did not even need to consume a drop of water. Slowly and steadily, the friends followed. My job of visiting Tirumala was done. There was a bus from Tirupati to Pondicherry at 11:30AM that would reach Pondicherry by 6PM. I quickly reached back to Tirupati after saying bye to my friends, had a shower and rushed to the bus. I barely managed to get into it. The excitement of the Amby meant, literally no sleep in the bus as well. I had 2 options. Reach Pondy, evaluate the car, negotiate and buy if it’s good or return to Bangalore by the night bus. If I happened to buy, I again had 2 choices again, drive over night or halt for the night and start next day. My inclination was to halt for the night, as I had no sleep previous night.

Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 11:33.
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Old 12th December 2016, 22:31   #3
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The EVENING!
I reached the Indira Gandhi square as the owner Shagul Hameed had instructed. I get down and call the Shagul several times, no response. LOL. I was irritated! I remembered the apartment name he had told. I checked google maps and saw that it was just 3km away. I checked with a few autos, they quoted handsome fares of 150-180 bucks. I tried to pretend to be a local guy by asking confidently in little Tamil I know. It did not work!! From the traffic conditions, it looked like walking would take just 10 mins more than an Auto. By the time, I set my foot, Shagul calls me and apologises stating he got delayed in gym. He would send a person immediately to pick me. The person he sent arrives in 15min and takes me to a different place and offers some chai and biscuit. After 20 mins, Shagul arrived and again a chai session was in place. Totally relaxed and casual he was. It was irritating for me. I am not complaining, but that’s how cool and calm and easy that guy was. After chai and 10 mins of chatting, he took me to the apartment where the car was.

First look at the Amby!
The very first look, I was impressed. A quick 360 view, I felt car was pretty good. Unlocked the doors and checked all the door edges and bottoms. Front 2 doors have some rust, but not alarming. I have seen such rust on 10-12yr old Ambys in Bangalore. Being coastal, this had considerably lesser rust. At the least, I knew this wasn’t something to reject if rest of the car was in good nick. Car started easy like any other MPFI car. It idled high RPM as designed to quickly come to operating temperature. The engine sounded noisy due to a leaky silencer (he had already informed me about during chatting, so had the mechanic). The engine note sounded perfect! Checked the engine bay and dickey and was satisfied. No structural damage or rusting. Took it for a test drive of about 1km. Came back and said to him I was buying. All this was less than 7-8min. I had indicated my roughly 75% of his advertised price as my quote over the phone if I liked the car. He wasn't happy with the price and had said its slightly negotiable only. I did tell him that I don’t see any defects in the car and he had maintained it well. I only asked him to be considerate of the fact of Karnataka road tax. He did say he was appreciative of the offer I made and I did not start from much lower price. In a minute or two, we quickly settled for an 85% of his expectation. Sealed the deal! Both parties were happy!

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Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 11:39.
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Old 12th December 2016, 22:38   #4
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Payment process.
Then came the tricky part of payment. He said his cousin was a police officer and its his wife’s account that I made the transfer to. There was some confusion and he couldn’t clearly confirm me that the test transfer was successful. He said, lets go to the police station and have him check his account again. We left the car at apartment and went in 2 wheeler to the Police Station. We had few more chai’s while we waited for the officer to come meet us. He then socialized a bit and rode to the ATM to check if test transfer amount was received. Once he confirmed, I did an online payment of most of the amount and handed rest in cash. New 2000Rs notes, used for the first time by me for a car cause. That itself is gives me immense pleasure. By this time, he instructed his guys to go get the original papers and transfer papers from his home. Yes, we had finished the buying process even without him giving me or showing me papers for real. That was the level of trust I put on him. He was a real gentle man and stuck to his words. Every single detail of the car he had given me. We went to the apartment and took some pics. He was a bit emotional and said, one last time he would dust the car and dusted all-round the car and wiped the windshield. With the excitement of buying the Amby, my sleeplessness just vanished. I felt I could drive to Bangalore. I did tell him, I intended to drive. He offered me to stay in his beach facing resort free of cost. I denied it and wanted to drive back. The boys returned with just the original papers and forgot to get the transfer papers. I did not want to waste anymore time and said, please courier me the transfer papers, I will send the originals back for NOC later.

