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|1st December 2008, 09:41||#1|
Senior - BHPian
Delhi to Calicut - 3000km in Mercedes G-wagen
PART - 1
I know its too late; but its better late than never! Anyway as a compensation there is some thing more interesting at last!
The story happened a couple of month back, exactly 13th August 2008; at noon when I opened the TeamBHP. Our fellow BHPian Anish (anish9000) posted the news regarding a G-wagon for sale at Delhi. I contacted him personally I got to know that the car is with a dealer who is one of my friend, Mr. Ballah. I called him and he was surprised when I asked about the G. He was about to inform me regarding the car, as he is well aware of my craze for the G-wagon & know how long I was searching for one. Then he quoted a price; as usual I put the matter to my Dad. I always take his permission & advice before taking any serious decision. He told me to take the advice from my best friend Mr. Zabeer (Chennai) who is like my elder brother, he is the right person to take the advice as he already own a 300GD & has got lot of rare set of wheels. When I talked to him, he advised me that the G has no fixed market price in India as there in no much here & those who have one are not for sale too. However he mentioned a price range that is best according to quality of the car. I again called the dealer & quoted my price and asked a week’s time, as my wife was hospitalize for her 2nd delivery. By God’s grace we are again blessed with a baby girl on 16th.
Day 1 – 24 Aug: I reached Delhi and as soon as I reach Ballah send his driver to pick me from Airport. I directly went there and saw the G standing among some luxury kings like the SL55 AMG, M3, Range Rover Vogue, Cayenne, etc., of which I’ve posted the snaps earlier. After a short talk I took the G for a test, it was the 2nd time I was driving a G, that too 300GD. This one is imported in 1989 & regd in 1990 by British Embassy, then was used by Mauritius Embassy & later by an exporter from 2000 onwards who was the RC owner then.
I had my Dad’s word in my mind that ‘I shouldn’t be blind on my craze, thoroughly check the car’. So I thoroughly checked it & took it for a hard drive in through the Vasanth Kunj – Airport Road, which was almost fully broken. The engine & gearbox is mint & the body & chassis felt solid. I’ve not found any sign of major accidents or rust on chassis or body. But during drive I found couple of complaints which are not serious; like the front wheels wobbling - may be due to improper wheel alignment or as the front driving shaft is removed, a/c was not cooling properly – may be due to low a/c gas, some rattling sounds from door glass, break lights on the rear doors, etc. I made a condition with Ballah that the a/c should be proper condition, interior wash, fitting the front shaft, etc. Then I re-quoted my best price that was higher than what I quoted earlier, because after testing it I didn’t want to miss it. He told he’ll get me the feedback the next day after talking to owner who was out of Delhi.
W460-series G-wagons are is popular as a torquey rigid car than a powerful cruiser. That was the first advice given by Zabeer when I first informed about my wish to buy one. The 3.0L diesel produced as much as 80hp & more than 250 NM torque. But I found it not so sluggish, but quite powerful even for our highways. I felt there should be one more gear for the 4-speed manual gears. The swing type arms suspension is good for action & off roading, even though the suspension is hard its not so hard inside even in bad roads.
Day 2: Morning itself I called him to know whether is that a happy day for me. Thank God; he had good news for me, the owner agreed for the price I quoted on condition that I shouldn’t delay the payment. I agreed to complete the deal in two days time. I went to Ballah’s office & fixed the deal by paying an advance & he send the car to garage to do the works I mentioned. I then left to meet some friends & a small shopping.
Day 3: At morning I went to bank & collect the money from bank, but there was a slight short in my account, when I called to office my accountant told about some technical difficulty in putting more cash to my account. Hence I called my dad who was at Mumbai with Mom & a family friend (my best friend Sanjay’s mom) for a function told me that they have a change in program & is coming to Delhi to visit a close family whose Dad passed away a few days back. And he can give me the short, so I paid what I withdrawn. At evening I went to pick my family at Airport, we went to the family’s house & they didn’t allow us to stay at hotel. They have a pretty big flat, so I went & vacated the room.
