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Old 18th November 2012, 11:12   #76
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Default Re: History of Cars in India

A new member Colin Sayer has uploaded some lovely images of the Wolseley and Morris works in India in the 1920s and 30s. His father was in charge of the Wolseley and then Morris depot in Bombay from some time before 1929, up to 1934.

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/intro...ot-1930-a.html
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Old 25th December 2012, 15:21   #77
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Every once in a while we come across a real gem - this is one of them

History of Cars in India-meera.jpg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrscharroo/6229943659/

The description reads

Quote:
Meera Twoseater 1949

This microcar was made in India in 1949 by Shankarao Kulkarni.
It was a two doors twoseater with the passenger behind the driver, like the Messerschmitt.
Note the antelope head ornament on the hood.
Till 1975 Kuljarni made 5 other mini models. Due to red tape they never came into production.
B&w photo colorized.
Does anyone remember this oddity? What mechanicals did it run on? What happened to the cars produced?
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Old 25th December 2012, 18:39   #78
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At first I thought that this was a wierd / whacky job on a Fiat. Checked on the net and found the specs for the car.

Source : http://searchingforlaugh.blogspot.in...-wagh-and.html

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History of Cars in India-meera-minicar.jpg

Another car made by Meera : http://a-1975-car-strikingly-similar...o.blogspot.in/

History of Cars in India-public-display-car.jpg
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Old 25th December 2012, 18:54   #79
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Originally Posted by v12 View Post
At first I thought that this was a wierd / whacky job on a Fiat. Checked on the net and found the specs for the car.

Source : http://searchingforlaugh.blogspot.in...-wagh-and.html

Another car made by Meera : http://a-1975-car-strikingly-similar...o.blogspot.in/
Remarkable and its quite a smart and unique looking vehicle . Any idea if Mr Kulkarni or MEERA Survive

Cheers
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Old 25th December 2012, 19:55   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Great thread. I also read somewhere that Ford was officially selling cars (probably imported) until independence in '47, although they were coming in until '53-'54. But why is it that we find handly any of these in vintage collections?
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyman View Post
Mpower. Iíd not picked up on Fords association with India. After many hours of research on the internet a few nights ago all I managed to uncover was that a Model A Ford was brought into India in 1930 (and that there were 1025cars in Bombay in 1910!!).

I wonder if the 1930 Model A was the first one in India? I think that someone in India has produced a book on Fords involvement there.

Does anyone have any info on Fordís activity in India prior to 1954 (when I believe they withdrew from the Indian market)?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rehaan View Post
The discussion on Model T Fords in India has been split to its own thread here : http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/vintag...rds-india.html

cya
R
Quote:
Originally Posted by harit View Post
I have just seen this post.
Ford had an establishment in Mumbai near Opera house. I am doubtful if 'T's were built there. But for sure they supplied Ford A engines in large numbers. What is not clear is whether these were used engines duly reconditioned or were they brand new. There were so many Ford A's in India that such a venture made sense.
I believe Ford also built commercial vehicles, the smaller panel vans.
I stumbled across this 4-year old thread only today. The best person to answer the above questions would have been my dad, but alas he is no more.

My grandpa was an authorized Ford dealer from the early 1930s till early 50s. He used to import Ford cars from Oshawa, Canada. My dad and uncles used to collect the cars from Vizag harbour and take them to their dealerships at Vizag, Vijaynagram, Berhampur and Cuttack. Yes, they had the unique pleasure of driving brand new cars on highways till they reached the dealership. I believe in those days only Britishers and Maharajas were able to afford a car.

It was a thriving business (dealer's cut was nearly 40%), but after Nehru imposed heavy import duties in the early 50s to discourage imports and promote Ambassador car sales, they had to abandon Ford and switch over to Lambretta scooters dealership.

I'll speak to my uncle in the US to find out what models were being sold in Eastern part of India and update this thread. Two models I am certain of are the Ford Prefect and the Ford Consul, that were in our family's possession. I'll try to post a pic of the Consul soon.
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Old 29th December 2012, 13:18   #81
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The more i read this thread the more disturbed i feel, how the authorities at that time snuffed out native automotive industry in india at the behest of certain industrialists.

Anyways here's another project that never took off! BTW Pyco was a US company who had plans to set up a factory to assemble the vehicle in India.
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Last edited by the mole : 29th December 2012 at 13:27.
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Old 29th December 2012, 13:38   #82
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Here is another gem, I think posted earlier

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrscharroo/7630374948/

History of Cars in India-7630374948_d438ac9794_o.jpg

Raghavaiah Electric Car 1960

This electric two-seater is developed by P.V.Raghavaiah in cooperation with Autonagar from Vijayawada, India.
Black&white photo colorized.
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Old 17th January 2013, 18:03   #83
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Another piece of Indian Automotive history. Intriguing, na?