The Previous owner.
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Me, the proud owner.
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A parting pic.
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Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 11:41.
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Old 12th December 2016, 23:07   #5
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Exciting journey- Drive to Bangalore from PY!

All the while from inception of the idea till the buy process, Arun1100 was doing some or the other process in the background. Whatever car pics I send him, he would check how it was, if anything wasn’t right and also consult D-Bhpain DrAnjan Chatterjee. This car and few other cars are photo approved by DrAnjan Chatterjee. Though I don’t know him personally, I feel I know him so well now. Arun was very keen on making it to Pondicherry. He had even booked ticket for himself for the Thursday night bus to reach Pondicherry early morning to accompany me on return journey. More than accompanying, he wanted to be part of this story very badly. He was only in the background until then. His coming to Pondicherry looked bleak by the hour due to work commitments and by late evening, he had said he was very doubtful. After taking delivery, Shagul and his boys escorted me till the petrol pump and let me off at the highway.

Now, with a tank full of petrol, and the Ambassador all to myself, I started my journey to Bangalore. Just after I passed town traffic, pulled over and started to understand each of the buttons and controls of the car. I wanted to let out my happiness and called Arun. Just a minute into me narrating the day’s story, he made me stop! He said he wants to hear it for real and not just over the phone. He said since it was a night journey back to Bangalore, he could take a bus and try joining me mid way. This way, he could be part of the story and also could turn up to work the next day. I felt totally fresh as and when I started to drive. Was totally fit to drive all the way!

At the fuel station.
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The route I chose was Pondicherry – Thindivanam – Vandavasi – Cheyyar – Arkot – Vellore – Ambur – krishnagiri – Bangalore as advised by the locals. Luckily, Google Maps also suggested the same.


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Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 11:45.
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Old 12th December 2016, 23:22   #6
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Pondicherry - Ambur Drive.
Once I started the journey, in no time I realised I was the only road user for miles, literally! I hardly saw any vehicles to and fro. Weekday late night, driving was such a bliss. Realized I hadly had any water to drink. To get a water bottle also meant a very long time as most shops were closed. All the way up to Vellore, it was just me and the Amby. I really got comfortable driving it by then. Tested the brakes and found the front right wheel would lock up a bit at speeds over 70kmph. This made me pull the steering wheel to left to correct and even a bit extra would drag the car left and freeing steering would get the car pulling right again. In simple, the brakes at higher speeds was wobbly and snake like. I kept checking with Arun how he was progressing. Based on the speeds I was doing and the average pace of Rajahamsa that Arun was on, maths told I should meet him well after Ambur. Once I hit Vellore and proceeded towards Krishnagiri, the traffic felt normal, yet on the lower side. As the Amby and Rajahamsa closed in, I found a toll booth and stopped there. Arun intimated the driver who was very glad to drop him off at the Toll Booth.

Arun's bus to the extreme left and my Ambassador to the extreme right.
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Thanks to the demonitization, had to pay 0 toll. Arun was elated to see the car. He hardly could control his emotions. He was jumping in joy. He too was pleased to see the car in a condition much better than what he perceived it to be. He drove the next few kilometres and it certainly got his old memories of driving the Isuzu engine back. He was kind enough to hand over the Steering back.

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Slowly and steadily we made it to Namma Bengaluru. We had 0 issues with the car, of course, its just 9 yr old and already called a classic!
A stop just before reaching Bangalore.
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Bangalore -Mysore - Bangalore drive
The very next day, me and my friends had to be in 10k Marathon. It was near to Mysore and at 6.30AM. I was already sleepless in the last 2 days. One night drove to Tirupati and the next night drove Pondicherry to Bangalore. Reaching Mysore by 6am meant leave home by 3AM. I really really had a very tough time waking up at 2AM. I couldn’t skip this one as we had all registered many months back. I had inspired my friends and literally forced them to register. Of course, I chose the Amby to drive to Mysore. My friends were at my place by 2:45AM and promptly waiting in front of my Padmini. I stepped out of home and cooly escorted them to the next street where I had parked(hid) my Amby. They were surprised and delighted. As soon as they got in, first thing they exclaimed was the roominess and the sofa like seats, just like in home. They were even pleased to see the DVD player. By chance I had copied 3 different video files on to a pen drive to test what formats it plays. HD, FHD and a normal rip. Finally, it could detect and play just the rip. My friends had a nice time watching Kannada movie Upendra all the way to Mysore. This movie charged all us up and we did better timings. The run was one of my slowest timed runs, thanks back to back sleepless nights.

