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Old 26th August 2009, 20:45   #1
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Default Driving a Classic - Your Experience.

We have all these threads on various cars and their restorations but I have yet to come upon one in which one actually talks about how their cars drive.

The object of owning and restoring a classic is to enjoy driving it. Sometimes one spends a ton of time and money restoring a car to find that its not much fun to drive or the opposit its a blast.

So lets get started here and talk about how our cars feel when actually driven. Do they live up to what is expected by us ? What did you expect and what did you actually get.

Apart from hearing from people like DKG on the pleasures of driving a Packard otyhers have kept mum on this front. So here goes guys, Gogi, Harit, Karlos,Awini etc do let us know how your cars drive. Pavan your input on your VW's, Stanher on Standards and so on.

I will tell about my Jeeps, the Jag etc soon.
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Old 26th August 2009, 22:04   #2
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I think I'll do the honours .
Though a very recent classic compared to the greats on this forum, let me say with unabashed pride, that the Fiat 1100 is one of the best driving / handling classics in its class on the road today.
How and where can I begin with my Super Select ? Driving position - spot on. steering and controls - spot on. Visibility - the best in the business. Front, side, and reversing. (let me state here, that parallel parking in the Fiat 1100 is such a breeze, it makes my swift look like a tank with its tiny windows !)
I love the sound of the starter, and the first gear take off. The feel of the rounded chrome gearknob is special, and the butter smooth shifts make it hard to believe this car is almost fifty years old. The steering though a bit wandering, is great fun once used to. Holding the thin rimmed wheel itself gives me a high.
When I'm inside the car, I love to fiddle with the toggle switches, open and close the chrome front ashtray without provocation, open the glovebox - just to be able to "feel things up". And when she's on the move, I revel in the gust of wind from her swivelling quarter glasses - cool na ? She moves very well for a fifty year old - has enough grunt to startle passers by, and enough bite in her brakes to bring her to a controlled halt !
All in all, the experience of driving MRX 6839 is a feast for all the senses. Eyes - of course ! Ears - (wow, that roar). Touch - touch everything. Smell - a bit of petrol, very heady. Taste - Leaves a wonderful taste lingering in your HEART, even hours after the drive, cheers !
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Old 26th August 2009, 22:49   #3
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Its strange but i have a time of the day for each car that I own, My Mercedes I use almost exclusively in the night after 10PM or so, when theres enough room on the road to drive around unhindered. She rides like a dream all my cars do. Knock on Wood.

Early morning and afternoon trips are reserved exclusively for the Fiat, I am able to bear the heat of the day best in her airy styling and tiny interiors.

I prefer to take the Rover out mostly for early dinners with the family where I am guaranteed secured parking. I used her once to pick up friends from the Airport as well late in the night, put a real smile on their face. Sort of like a limo service. But all and all i use my cars fairly regularly, sometimes even everyday.
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Old 26th August 2009, 23:48   #4
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I will tell about my Jeeps, the Jag etc soon.
*Ahem* first and foremost your Herald, sir!

And yes, I will tell mine too! This looks like it's going to be a very interesting thread indeed!
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Old 27th August 2009, 19:44   #5
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Default Driving my Herald Convertible.

What can I say ! This was a sweet car owned for a very short time, much regrets for sellling it.

The story starts when I was a kid in HPS Hyd. Our bus used to pass a house on Road 3 Banjara Hills where a gentleman who worked for Brook Bond lived. He and his wife used to drive this white Herald convertible which had a dull white canvas top. always looked out for it and loved it till one day it dissapeared.

Around 12 years later I came across this Herald convertible with Ghanshyam, a old bike dealer in Old City who was a dear friend.It was in decent shape and the minute I saw it I told him I had to have it and he let me take it home for RS 9.000.

Next day I mentioned that I used to see a similar car in Banjara hills with a gent from BB. Ghanshyam turned around and said this was the very same car. The owner had grown old and parked it at the factory and bought a Maruti. Ghanshyam bought it off his wife. Naturally this was pure delight for me.

Now to the condition. The car was all there no parts missing in relatively good looking condition. Body wasn't rusted and the paint didn't need redoing.

The engine was a little weak and I think evey panel on it rattled when driven but it did start and drive quiet OK.

I felt it needed a complete overhaul but since these cars were being broken up asked Ghanshyam to be on the look out for a cheap donor engine for a transplant.

