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Old 4th March 2015, 18:01   #1
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Default Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Yeah, you've read it right! It was a spirited trip down south to Cape Comorin. Wondering if its only me who sort of likes the name Cape Comorin more than Kanyakumari.

It all started, as usual, over a Whatsapp chat on a weekend drive. The agenda was a 500+ kms drive, as we had made up our mind that the destination doesn't matter as much as the journey does! Our plans usually vanish after discussions, but this time they didn't.

There were quite a few options explored before zeroing on Kanyakumari and once decided, rooms were booked at TTDC and the plan was to start in the early hours of Saturday (Feb 28). It started off with 3 guys for the drive and changed to 4 and then went up to 6, but finally, it was just 4 of us.

Same was the case with the rides for the trip. From 2 diesel Puntos, it changed to 1 and then finally, we ended up doing the drive in 2 mean machines namely the Palio S10 and Palio GTX.

Definitely, it was a case of heart over head in choosing the 1.6 for this drive as we were sure the fuel bills will burn holes in our pockets and what more, the fuel gauge of both the cars didn't work! So, without thinking too much about fuel, we decided to hit the highway in the Palios.

The machines:
My S10 aka 363 and teky's GTX aka BlueBoy (BB):
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150111_134915.jpg

The men:
L to R: Hari, Dhans, Myself & teky:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150228_170626.jpg

Just a brief note about us - teky is a BHPian and most would be knowing him, while the other two, I dare say, are veterans when it comes to the Palio and the goto guys for anything on the car. We got to know each other through Fiat, all of us own more that one Fiat and importantly all us own a Palio 1.6!

Last edited by Aditya : 7th March 2015 at 12:04. Reason: Spacing
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Old 4th March 2015, 23:31   #2
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

We planned a 5 am start from Semmanchery (OMR), but managed to start at around 5:45 am, stopped for fuel at Kelambakkam and then proceeded towards GST via Thiruporur and Chengalpet. I was driving 363 with Dhans for company and BB was driven by teky and with Hari in the passenger seat. Typical early morning empty roads took us to Chengalpet earlier than expected and that's when 363 hit the all 8 mark!
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_065037.jpg

It was nice relaxed cruising all along until we decided to break at Haritam for an early breakfast:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_075240.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_075248.jpg

Got a nice seat which gave us good view of our cars:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150228_071338.jpg

It was an extended break and we started back with slight changes in the plan. We decided to take a detour - tour into Madurai town to Forza Italia for some after service formalities for Hari's Punto and also planned to take lunch at any of the popular destinations there. I swapped places with Dhans and we continued. Again, not much on offer and it was a usual drive till Ulundurpet with traffic steadily increasing. "Usual" I say, since it's our regular route to our home towns. We decided that the next stop would be at Trichy.

Post Ulundurpet, traffic was much lesser and the average speeds increased with opportunities for a lot of quick bursts in between. There was hardly any other car for company and the Palios left behind whatever was available. We stopped some 15 kms before Trichy at an IOCL outlet for refueling (we decided to refuel every 300 kms as the fuel gauges didn't work).

After the first refuel near Trichy, the figures stood at:
BB 13.5 kmpl
363 12.45 kmpl
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150228_102414605.jpg

BB has quite an aversion to diesels

This was a pretty longish break, as we halted a few meters off the fuel station for some pictures:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-dsc_0097.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_102508.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_102516.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_102634.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_102852.jpg

The next stop was decided to be at Viralimalai, some 20 kms after Trichy. This was more of a customary coffee break at one of the Iyengar bakes, just to stock up on some Kalimark Panneer soda. This is a default pit stop for Hari, who frequents this route and will stock the drink as its unavailable anywhere in Chennai.

Last edited by Aditya : 7th March 2015 at 12:14. Reason: Spacing
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Old 5th March 2015, 21:44   #3
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

We had some fun with a 525 for company, until we had to stop at the shop. The roads already felt deserted and the sun was belting down. To our disappointment, the shop had run out of out of stock of the soda and hence, we had some coffee and continued the drive towards Madurai, after the shopkeeper assured to get the soda in stock for us to collect it on the return journey.
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_112838.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_112908.jpg

Hari was refreshed after the break and took over the wheel of BB for the first time on this trip. He was driving a GTX on the highway after many years and within minutes he disappeared. It was Hari and Dhans in BB and I was behind the wheel of 363 with teky for company.

However hard I tried, we could hardly spot BB! Finally, we spotted the car near Madurai, near the toll plaza when they decided to stop and wait for us. We had a short break for some refreshments and continued. BB was leading the way with suggestions from Google Navigation to reach Forza and 363 was following. We deviated off the highway and Madurai welcomed us with chaotic traffic. As usual, Google took us through some narrow lanes and after a good 45 odd minutes, we reached Forza hungry and tired.

Sachin posing with his fans at Forza :
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_132929.jpg

Hari went in to meet the service manager, while we three decided to take ourselves into the showroom. The SAs in there were surprised to see folks walking in with Fiat tee's and mistook us for people from Fiat visiting them (posing like this was definitely planned by us though).