Day 4: Dad & myself went to Ballah’s office & completed the deal; and by Almighty’s grace I became my most favorite dream machine’s owner. But the car was at a/c repair as there were small leaks of gas through an extension value. As we schedule to return on next day only, we left to an Govt. office as Dad wanted to meet some official & later we went for an outing with the family. At evening when I went to take the car, the work was not over; the mechanic told that by next day morning the car would be ready. So we changed our plan to leave Delhi at early morning.
Day 5: Morning itself Dad & me went to the Paligha Bhavan locale (opp: Grand Hayatt Hotel) were the A/c workshop is. As the work is over, I done an interior wash, by 2:30pm the car is ready. I got my ever-dreamed machine to my hands, I felt so glad that I praise Almighty for the achievement, but I really missed my wife & kids on this occasion. Then went to the flat at Vasanth Kunj, had lunch & packed up .
By 6.30pm we left Delhi aiming to catch up Jaipur by night. From Maipalpur I filled the G to full tank & marked the km reading. As you are aware it’s the peak traffic hours, so when we reached the Gurguon toll plaza we had a very long que, even though there had been 10-12 toll counters.
It’s the second time I’m driving through Delhi-Jaipur Hinghway (NH-8), first was during the test-drive of 730Ld in last year. But that was at day time, exactly fore noon. But this time I face more traffic, especially truck traffic. After a drive of over 50km the roads became narrow to 4-track. Then we got stuck in a long traffic jam, it was a state commercial taxes check post, guess it was Haryana-Rajastan border. We lost almost a hour & a half over there.
My G was performing pretty well, but as it’s a night drive I didn’t pushed it the limit, maintained a speed between 70-80kmph. It was almost mid night while we reach the deviation to Jaipur from the NH-8. Earlier we planned to stay at Jaipur & start the journey next day, but as I was no so tired & both my Mom & Sanjay’s mom were comfortably sleeping in the rear seats, we decide to cover-up the distance we missed in the morning. After moving around 90km we reached a town ship were I stopped the car at a pump to take a short sleep. It was 3.20am then.
I was only worried about aunty as she is not used to these type of long journeys; all in our family are very much used to these journey to sleep in car, adjustments, etc. We used to travel from Mumbai to Calicut which is 1200km, but this is a quite long one.
Day 6: I woke up by around 5.30 am, had a face wash & started the engine. On the NH we came across a Reliance A1 plaza where the pump is closed, but hotel is open, I took the G there. Its quite a good one, clean & well kept, so we freshen up & had break fast from there. We left there by around 7.45am.
Even though we were driving through a 4-track road, it was very good with properly maintained, I think it’s a part of ‘Golden Quadrilateral’, but soon the condition of the road changed, it narrowed in to a single track with opposite traffic.
Dad is quite aware of this part of Rajastan as he used to visit here while we having Marble agency. An area came were there are lot of Marble monuments & gift items shops. We stopped there for a few shopping especially for aunty.
As usual the main vehicle on the NH is trucks & a little state transport busses. Before reaching Ajmer there was long traffic jam, at first I stopped behind the que, but when in noticed that there is no opposite traffic, Then I saw the state transport & local vehicle are using opp track, hence I too followed them, when we went forward we were told that its an accident so to take a short way to Ajmer & from there its easy to catch the NH. We did as advised & then we joined back the NH.
By noon we reached Udaipur, just before reaching the city we saw a sign board to a resort & took the diversion, thinking to have the lunch there & getting any new idea for our upcoming resort. We went forward around 2km the pocket road on the bank of a lake. When we reached there it was a beautiful place with a view to the lake.
When we reached Bheem I filled the diesel & when I checked the fuel efficiency – so far we got an average of 11kpl. I was really surprised to see some beautiful sight of Rajastan, with lot of greens, mountains, beautiful location, etc. Till we leave the state it was green, won’t believe that India’s only desert is in this state.