Meanwhile I drove this car regularly. Many pleasant evenings were spent cruising around with friends, visits to the club and drives on Tank Bund.

Though the power was down it would take time to build up speed but once you are up there cruising was great fun. Specailly with the top down and the wind in your hair.

This was a regular head turner and people would smile at you and note the pleasure you were having in it. I remember once it started raining and i had to hurriedly pull up the top. One could actually streatch one's hand back from the drivers seat and grab the hood and pull it up, nifty indeed.

So in the hurry to keep dry I somehow managed to not latch it properly and sped on. Was climbing the hill by the Banjara Lake and with a whoosh the top flew off and was hanging over the rear hilarious indeed.

This car was instrumental in persuading a few others to buy Heralds and convert them to open tops, DKG's uncle being one of them.

Unfortunately before I could do any work on it a journalist who was known to my grandma fell in love with the car. He would come over to my place with his four sons every Sunday and wouldn't leave till I agreed to sell it to them. Got fed up of this in a few weeks and the car was sold to this person.

Have always regreted this as later it turned out that maybe the car was actually a factory convertible job. Regret it to this day.

What a pleasure it was to drive with its wooden dash, bucket seats, floor shift and the neat convertible top. Gears changed well and the suspension was adequate. I wonder what it would have been like to drive with a twin carb setup overhauled engine and a sporty exhaust on it. Will never know.

So here is the story of my Herald dedicated to my friend Stanher.

Come on guys. Do get on and narrate your experiences. Would love to hear how your Packards or the Chargers drive too Harit.
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Old 28th August 2009, 12:10   #6
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Have to overhaul my 1956 fiat 1100. It's still with me but not been used for almost 5 years.

It was with my dad since before my birth almost 35 years back, he changed 7 cars before he came by this one.

It's been painted may times over Red - 3 times, Bue - twice, Green - once.

It is currently Red.

Used it as my first car while at college and also used in to comute to work in the first 1.5 years on job. The office use do go gaga on the looks.

Once the sales director sat in the car with me and he was simply wowed by the fact that it was so spacious on the inside compared to the ouside, and ran quite well. (I have the roof lining changed from the rexin on rods to a soft cloth material that sticks to the roof, and hence is more spacious.

The Gear shifts are smooth and they need an overhaul evey two years if you use the car extensively.

The Stearing meanders and in the rainy season one can get almost as well in the car as in a rick. But it is sure fun.

The attention it gets you is simply cool.

The ride is of course a bit bouncy compared to the cars of today, but the car goes quite fast and crossed 100kmph quite easily. One tends to drive on the 3rd gear most of the time.

The Brakes are a bit scary.

Once (11 years back) drove the car without Brakes (no hand brake either) from Dadar to Chembur in Mumbai just in first gear - straight to the mechanic.

The Delco point tends to give up on you due to moisture in the rainy season, but this can be taken care of.

The Traffic police keep on checking up on you for the papers and then let you go. They also let you go without a fine if you appolozize.

Let me put it this way, if one is looking for comfort in driving then the modern cars are the way to go, but just as there are guys with SUVs, who get their way in traffic, this too is made way for by the traffic. It is about being one with our past and reliving the childhood days (for me atleast).

One of my favourite snaps is that of me in the car window as a crawler less than a year old.

Have made trips to Surat, Mahableshwar, Lonawala, Abu, Pune, Shirdi in this car.

A trip to Shirdi in 1999 saw me completing the drive in about 6 hrs (shirdi to mumbai) with me able to keep up with a speeding esteem for most of the route. (There were no other faster vehicles then except the cielo, astra and the escort). Yet no car could overtake me then.

The immediate next year the trip in the cielo say me make a two and fro trip to shirdi the same day - this was not possible with the 1956 fiat.

It once blew a gasket on me during the climb at khandala ghat to Lonavala fariyas, but still let me return back driving the car.

The silencer needed replacement every 4 years and the some or the other light would fail quite frequently. The Dyanamo too would conk off from time to time. (There is a dynamo in place of the Alternator).

The wheel nuts are tightned the opposite way - compared to current cars.

The original meters have miles rather than the kms.

Yey how I long to get her back in presitine condition once again. Will do it soon for sure. How I long for that drive again.
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Old 28th August 2009, 12:14   #7
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Have to overhaul my 1956 fiat 1100. It's still with me but not been used for almost 5 years.
You are obviously very fond of the car - do share some pictures with us.