We were there for a good 1 hour and continued for lunch. We were already hungry and didn't want to drive back into the town again for the Kumar/Konar mess and hence, settled into one restaurant near the showroom itself, which was recommended by the service manager at Forza.

Seeing the two Fiat's entering the restaurant parking (which was literally empty), an employee rushed out. He seemed unusually excited. He asked me "Sir are you from Fiat Club?" I was relieved and thought, "at least this guy got it correct, unlike the SA at Forza" and when we replied "yes", his next question was "Sir, you could have driven in a Millicento or Select and instead you are driving in race Fiat's (common terminology for cars with FFE)". Again we were taken back by his knowledge on old Fiat's - he even mentioned about Elegant's and bug Fiats!

The service at the restaurant was decent, but the food was nothing to write home about. Drivers changed again with teky taking the wheel of 363 and Dhans driving BB. We set off from Madurai.

Last edited by Aditya : 7th March 2015 at 12:28. Reason: Spacing
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Old 5th March 2015, 21:54   #4
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

We hit the highway and the roads were completely devoid of traffic with one or two vehicles here and there. The speeds increased and the next break was planned near Tirunelveli for fuel.

We got some respite from the heat with a surprise shower welcoming us after Virudhunagar. It was a pretty small shower, but it did bring down the temperature, making for a more pleasant drive:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_155014.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_155200.jpg

We reached Tirunelveli and couldn't spot any good fuel stations. So, we proceeded further. We then hit a spot on the highway, which is seen in quite few movies and stopped to get some pictures:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-dsc_0138.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150228_163626602_hdr.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_165812.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150228_170409.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-dsc_0133.jpg

The drive continued after a 20 minute break and we found a fuel station. The figures after 2nd refuel:
BB 9.3 kmpl
363 11.3 kmpl

The average speeds were pretty high given the open highway, devoid of traffic and we were also wary of the quality and quantity of both the Trichy and Tirunelveli outlets as well. Well, no regrets though, as we enjoyed every bit of the drive. Now Hari was behind the wheel of 363 and teky took over BB in an aim to resurrect and make up for the single digit FE figures achieved by Hari.

363 was leading and we were the first to reach the end of GST! Not often you get to see warning sign indicating end of road:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-11001572_10153085545474871_534969055155380529_o.jpg

We deviated off from the GST and reached TTDC just in time to witness the sun set. BB reached some 10 minutes later and we checked into the room post sunset. The TTDC property was brilliant, situated along the Indian Ocean which gives us brilliant views of both sunrise and sunset! The rooms were strictly average. The staff was well-behaved and courteous, which was a huge plus.

The view from the reception:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_181938.jpg

View from our room:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150228_183718.jpg

It was one awesome drive from the east coast to the south - more so, since it was in the 1.6 machines! We hardly had any plans of seeing places and retired for the day with plans to witness the sunrise the next morning and then start in time to reach Madurai for lunch in either the Kumar mess or Amma mess. With the sad news of the fuel price hike, we hit the bed pretty late rejoicing with the moments of the drive.

Some random images from the dash cam:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img20150304wa0060.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img20150304wa0064.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img20150304wa0065.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img20150304wa0067.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img20150304wa0068.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 7th March 2015 at 12:38.
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Old 5th March 2015, 22:20   #5
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Basking in the morning sun at the southern most secure parking space of India and the closest spot to the equator:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150301_085012.jpg

Checking the fluid levels before starting the return journey:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150301_101304.jpg

Next morning we started at around 11:30 am, post breakfast.

Spotted this Euro II TSI Padmini in Kanyakumari town :
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150301_112336.jpg

This time, the traffic was lesser than the previous day. Though the road had a lot of undulations, it was one brilliant drive! This time, we had a Vento and a Sonata for company. I was driving 363 and teky was at the wheel of BB. There was one straight stretch for few kms with excellent visibility and there was this white Vento in the right lane, some 100 meters ahead of me. The moment he saw me, he started accelerating which was evident from the gush of black smoke the car emitted all of a sudden. I too, started accelerating hard and passed him comfortably.

The Vento hardly came back after this and we crossed Tirunelveli quicker than the onward drive when a new Sonata joined us. He was effortlessly cruising. On a straight stretch, he effortlessly smoked us and we sent him off with respect! Who wouldn't? After all, its a 2.4-litre 198 bhp motor!

That's how empty the road's were:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150301_113228758.jpg
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150301_120746056.jpg

We reached Madurai in 2 hours flat and headed straight to Kumar mess. As always, Google threw some challenges and we settled down for lunch, lucky enough to get safe parking too. Post lunch, we then headed to "Famous Jigarthanda" to indulge in Jigarthanda and then continued the drive back home with a fuel stop at BP COCO on the Madurai by-pass.