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Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 11:49.
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Old 12th December 2016, 23:39   #7
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In this 350+ kilometres of driving, I already had many thoughts running in my mind on what works to do for my Amby. Jotted down these on Evernote right after reaching home:
  • Get the brakes cleaned and fix the issue of locking up
  • Cooling system running on water. Add surf excel, flush out the system and later put coolant [Idea given by BHPian Manishalibe many years ago]
  • New shoes. 185/65 R15 or 195/65 R15.
  • Run the car on a fuel system cleaner like System G
  • Alloys of Avigo
  • Keyless Entry
  • Spring action on accelerator is hard. Don’t know if by design or something can be done.
  • Remove the sun film
  • Engine Oil, Differential Oil and Gearbox oil change
  • Air Filter change
  • Petrol Filter change
  • Does it have a pollen filter? If yes, change
  • Change to IND Number Plates
  • Footwell lights
  • Lighting up the dickey
  • Service the Sequential LPG kit. Its not working. Will get it to running condition, just that its there. I would prefer to run on petrol though.
  • Finally a good wash and rubbing polish
After a bit of discussions with Arun, he suggested Gypsy rims for the Amby. I looked up some pictures on google and also the thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...rakes-etc.html (HM Ambassador Modifications: Power steering, disc brakes etc.). It really looked lovely. Since my objective of running Tubeless was met by these rims, I have decided to go for these rims. I enquired at MGP and quickly purchased a set of 4. I also chose Good Year Assurance Triplemax 185/65 R15 from Snapdeal at a reasonable price. I have had several discussions with Ilango before choosing this size. 195/65 R15 Vs 185/65 R15 was debated endlessly and finally choose the 185 section. On my behalf, Ilango enquired on the Coimbatore made brake drums suitable to mount Gypsy rims on Ambassador. After he spoke to many friends who have tried this, the general feedback was, the fit and finish is excellent. The working of these drums was not satisfactory. They wouldn’t dissipate heat properly and the wear on them is too less. Simply put, the braking is much lesser. This strictly doesn’t fit the bill for me as my original premise itself is to tap maximum performance, meaning I need the best possible braking, or say I wouldn’t let such compromises happen. So, I chose exactly what Narendra did on his friends Ambassador on the above thread.

I visited Madhus to get the tyres fitted on to the new Gypsy rims and to get them balanced. I visited them on a weekday noon. Luckily, very few customers were there. I got immediate attention and in less than 10-12 minutes, it was all done and loaded back in the car. Now the challenge of getting the front hub modification and rear wheel drums drilled for Gypsy on hand. Until then, I cannot use the wheels. I PMed Narendra on team-bhp and he was generous enough to reply back with his mobile number. I had a very long conversation with him and explained my need to be very similar to what was done on his friends car. He was kind enough to refer me to his mechanic named Mani. He said he knows this work and would do it well. I fixed up an appointment with Mani and have left the car at his garage to get this work done.

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Old 12th December 2016, 23:55   #8
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Story of repairing the LPG kit by Mr. Pandian

I found that the LPG kit wasn’t functioning. The switch in the cabin wasn’t in working condition. Just that it has the Sequential type kit, I was very interested to get it to work. I would love to run it on only petrol though. When I went to the filling station, it hardly could take in half a litre. The make of the kit is BRC. I went to an LPG kit service centre that I have known for years. After a quick check, they said they do not have expertise servicing these kits. To check why it wouldn’t fill LPG, they even tried letting out some gas out of the tank. After 15 min, they gave up saying the tank may be full. The needle however shows empty.