We proceeded to Ahemadabad & wanted to reach there on or before 8pm. My best & child hood friend Sanjay is studying at NID for ‘automobile & transportation designing’. I wanted to give him a surprise to show the G & moreover his mom also wanted to meet him. But we were more than a hour late as lost the way when we enter the city, by 9.30pm we caught him & was really a surprise for him to see the G. We spend couple of hours with him, had dinner & dropped him at NID. Then we continued.
We planned to take the Ahamedabad-Baroda express way, so before entering there, I again filled the tank & the average was reduced to 10kpl. Might be because of the city drive. Anyway entered the express way, drived almost 25km, my eyes started saying that it need rest! Again a Reliance A1 plaza got for the hospitality, this time we parked the car at the parking lot & had a sleep.
Last edited by hanmust : 1st December 2008 at 09:44.
|1st December 2008, 10:51||#3|
Join Date: Oct 2007
Thanked: 152 Times
Nice write-up, hanmust. Waiting for part 2. It's true Merc build quality that even after 18 yrs, it's doing 3000 km trips with ease. Hope to meet the G on our roads some day
|3rd December 2008, 01:19||#5|
Senior - BHPian
Part - 2
Day 7: Woke up by 4.30am due to drilling of mosquitoes. I aimed Surat to reach for the breakfast. Unfortunately as soon as the Baroda expressway is over, the condition of the road became pathetic. Work of the ‘Golden quadrilateral’ is progressing, but the present road is so bad that I can’t even select the forth gear. But even though G is having a hard suspension there was cushion effect due to the swing action, this helped us from getting tired.
We stopped at a Motel at a place called Bharuch. Had the breakfast & freshen up from there. We decided the next stop at Mumbai by noon, but was not at all sure about the road condition a head. Till we reach Surat the roads were very poor. After passing Surat we got some good strip, but unpredictably the road condition changes & also had some unexpected path holes even in good stretch. These reasons controlled our speed till we reach the Gujarat border & entered Daman. The climate throughout Gujarat was very dry.
It was in between the Bharuch & Daman I spotted the Merc Actros fire engine for Reliance SEZ being transported. Moreover a lot of Volvos, MAN, Tata Novus, AL Hippos, AMWs were seen with some heavy over sized loads in this stretch. I was really excited with the sights even though disappointed with road condition.
Daman had some good roads & was enjoying it, but not for so long. As soon as we entered Maharashtra the surroundings started becoming more & more green. I felt as if we reached Kerala. But the road condition is not still upto the mark even though its much better than the earlier roads. By 3.45 we reached Thane, & had lunch from a hotel called Express (our group name).
As you all are well aware, it’s the peak time for traffic & the roads are filled with motors, I was wondering were are these cars parking in Mumbai, are they putting on top of each cars? We had a drive through Mumbai as my aunt is coming to Mumbai for the first time & they had no time to see place on the stop over at Mumbai while they coming to Delhi. Had the 3rd filling from Bandra & again clocked 9.5kpl, hope you can guess the reason for the lower efficiency.
We roamed through the Colaba, Marine drive, etc. to see the Gate way of India, Taj Mahal Hotel, Obroie Tridents, etc. Then visited my wife’s uncle & aunty who made our relation, as they were family friends of my uncle (our MD) & aunt whom were in Mumbai. They had a great dinner for us & hence had to spend a lot of time there. They also compel us to stay back there, but if we stay there, then we’ll definitely be late to start at morning, thinking that we started by 11.30pm from there.
It was my 9th drive from Mumbai-Calicut & now I’m very familiar with the route ahead. Last drive was in the month of July in a C200 CDI, which I bought for my partner from here & it was the quickest drive that took me only seventeen & a half hours to cover 1350kms. But I’m aware this trip won’t be that quick, more over as my family is there, we were stopping quite frequent to take snaps, etc.