Cheers harit
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History of Cars in India-horch.jpg  

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Old 29th April 2013, 15:34   #84
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Checkout what French Motors also dabbled in. No French cars anymore.

On the letterhead you can see something called "Bentley's Code". I had seen that on other letter heads too, and so asked googlebaba and Wiki. Here is what came out, I had never heard of this before.

As per Wikipedia, in telecommunication, a commercial code is a code once used to save on cablegram costs. Telegraph companies have always charged based on the length of the message sent—and this has not changed since the 19th Century. To this day telex messages are charged by the word.
When telegraph messages were the state of the art in rapid long distance communication, elaborate commercial codes which encoded complete phrases into single words (commonly five-letter groups) were developed. Example are "words" as BYOXO ("Are you trying to weasel out of our deal?"), LIOUY("Why do you not answer my question?"), etc. A "dictionary" of such "words" is a codebook. For telegraph offices that would not accept messages with non-words such as AYYLU, codebooks were compiled with only real words as codewords, sometimes using words from multiple accepted languages to expand the supply even though all the plaintext phrases were in one language.
Such commercial codes became obsolete in the late 20th century. Examples of these codes include the A.B.C Telegraphic Code, Bentleys Second Phrase Code, Slater's Telegraphy Code (1916), Western Union Universal Codebook (1907) and Unicode (1889).
Who knew this. After faxes followed by emails, the general public including myself is not aware that such a code existed. Bentley means cars, not telegraph codes. Slightly OT, yet interesting.

Cheers harit
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Last edited by harit : 29th April 2013 at 15:35.
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Old 2nd May 2013, 13:40   #85
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I remember many years back in one of the local magazines (Auto India / Indian Auto Journal) there was a picture of a bunch of Fuldamobils junking together.

While surfing I came across this image of a Fuldamobil, with the following text

Quote:
The Fuldamobil was licensed for manufacture to various countries where it was known by varying names, such as the Nobel in Chile and the UK, the Bambi in Argentina, the Bambino in the Netherlands, Fram King Fulda in Sweden, Attica and also Alta in Greece, and Hans Vahaar in India.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/geralds_1311/6530634259/

Who remembers the Indian Fuldamobil, and can anyone tell us more?
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Old 17th May 2013, 23:11   #86
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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
I stumbled across this 4-year old thread only today. The best person to answer the above questions would have been my dad, but alas he is no more.

My grandpa was an authorized Ford dealer from the early 1930s till early 50s. He used to import Ford cars from Oshawa, Canada. My dad and uncles used to collect the cars from Vizag harbour and take them to their dealerships at Vizag, Vijaynagram, Berhampur and Cuttack. Yes, they had the unique pleasure of driving brand new cars on highways till they reached the dealership. I believe in those days only Britishers and Maharajas were able to afford a car.

It was a thriving business (dealer's cut was nearly 40%), but after Nehru imposed heavy import duties in the early 50s to discourage imports and promote Ambassador car sales, they had to abandon Ford and switch over to Lambretta scooters dealership.

I'll speak to my uncle in the US to find out what models were being sold in Eastern part of India and update this thread. Two models I am certain of are the Ford Prefect and the Ford Consul, that were in our family's possession. I'll try to post a pic of the Consul soon.
Further to my post, I spoke to my uncle in the US, but alas, he was too young at that time. So he asked me to speak to another uncle in Orissa. I could finally manage to speak to my 80-year old uncle today on Ford cars sold by them, when the dealership existed.

He told me that the dealership lasted from 1928 to 1952, and at first Model Ts were sold by them. Ford US had offices at Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, and dealers used to get cars from them and sell them to customers, who were mostly Englishmen or Rajas. Those were made in US and not in Canada as earlier reported by me.

Other models sold were the Ford Mercury, Prefect, Consul as well as lorries. I believe there was a huge demand for lorries during WW 2.

I am still trying to get hold of the picture I had of the Ford Consul.

My uncle also told me that they'd refurbished a Citroen that was abandoned by an Englishman for lack of spares, and that they'd used it for nearly a decade. It was a huge car and had an impressive FE of 35 miles per gallon, compared to competitors that were only at 20 + MPG. Only issues were a very hard steering and lack of grunt on ghat roads, forcing them to drive mostly on 1st gear in inclines.

Last edited by vnabhi : 17th May 2013 at 23:14.
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Old 18th May 2013, 12:01   #87
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Originally Posted by vnabhi View Post
..........He told me that the dealership lasted from 1928 to 1952, and at first Model Ts were sold by them. Ford US had offices at Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, and dealers used to get cars from them and sell them to customers, who were mostly Englishmen or Rajas. Those were made in US and not in Canada as earlier reported by me.