Bombay has an active Fiat Club, details all over this section. Give us a shout next time you want to fiddle with the car.
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:09   #8
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So here is the story of my Herald dedicated to my friend Stanher.
Come on guys. Do get on and narrate your experiences.
Thank you, wasif!

It was great to hear about the adventures with your herald! Too bad again that you sold it! :(

BTW, can you recall if it had a Standard badge at a slant on the bootlid, or fixed on the top edge, above the rear numberplate light?
Based on that I could roughly tell you he year it would've been,

As for me, I sure will narrate my trials and tribulations(?) here.......just when I find enough time to- not that I'm lazy, it is called being employed with no net at work! Plus having an unreliable net connec. at home!
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Old 30th August 2009, 10:51   #9
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Don't remember this but it was one of those kind that had those big chrome headlamp bezels. I think the boot said mark II on it.
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Old 30th August 2009, 14:26   #10
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Driving your classic cars as daily drivers can be a mixed experience.
Generally, a new car is expected to move trouble free for atleast 4 to 5 years. Accordingly many have a policy to change their cars periodically, in fact during the times of socialist governance in India you booked a new car when you got delivery of the present one. And ofcourse sold the present one for the same price as what you paid for for the new one. Complicated eh?
Back to the topic. Old cars periodically require repairs. I always dread taking a newly restored car for long drives. These cars are not yet proven, and some things tend to fail, like the electrics. How many times has a bonnet come up during a longer drive when the coil heated up? During short drives this need not happen. And overheating can be another problem, not always easy to solve quickly. And do not forget, tyres if old can also act up.
So, to enjoy your car, you must make sure that it is reliable before regular use. And then you feel on a high because invariably you get looks, respect, cheered on, and you have a royal ride that is a really good and healthy high. It helps to get the family on your side for this hobby.

Cheers harit

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Old 30th August 2009, 15:17   #11
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Don't remember this but it was one of those kind that had those big chrome headlamp bezels. I think the boot said mark II on it.
If it had the headlamp bezels, it was a mk1 for sure, in which case it couldn't have said mark II on the bootlid, only 'Standard' (see pic.):

Driving a Classic - Your Experience.-img_0558.jpg

Maybe your memory is coming up with a mk2 in similar colour?

OR- there were a few such cases- it might've been a mk2 with a mk1 bonnet as the owner would've preferred it, or a mk1 with a mk2 bootlid?
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Old 30th August 2009, 20:44   #12
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Yes it was a slanted standard on the rear so its a Mark 1
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Old 30th August 2009, 22:32   #13
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Yes it was a slanted standard on the rear so its a Mark 1
Great! Glad that you remembered this detail- now just work your grey cells a bit more and recollect the number (full)....then leave the rest to me!
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Old 31st August 2009, 00:10   #14
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Aaah.. a nice thread. BUT request all to post pics of the car to make this thread more interesting.

Driving a classic = Saying about my preferences, for me a Classic once restored has to run and perform like any other car, any where, any time. Else its not restored. I give a lot of detail mechanically rather than sprucing it up cosmetically. But been learning slowly towards cosmetics also.

I'll keep contributing car by car on each reply.

1) 1500 1967 VW Beetle = A classic example of Beauty, brains and Brawn. This superstar has been a bundle of energy since it came home 8 yrs ago. I've put this guy through lots of tough tests, every time its amazed me with its skills. Its been a part of 3 T-BHP drives, shorter ones to Lukes farm or the Midnight T-BHP drive to channapatna amidst all speed monsters, still drove at 135 KMPH and proved its mettle. I also put it to test rather mildly on the T-BHP Savandurga OTR sometime back, and this fellow amazed me more, withstood the gruelling distance and the hot sunny weather and the trial also.

Apart from T-BHP drives, the Bug's also has been on long drives to Tumkur and other places at odd hours with my family in it. Every body in the house just love this car for the way its been driving (Touch Wood) and to say maintenence is a pittance.

Some pics
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Old 6th September 2009, 13:18   #15
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Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
Aaah.. a nice thread. BUT request all to post pics of the car to make this thread more interesting.

1) 1500 1967 VW Beetle = A classic example of Beauty, brains and Brawn. This superstar has been a bundle of energy since it came home 8 yrs ago.
Hello Pavan,

Was this Bug previously owned by retired NRI who used to live in Whitefield - Sai Baba Ashram?

Take Care & Best Regards

Ram
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