We entered Mumbai-Pune expressway, which is my 19th drive through it. I tried to push the G to maximum but with ease as I’ve to be careful with a car of 18 years old. Even though its said as a torquy vehicle I could easly catch 120kmph. But I limited to it, didn’t wanted to take a risk with the tyres. When we reached the toll plaza, I felt a bit sleepy, I diverted to the motel near by & took a sleep for another couple of hours.
Day 8: I woke up by 3.30 am & continued after a tea. My aim was to reach Sathara for break fast. We left expressway & when we passed Pune there were some mist which caused a bit delay, so before reaching Sathara we stopped at a good highway motel to freshen up & had the break fast.
After it when I started the car, the battery was completely down, I was wondered what went wrong. Anyway as the motel was in a elevated place I just released the car & moved it back & stared in reverse gear. Then my next aim was to find out an electric workshop. Anyway I switched off the a/c. As the time was early morning & Sunday I couldn’t find anything open, so just after passing Sathara I got one along side a petrol pump. When the mechanic checked he told that the battery is not charging & the complaint is with the alternator. Anyway he can’t do the job so recommended to catch up any city, but no problem to run, I shouldn’t off the engine.
It was in between Sathara & Kolaphur I had the first spy spotting of the upcoming Nissan X-trail. Couple of X-trails suddenly overtook me through left & jumped into my lane, then they quickly cruised away. Then I spotted them at a toll plaza a head, then I saw them stopping at a highway restaurant & couple of other X-trails were earlier parked there. Three of them white & one red.
Then my aim was to reach Hubli where there are a lot of workshops in highway side. The roads are one of the best from Sathara to Hubli, so I was just cruising ahead without stopping much for photos & sight seeing. By 2 pm we reached Hubli, from there too the mechanics mentioned the same thing, complain is with the alternator & can’t do anything as its Sunday. It was from here I had another spy spotting, VW Phaeton, it was a V6 TDI being tested upto Mumbai.
So we decided to cover maximum distance we can before the sunset as the headlights won’t be on with this battery charge. Soon after Hubli it started raining suddenly that too heavy rain, at first I stopped, as there was no battery even for the wiper. I found the rain is not going to stop, I slowly started to drive, as G is having a more erected front glass the water was draining out quickly. We traveled around 20km with out wiper & slowly the rain stopped.
We passed Davangere & by evening we reached Chitra Durga, but couldn’t find any good hotel near highway to stay. So we proceeded to Thumkur, before reaching Thumkur the sunset, that too from a remote area surrounded by barren land. Anyway I switched on the lights & had a dim light, but soon that light too went only park light left. So I had to depend on the trucks on the highway. I then place G in behind of some container trucks which are comparatively faster than the other ones. But when I get the illuminated part on the highway I moved fast. At last we reached Thukur by around 8pm. As we haven’t had the lunch we first stopped at a good restaurant & had some food. By that time we enquired about the hotel. We got inform that as we are with family we’ll have to reach the Thumkur town for good hotel. But its almost 10km away from the highway.
Anyway we headed to the town, but on the way the road was very poor & there was no streetlight even. So my mom reminded me about the LED torch we always s carry with her on long trips along with the tool kit. I illuminated it & hold it with right hand towards the road & drove. When we entered Thumkur town I filled the diesel for the last time in this journey. From there we meet a couple of truck guys & enquired about the shortest route to Calicut (I normally go trough B’lore), but truck men told that from Thumkur there is state highway to Mysore which join at Mandya. We then went to couple of hotels, but unfortunately the rooms were full due to some festival over there.