Other models sold were the Ford Mercury, Prefect, Consul as well as lorries. I believe there was a huge demand for lorries during WW 2.........
Hi vnabhi,
Thanks for this post, nice that you took the troublt to speak to your uncle. Please do ask him if he has any more stories, and any photos or other memorabilia. A catalogue of the dealership would be an ace.
I heard that Ford started assembly in the late 1920's, probably with the Ford A which was introduced at that time. Ford continued to supply reconditioned engines for many years which is probably why the Ford A is the most common vintage car seen around India. The Ford T stopped being made in 1927 and there is just one example I know of in Mumbai. The Ford T's sold and supplied in India from around 1917 onwards were indeed made in Canada. There are quite a few examples around, all have "Made in Canada" embossed on the radiator shell. Canada made RHD cars. Chevy and Chrysler also sourced cars from Canada for the Indian market because these were RHD.

Your uncle has to go back to many years and over time there may be confusion, but we really would like you to get some more stories from him.

Cheers harit
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Old 18th May 2013, 15:14   #88
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Originally Posted by harit View Post
Hi vnabhi,
Thanks for this post, nice that you took the troublt to speak to your uncle. Please do ask him if he has any more stories, and any photos or other memorabilia. A catalogue of the dealership would be an ace.
I heard that Ford started assembly in the late 1920's, probably with the Ford A which was introduced at that time. Ford continued to supply reconditioned engines for many years which is probably why the Ford A is the most common vintage car seen around India. The Ford T stopped being made in 1927 and there is just one example I know of in Mumbai. The Ford T's sold and supplied in India from around 1917 onwards were indeed made in Canada. There are quite a few examples around, all have "Made in Canada" embossed on the radiator shell. Canada made RHD cars. Chevy and Chrysler also sourced cars from Canada for the Indian market because these were RHD.

Your uncle has to go back to many years and over time there may be confusion, but we really would like you to get some more stories from him.

Cheers harit
Yes Harit, I'll surely dig some more information from him. I too feel that he was wrong about the cars being imported from the US, because I remember my dad telling me that it was from Oshawa in Canada. He being the eldest was sure to have been more accurate. And yes, myd Dad also said Ford Canada made RHD cars, unlike those in Dearborn.

Some stories I'd heard from my Dad and uncle were that :-
  1. There were only a handful of car owners in those days, so there were no traffic snarls.
  2. Highway roads were narrow and single-laned, forcing vehicles to veer slightly off the edge when they were moving across one another in opposite direction.
  3. Roads were also dusty, so if there was a car in front, there would be a huge dust trail, forcing the one behind to follow from a safe distance.
  4. The biggest hazard were bullock carts on the highway near villages---it was a huge pain to cross them. They usually traveled in groups. In the initial days, bullocks were not used to cars and would go berserk on hearing a honk. Many cars got side-swiped by the trailing bamboo projections when this happened.
  5. Roads were not considered safe for night travel, compounded by poor headlamps in cars of that era.
  6. Traveling around 300 to 400 kms a day was the max range they used to plan for, during long trips. Checking water level in the radiator was a daily task, and at every pitstop.
  7. Getting accommodation at Govt IBs was pretty easy. All one needed to do was drive in and tip the in-charge. As few people owned cars, every car owner was considered a sahib.
  8. My dad and 3 of his brothers traveled all over South India and Mumbai in two trips in the 50s (before they became parents). The first trip was on a Ford Prefect and the other on an Austin A4. The latter I believe was far more comfortable and powerful.
  9. When they drove into Ford A.S.S in Mumbai, the service guys' jaws dropped when they came to know that the car had travelled all the way from Orissa.
More to come later. Sorry if I went OT, but I found no other thread to place this information.

In my younger days, I was so used to seeing boards of 'Authorised Ford Stockist' at home, in the Lambretta service center. I've also traveled in the Ford Consul, and had the unique privelege of seeing cars being cranked with a rod inserted into the engine bay through the front bumper, when the battery was weak.

Last edited by vnabhi : 18th May 2013 at 15:20.
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Old 8th January 2014, 22:35   #89
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Hello

I recently found this Vehicle, its an Electric one with a Huge motor in the front with all the Control unit and stuff, has a Huge Battery in the Rear, nearly that of the width and height of the Boot.

he Electric Motor drives the Rear Wheel through a 2 Speed Transmission (1 Forward , 1 Reverse)

Any Idea about it, Not sure if it is and Individual Job or a Company one. But Interesting enough. Would love to know more about it if there is

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Old 9th January 2014, 00:11   #90
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Originally Posted by Shreeram View Post
I recently found this Vehicle, its an Electric one with a Huge motor in the front with all the Control unit and stuff, has a Huge Battery in the Rear, nearly that of the width and height of the Boot.

he Electric Motor drives the Rear Wheel through a 2 Speed Transmission (1 Forward , 1 Reverse)

Any Idea about it, Not sure if it is and Individual Job or a Company one. But Interesting enough. Would love to know more about it if there is
Somehow it looks as though it was someone's custom creation with a lot of 'borrowed' Maruti 800 parts/panels- note the doors.
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