Without any hesitation, I rang up the LPG Specialist Pandian(http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/bangal...bangalore.html (LPG Specialist : Mr. Pandian (Bangalore))). Not only a specialist, he is the only person in Bangalore with expertise of BRC. After a quick chat, I was to meet him the very next day. Visited him after almost 4 years. My earlier Palio Adventure was fitted with a BRC kit by Pandian. Pandian connected the laptop and noticed several unknown errors. He also said the LPG was not filling meant its full or something wrong with the tank components. Unless he lets all gas go, he wouldn’t be able to check. He then examined the switch and said it has to be sent back to company for repair/replacement. Moreover, these older BRC kits are no longer supported properly by BRC for some reason. Spares don’t come easily. He tried to switch to LPG mode from the laptop, it briefly tried to switch and used auto switch back to petrol. Since the issue couldn’t be identified in 2-3 hours, he suggested me to leave the car. He would thoroughly examine and fix whatever issues were there. He asked for a generous 3 days time for him to check all components and fix it. He also noticed many things the installers had done and said he would correct them too. After 3 days passed, he called me for a test drive. He needed someone to drive the car while he checked few parameters on his laptop in real time. The car was struggling a lot to be driven. He then said few possibilities were there why the car was not running well. After 2 more days he called and said almost all issues are fixed and switch was to come very soon. After switch arrived, I went to him. We did an elaborate test drive of about 60 mins. Based on my feedback, he kept tuning the kit. Once I was happy, he froze the parameters. Asked to come back for a check after 500kms. Also, the tank was indeed full. The needle and LPG indicator still don’t work. He asked me to use up all the LPG and then visit him so he could check the float.

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Posing with the Elder bro Amby!
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Last edited by funkykar : 13th December 2016 at 11:53.
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Old 14th December 2016, 14:16   #9
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Mod Note: Moving out from Assembly Line Section (More Information about this sub-forum (The "Assembly Line" Forum section)).

Congratulations! Classic car with a modern tinge, looking forward to updates and restorations.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 14th December 2016, 15:59   #10
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This is required passion I would say !

Many congratulations for yet another classic added into your Garage - So I will be able to lay my hands on your Amby after I drove the S1 and the 118 NE. Looking forward to do that soon.

And I think this time you got something that has those comforting features - Aircon and Power Steering. Those Gypsy OE Rims would make full justice to the Ambassador without doubts.

The best of it all - You managed to get one in White and on a serious note you must replace that globe on the Dash to Indian Flag to complement the car and the shade you are driving. After all, this one is synonymous as a VVIP car.

All the best and lets catch up soon.
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Old 14th December 2016, 16:09   #11
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Many congratulations on your new addition. Was eagerly waiting for a thread on your Amby acquisition. I am glued to this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkykar View Post
By the time, I set my foot, Shagul calls me and apologises stating he got delayed in gym.
Acquired Passion - 2007 HM Ambassador MPFI-shagul.jpg
Didn't you ask him what he does at gym? Are you sure he came from the gym?

-Ilango
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Old 15th December 2016, 19:13   #12
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Congratulations . The car appears to be in a decent shape. I presume it has a manual steering. If you ask me please remove the LPG kit and run it on petrol to feel the power of a petrol Isuzu. Do post more pics of the car
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Old 15th December 2016, 20:43   #13
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Congrats, Car is in decent shape. ISZ 1800 Amby's are fun to drive, though they drink a lot. But a good machine to live with, i spent a good 3 years with one example (Fathers Official Car).
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Old 15th December 2016, 21:17   #14
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Congratulations funkykar on your new buy. The chronology of happenings is very well narrated.

The next priority will be to find a good workshop at Bangalore for the upkeep of your prized possession.

Wishing you happy driving !
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Old 15th December 2016, 21:26   #15
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Congrats, Kartik ! Another Amby rescued !

One question to you guys - what are your thoughts on FC & long-term usage of these cars in Bangalore city ? I have long harboured thoughts of getting a Tata-207, but the FC's & stuff keep me off (apart from cash & parking )
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