What to do next!!!! I put forward an idea; let s move to Mysore that was only around 100km again. At first Dad asked if I’m confident, then he agreed as I was. Then my Mom also agreed & at last aunty too. Even though it was big risk, I found it thrilling to travel without lights, horns & wipers. We talked to a truck driver who was to Mandya that we’ll follow them in behind & he agreed. At first the roads were quite good, then it started becoming bad & afterwards it was the worst. In between truck stopped at one RTO & another VAT check posts. After covering it around 50km ahead from Thumkur they stopped as they felt sleep. But that place was not at a safe area, hence I decided to mover forward with the help the LED torch.
The surrounding was full of woods, I mean like a forest. Not even a moon light is there other than the torch lights, but slowly it too started dimming. Almost 10kms before reaching the Mandya highway torch was also completely dead. By then I felt like my eyes got a power for infrared camera, I could see the road just with the park lights. I headed with confidence of my 14 years driving experience. By God’s grace without any mistake we reached the Mandya highway. As there were no much traffic, especially opposite traffic, the risk end up very neat. From Mandya to Mysore is a regular rout for me & most of the parts are illuminated & there was good moon light too. I was also confident as there is a divider in between the two tracks. But just after Sreerangapatanam, my eyes started aching, hence we stopped near a small highway restaurant, were we normally stop to have cup of tea on our B’lore night drive. But I kept the engine on.
Last edited by hanmust : 3rd December 2008 at 01:23.
|3rd December 2008, 07:10||#6|
Distinguished - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2007
Thanked: 2,937 Times
Very the lovelies - nice triplog. The last part would've been quite some source of tension at that hour, no?
|3rd December 2008, 07:38||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Dec 2007
Thanked: 1,644 Times
nice write up my friend! and awesome pictures!
G-Wagen looks great
|3rd December 2008, 08:42||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Part - 3
Day 9: At around 5am I woke up and continued the drive. I wanted to reach Calicut atleast fore noon as Dad had some important job at office; moreover we were out of office for a week. Though the route so familiar that we can drive by closing the eyes. We passed Mysore, Nenjankode & reached Gundulpet the border town of Karnataka & Kerala. We freshen up & had break fast from the famous Udupi hotel there. Still the engine was on.
When I looked at the, I realized that it was more than 24 hours the engine is on in the car, still even the temp gage was normal. Then I remember the word of Adil Jal Dharukanawala, Editor of Times wheels. During the event of BMW at Aamby valley, I meet him & asked about the G-wagon. Then her shared his experience of crossing the Sahara desert in a G-wagon. He told me that he even after crossing the desert he didn’t eve had to open the hood atleas for checking the coolant.
We crossed the wild life forest through the highway & passed Muthanga & Mysore. When we reached Lakidi which is a very beautiful location, we stopped & visited our resort site. By 11.30am we reached my home town Calicut very safely, without tiring. Except the battery issue, there were no other complaints. I even carried my tool kit & mini-compressor to fill the air. I at least expect a tyre puncture, but my His grace there was no bitter experience.
By this the first G-class in the state has anchored at Calicut. A journey of 2970kms, covering 7 states, 3 Metros, various terrains, different climates, etc. ends here! Thank God for the safe journey.
Later when I checked the car with my mechanic it was perfect, he told me that it’s a solid alternator, but a terminal was detached from the alternator, hence the battery was not charging. See how much it effected due to the poor work culture of our country!
Now here is my compesation; test report of the latest avatar of G-class - G55 AMG: (Mercedes Benz G55 AMG - Tested)http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-drives-initial-ownership-reports/49956-mercedes-benz-g55-amg-tested.html
Last edited by hanmust : 3rd December 2008 at 08:44.
|5th December 2008, 17:46||#11|
Senior - BHPian
|6th December 2008, 00:14||#13|
Senior - BHPian
|31st March 2009, 20:03||#14|
Join Date: Sep 2007
Thanked: 161 Times
Contact Number of Bhalla
Could anyone give me the contact number of Bhalla? I ask since a few of you seem to know him. I am looking for a short wheelbase Landcruiser II or an 80's Isuzu Trooper. Of course, if I get a G Wagen, I will go for it!!
Sasi Menon, Jaipur.
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