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Old 10th March 2009, 15:47   #1
DKG
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Default Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

The story of vintage and classic cars in India would be incomplete without due recognition of the channels of import, assembly, coachbuilding, distribution and aftersales service for the many marques that found homes in India.

I felt before many of these names fade away into oblivion with the passing of an older generation we should make an effort to document for across India facts, figures and ideally some period photographs of these various enterprises.

Of the few my father could remember here's a list for Hyderabad. Possibly there are a few ommisions, additions, corrections .

Bombay Cycle Motor Agency
Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler

Madras Mart
Ford, LaSalle, Cadillac

Banaji & Sons
Morris

Patny
Hillman

Defiance Auto
Oldsmobile

Reliance
Hindustan

Sohrab & Sons
Motorcycles

Hormusji
Chevrolet, Vauxhall

Metro Motors
Buick

As we go along with help from all of you we should add pictures and interesting facts about these and many more businesses across the country.

Last edited by DKG : 10th March 2009 at 16:05.
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Old 1st March 2012, 19:15   #2
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Default History of Car dealerships in Bombay, can expand to rest of India

We have often among car enthusiasts discussed about the car dealeships which were existing in Bombay. Many times we wondered who were the dealers for a particular marque, and what happened to certain dealerships, and how did they evolve changing their franchises and locations. Many have disappeared into history.

To start with, I am posting evidence below that Ford Automobiles (India) Ltd., that is what they were called, became United Motors (India) Ltd. I did not know that, and I am sure that very few remembered that.
Also note that V rubberstamp on the envelope, it comprises of numerous tiny V8 signs, 4 abreast.

Cheers harit
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Old 1st March 2012, 20:48   #3
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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Of the few my father could remember here's a list for Hyderabad. Possibly there are a few ommisions, additions, corrections .

Patny
Hillman
Patny eventually became a dealer for Hindustan if I'm not wrong.

I might add AUTO CHENOY, who was dealer for Standard in Sec'bad.
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Old 1st March 2012, 22:58   #4
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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Patny eventually became a dealer for Hindustan if I'm not wrong.
That's correct. We bought a couple of Ambassadors from them
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Old 1st March 2012, 23:15   #5
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

Hindustan Motors in Calcutta used to Assemble and were the dealers for Studebakers.

French Motor Car Co. in Calcutta used to be a very well known workshop for cars at that time and used to be the dealer for imported cars.
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Old 2nd March 2012, 01:14   #6
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PACKARDS were Dadajee Dhackjee Mumbai. They were dealers for other cars also.

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Old 3rd March 2012, 12:21   #7
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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Hindustan Motors in Calcutta used to Assemble and were the dealers for Studebakers.
French Motor Car Co. in Calcutta used to be a very well known workshop for cars at that time and used to be the dealer for imported cars.
Hindustan Motors to my knowledge build/assembled the cars, dealers were others. Even the Study was assembled by them, or?
French Motors had a branch in Mumbai at Kemps Corner. At the time of going bankrupt, they were dealers for Hindustan Motors. At one time they sold also Minerva's, a very old dealership.

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PACKARDS were Dadajee Dhackjee Mumbai. They were dealers for other cars also.
Dadajee also sold Mercedes-Benz, Hupmobile, Singer, Peugeot and some more I forget and will revert soon. Lastly they sold Jeeps.

The Union Co. (Motors) Co in Chennai sold Standard Vanguards and BSA Motorcycles. Here is an ad from a page of the bulletin of the Automobile Association for Southern India, August 1952

Cheers harit
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Old 3rd March 2012, 15:33   #8
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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The Union Co. (Motors) Co in Madras sold Standard Vanguards and BSA Motorcycles. Here is an ad from a page of the bulletin of the Automobile Association for Southern India, August 1952
Wow, very interesting indeed! I didnt know that!

In fact I thought all the BSA bikes here were imported.
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Old 4th March 2012, 11:12   #9
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

And there was Ashok Motors of Delhi. This company, Ashok Motors Ltd assembled Austin A40 from 1949-53 at Madras. The name of the company was subsequently changed to Ashok Leyland Ltd.
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Old 4th March 2012, 14:57   #10
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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And there was Ashok Motors of Delhi. This company, Ashok Motors Ltd assembled Austin A40 from 1949-53 at Madras. The name of the company was subsequently changed to Ashok Leyland Ltd.
There was also an Addisons at Madras, who were dealers for Morris Minors? Which is why there were many of those cars at Madras.