Figures after third refuel:
BB 11.5 kmpl
363 12.3 kmpl

This is when we noticed BB's exhaust was making some unusual noise and on checking, found that one of the bolts had given way - thanks to the exhaust guy in Chennai, who sort of habitually ensures we face such issues in almost all such drives! This was specifically checked and changed few days before the drive and like last time, when it happened on another Palio, he ensured that it gave way in the middle of this drive too:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150301_102002_1.jpg

We found a workshop few kms from the fuel station and there was a very old mechanic running that place. We could see all sort of vehicles in there, right from bicycles to a Qualis and not to forget quite few Ambys and an abandoned Dolphin as well. He fixed this issue in minutes and we were back on the road:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-p_20150301_162945.jpg

Next stop was at the same place in Viralimalai and the shopkeeper let us down again saying that there was no stock. Luckily, the shop opposite to his had them and he asked us to pick them from there. We did so and continued.

This confused Polo pulled over just to check the Palios out:
Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!-img_20150301_175143.jpg

Traffic started increasing steadily and the speeds were down. Another fuel stop at Ulundurpet COCO and we continued amidst the steady traffic.

Figures after 4th re-fuel:
BB 11
363 10.6

Now, with Dhans behind the wheel of 363, we had a red Figo for company and he was driving beautifully and showed mutual respect for all. His company kept us engaged from Ulundurpet to Chengalpet, where we took a break for dinner and then we deviated off from GST to OMR and reached home around 11 PM.

All in all, one amazing road trip - like none other! The Palios never showed any signs of age and were up and roaring at every single instance. We gained respect everywhere. Even onlookers at tea shops and restaurants were eager to have a peek at the blue and yellow and we literally set the roads on fire! It was only during this trip we felt that we did some justice to these cars. So long we have been wasting their potential in bumper to bumper city traffic. Definitely a trip to cherish for a lifetime and only if petrol prices don't go up, can we ever imagine one more drive like this.

Hail GT!

Last edited by Aditya : 7th March 2015 at 12:58. Reason: Spacing
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Old 6th March 2015, 08:17   #6
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Nicely written Travelogue, one awesome trip it was.

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Originally Posted by h14 View Post
All in all one amazing road trip like none other. The Palio's never showed any signs of age and were up and roaring at every single instance. We gained respect everywhere. So long we have been wasting their potential in bumper to bumper city traffic. Definitely a trip to cherish for a lifetime and only if Petrol prices don't go up, we can ever imagine one more drive like this.

Hail GT!
This pretty much sums up the entire trip experience. These machine want open roads and cruise comfortably all day without missing a beat. We had friends asking if we were going to complete the 1400+ Kms trip on a 13 year old car, the cars not only completed the trip without any issues but in a grand style.

Damn the Petrol prices I'm looking forward for another trip on these cars!
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Old 6th March 2015, 10:47   #7
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

A well-written travelogue, Anandhkumar. Nice to see the blue and yellow Palio twins in action.

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This was more of a customary coffee break at one of the Iyengar bakes just to stock up some Kalimark Panneer soda. This is a default pit stop for Hari who frequents this route and he will stock the drink as its unavailable anywhere in Chennai.
Some decades back, Kali Mark's plant was located at Royapettah High Road, Chennai near my home. Thanks a lot for giving me a tip about the availability in those places.
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Old 6th March 2015, 11:38   #8
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
A well-written travelogue, Anandhkumar. Nice to see the blue and yellow Palio twins in action.
Thank you sir. Glad you liked it!

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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
Some decades back, Kali Mark's plant was located at Royapettah High Road, Chennai near my home. Thanks a lot for giving me a tip about the availability in those places.
Acutally we do get the panneer soda in chennai, but its 400/500 ml can and its a flavoured variety. The ones we picked up were puny 300ml bottles which the is good old original flavour. Do not miss it when you get a chance
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Old 6th March 2015, 13:53   #9
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Default re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Apart from that great action story, I now know, there is one more place to eat before Tindivanam! (Haritham) .

You dont even have to spice up the TL. The colours of the cars do the job! Great story.
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Old 8th March 2015, 14:41   #10
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Smile Re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

I have long maintained that South India has India's best roads.
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Old 9th March 2015, 12:00   #11
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Default Re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Nice travelogue h14. I agree with DevilzzzzOwn. The roads in South India are probably the best maintained in the country.

Coming to the cars, the Palio 1.6 is my favourite hatchback ever sold in India. It has a timeless design and scroching performance with fine handling. The colours on your two machines are very attractive indeed. Nice to know that the cars are holding up so well and showing no signs of ageing.

It's been a while since I visited that part of the country. Need to plan a trip soon!
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Old 11th March 2015, 22:54   #12
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Default Re: Gran Turismo a Capo Comorin - Two Fiat Palio 1.6s drive to Kanyakumari!

Firstly, I would like to tell you that you have written the travelogue very well. I couldn't resist myself from complimenting on that. It would have been a treat for their eyes who saw these two babies rolling together. Somehow, I loved the color combination of the Palios. You guys have maintained your cars very well, And the pics completely do justice to the thread.

Regards,
Swapnil
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