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Old 7th October 2016, 13:25   #1
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Default Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

If you were a car owner in the pre-independence era, right up to the mid-nineties, you've definitely spent a lot of time at Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency Ltd (BCMA). Either checking on your car's delivery status as wait periods would run into years, or getting your ride fixed at the workshop under the showroom (cars were hardly reliable then). Sweet-talking sales & service advisors was a regular affair. I was a customer of the BCMA for my Premier Padmini 137D, 118 NE & Yamaha RX100. I think we were also looted of our Peugeot 309 booking amount, as were thousands of others (related link).

BCMA was to Premier what the National Garage was to Hindustan Motors, and Vitesse to Maruti. These were the premier South Bombay dealerships for their respective brands.

BCMA today is a ghost of its former self, but they do have a nice lounge - Karma. I was a regular there a decade ago.

Sharing some historical pics & details that I found on the BCMA website:
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Old 7th October 2016, 14:55   #2
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Sharing some historical pics & details that I found on the BCMA website:
Thanks for sharing. No doubt they were an industry on their own at one point. In fact this lovely pamphlet was posted back in 2012 here

I was really happy to see my old neighbor, the Parts Manager late Mr. Banaji, who had even spent a long time at Fiat's headquarters in Italy.

More related reading in terms of ads and locations can be found at this thread

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vinta...bly-india.html
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Old 7th October 2016, 15:44   #3
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

Wow - what a bygone era. I was too young but I distinctly remember some stickers of Bombay Cycle on some of the cars in the family - I think the last one to bear one was the 118NE in the late 80s. I remember there was some serious issue with the pipe of the AC and would have to be replaced with alarming frequency as there would be an inadvertent leakage on the front passenger side. I don't think the issue was ever fixed but the NE did come back with a fresh BCMA sticker.
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Old 7th October 2016, 19:06   #4
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

I purchased my first car from Bombay Cycle at Opera House in 1997, a few years before they closed their doors forever. A Fiat Uno Diesel (the rage at the time). While the service and the car were both quite horrible, nostalgia emanated from every corner of that showroom.

I was sad to see it shut down forever, largely due to myopia and inbred Indian family owned business politics.
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Old 7th October 2016, 19:17   #5
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

Your thread takes me down memory lane. Thanks for the same. Spent some time reminiscing.
Nostalgic; not with Mumbai but with Thiruvanthapuram.
I vividly remember Stanes Motors show room for Standard cars, Massey Fergusson tractors and Jawa motor cycles. It was located next to Marikar Motors dealers of HM on MG road.

Last edited by rajeev k : 7th October 2016 at 19:18.
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Old 7th October 2016, 20:26   #6
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

Thanks for sharing this, really made go down memory lane. Our first brand new car was a blue colored Premier Padmini Deluxe BE with a factor fitted AC, booked at Bombay Cycle and Motor Agency. I was still in school then, when I happily went one morning with my dad and mom to collect our car. It had the new style number plate beginning with MH01, which was a novelty for me at that time. How time flies and all those memories came flooding back. Thanks again.
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Old 8th October 2016, 17:52   #7
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House-bombay-cycle-motor-agency-dodge-adv-april-1949-tbhp.jpg

Advertisement from April, 1949
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Old 8th October 2016, 19:23   #8
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

In the 90s , I remember many of the MH registered Padminis and NEs in our company in Gujarat sporting the BCMA sticker on the rear windscreen ; and the stickers looked impressive.

I also faintly remember having seen BCMA's automotive division somewhere in Churchgate in 1994.It did look quite an impressive place.
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Old 8th October 2016, 19:47   #9
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I remember our Premier Padmini Deluxe BE AC delivered from BCMA in 1991 it was religiously serviced at their Sion service station. They had embossed their name on the rear number plate.

Last edited by GTO : 10th October 2016 at 10:08. Reason: Typo
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Old 10th October 2016, 10:12   #10
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

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Originally Posted by SPARKled View Post
It had the new style number plate beginning with MH01
Haha! I remember....1990 or so right? The MH-01 plates were quite a thing then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post
I also faintly remember having seen BCMA's automotive division somewhere in Churchgate in 1994.It did look quite an impressive place.
Shaman Mercedes now operates out of that property.
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Old 11th October 2016, 03:18   #11
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Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House-bombay-cycle-agency-secunderabad-1904-tbhp.jpg

From the early days. Looks like an early Oldsmobile.
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Old 18th October 2016, 02:42   #12
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House-bombay-cycle-motor-agency-plymouth-1934-tbhp.jpg

Advertisement dated August 1933
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Old 18th October 2016, 06:31   #13
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Default Re: Remembering Bombay Cycle & Motor Agency, Opera House

How lovely to see this and read these excerpts from a time gone by.
I am sure someone in Madras or Coimbatore may have similar stuff from the old era of Simpson and Company, Stanes Motors and other similar.
I remember the cars coming through from Stanes Motors in Coimbatore - they had a huge campus near the Coimbatore Club. And in Ooty too, they had this lovely old iconic Art Deco Building with Art Deco Lettering Signage Font. They used to deal with all manner of Automobiles at the time.
And of course, in Madras on Mount Road!

The charm of a bygone era. Im glad that I atleast got to see the "tail end" of it, in the 1970's and 1980's when India was still a protectionist economy and we hadn't all become such greedy consumers as we are now and nor was there a proliferation of brands and more importantly, none of the brands were "commoditised" the way they are now.

There's a lot to be said for those old cars - Fiats and Ambassadors - solid Steel construction. Solid bumpers and light trims and door handles and so on. Very little by way of plastics. Mostly steel and wood and chrome.

Really makes me nostalgic for that solid "built to last" sort of high quality, which one simply doesn't see any more!
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