I do remember seeing an addisons plate on a few Moggys.
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Old 4th March 2012, 16:26   #11
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

Addisons has some great history

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then, in 1904, Addison's became the first formal car agency in Madras.
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The first cars to be imported by Addison's were Alldays and the Humber 7. Bigger Humbers, Swifts and other cars followed. And then came a real triumph - the Triumph motorcycle.
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At Independence, Addison's were agents for Morris, Wolseley and Riley cars and vans from Britain and for Chrysler's Plymouth, Dodge and De Soto cars from the U.S.
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got permission from Government to assemble Morris Minor cars, provided they retailed at less than Rs. 5,200 and that nothing more than the CKD packs was imported.
On November 15, 1950, Anantharamakrishnan drove off the assembly line the first Morris Minor made in Madras. And within six months, the 1000th car was assembled - and Chief Minister Kamaraj was there to celebrate it being driven off the line.
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out of the blue, came a legal notice from Hindustan Motors, Calcutta, who were assembling the Hindustan 10 (actually the Morris 10, which, in time, was to become the Ambassador). Citing the terms it had with Nuffield's of U.K., the Birla company forbade Addison's from manufacturing the Minor. Rao, negotiating with G.D. Birla, offered a royalty of 10 on every Minor manufactured - but Birla held that, if he accepted the offer, he'd be cutting his own throat given the popularity the car was gaining; it was the No.1 seller at the time. And, so Addison's got out of the car business and began concentrating on other productive activities.
Source : The fantastic The Hindu, 20th Augist 2003

The Hindu : Ushers of the Motor Age

Cheers

KPS

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Old 4th March 2012, 16:45   #12
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

This is a back to back post as I wanted to separately post on the greatest rival of Addisons which is Simpsons

Taken from the same source, The Hindu, 20th August 2003
The Hindu : Ushers of the Motor Age

Quote:
Simpson's decided to move from carriages to steam cars when Samuel John Green in 1903 built in the company's workshops the first steam car made in India.After half a dozen vehicles were manufactured, it was obvious that the business was not going to take off and Simpson's opted for the imported car business
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It then decided to import Darracq, Rolls Royce, Napier and other top end chassis and, using its coach expertise, to build custom-built bodies for an upmarket clientele. At the same time, it also began building buses from 1907 for a nascent public transport industry. By 1913, it moved to assembling Chevrolet chassis and building bus and truck bodies for them.
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Simpson's developed contacts with those who sought better and more expensive cars. And to meet their requirements, the company got the Rolls Royce, Bentley, Oldsmobile and Pontiac agencies - and for a lesser clientele, the Chevrolet and Vauxhall agencies.
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in 1914 George Cuddon - who made Simpson's a 20th Century company - had work started on what was to be named Cuddon Building when it opened in 1916 a month after he died. It was described as "the finest showroom in India" and written of in these terms: "It is most ornate in character ... a double-storeyed building of green and white stone quarried near Madras, and has a frontage of 90 feet... with plate-glass windows 18 feet in length with sun-blinds imported from England. The floor is laid in Italian marble... "
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When Amalgamations acquired Addison's in 1943, it decided to have its flagship, Simpson's, focus on manufacture - and, so, Simpson's went out of the motorcar business
We must thank "The Hindu" for enriching us with such amazing history
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Old 4th March 2012, 21:12   #13
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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Addisons has some great history

got permission from Government to assemble Morris Minor cars, provided they retailed at less than Rs. 5,200 and that nothing more than the CKD packs was imported.

out of the blue, came a legal notice from Hindustan Motors, Calcutta, who were assembling the Hindustan 10 (actually the Morris 10, which, in time, was to become the Ambassador). Citing the terms it had with Nuffield's of U.K., the Birla company forbade Addison's from manufacturing the Minor. Rao, negotiating with G.D. Birla, offered a royalty of 10 on every Minor manufactured - but Birla held that, if he accepted the offer, he'd be cutting his own throat given the popularity the car was gaining; it was the No.1 seller at the time. And, so Addison's got out of the car business and began concentrating on other productive activities.
That was indeed a very interesting bit of history. Shocking to know that this was yet another car and company that was nipped by the 'giant' HM, another one being Standard Motors who were forced to stop assembling the Vanguard in the late 50s!
twas only in a country like ours with a ridiculous licence-raj of that time that such tactics could have survived!
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Old 5th March 2012, 10:45   #14
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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That was indeed a very interesting bit of history. Shocking to know that this was yet another car and company that was nipped by the 'giant' HM, another one being Standard Motors who were forced to stop assembling the Vanguard in the late 50s!
twas only in a country like ours with a ridiculous licence-raj of that time that such tactics could have survived!
Finally HM was paid back by their own coin. Where is HM now? Not restorable; just to use our parlence.
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Old 7th March 2012, 16:54   #15
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Default Re: Dealerships, Coachbuilders, Vehicle Assembly in India

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Originally Posted by IndrojitSircar View Post
Hindustan Motors in Calcutta used to Assemble and were the dealers for Studebakers.

French Motor Car Co. in Calcutta used to be a very well known workshop for cars at that time and used to be the dealer for imported cars.
French Motor Car had a Bombay branch also, and were dealers/agents/service agents for many European car companies. So was Dewars Garage in Calcutta in those days.
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