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Old 4th December 2011, 13:17   #1
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Question Cheap "do-it-all" car for rough use

Hi, I have a slightly oddball request for advice. I need a car which meet the following criteria:
  1. Capable of handling at least 5,000 kilometers of rough driving through mountain, desert and broken highway
  2. Capable of handling the terrain of Ladakh / Spiti at its crumbling best (onset of winter)
  3. Capable of being repaired with duct tape and some ropes (well, most of the times; else, easy to get repaired at roadside shops)
  4. Capable of being on its wheels for at least 15 days from the date of purchase (during this time the said 5000 kilometers will be covered)
  5. The car does NOT have any resale value and, hence, needs to be as cheap as possible
What car comes to your mind? Manufacturer, model, make - there is nothing off-limits.


Also, what minimum price should I be looking at for such a contraption? I am thinking 15 year old models would be the cheapest. Anything older starts becoming vintage.
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Old 4th December 2011, 22:53   #2
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

Maruti Gypsy King? 1.3L engine that is fun to drive, quite tough, and cheap to procure as well.
Tata Safari (the older ones)?
Older Mahindra Bolero/Jeeps?
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Old 4th December 2011, 23:13   #3
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

The best advice is what lamborghini has given - The Gypsy King.

It checks:
  • Reliability
  • Ease of maintanance
  • Simple Mechanicals
  • Can handle any terrain
  • Capable of handling any number of kilometers.
Any other option, and it starts getting expensive.
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Old 4th December 2011, 23:24   #4
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

What comes to mind is a Mahindra Thar with a hard top and also retofitted with a/c & heater.
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Old 4th December 2011, 23:41   #5
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Durango Dude View Post
What comes to mind is a Mahindra Thar with a hard top and also retofitted with a/c & heater.
The guy here would not spend this much , and he has asked for a used car, Thar recently launched would hardly be available in the used car market and in case it is there , It would be way expensive than what he may be thinking to spend.
well as per his requirements a Fiat Palio Petrol would be an ideal car though it can not be repaired roadside , these cars if bought with caution dont need much repair. Palio has earned a bad name in india , in terms of resale spares etc, however this a workhorse you can get under one lakh.
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Old 4th December 2011, 23:47   #6
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A gypsy is what you need and am presuming you are planning a march/April Ladakh trip from Mumbai and back?
If you can find one get it, else a used petrol swift will also do you good.

Civilian and cheap gypsies are difficult to find. Don't go for a refurbished army gypsy for leh; the metal fatigue takes a toll and you will start looking for mechanics right from keylong if not earlier. A 1.3 MPI would be best else a carb should also do. Carry extra leaf springs for sure!

OT: stay away from anything but maruti or Mahindra / Tata when heading to leh unless you are going in a self owned new vehicle which you have known from day one.

Note from the Team-BHP Support Team: Please use the "edit" button if posting within 30 minutes of the first post, instead of creating another back-to-back post.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 15th December 2011 at 11:44.
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Old 5th December 2011, 00:34   #7
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

Don't think the Gypsy King will come cheap, finding one is also not easy. But if you want the vehicle to last this 5k kms test, it has to be in top shape, else you are going to spend more than the 15 days that you have planned. Get a good Gypsy, use it and sell it for the same price, it is possible on the Gypsy.
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Old 5th December 2011, 00:49   #8
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

If 4wd is not required - err... emmm... M800 and Indica (Turbo diesel) in that order.

:-D

There are people on this forum which have done the circuit in m800s and Hyundais; or have seen these cars at those places.
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Old 5th December 2011, 00:56   #9
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...



People have done Ladakh in M800's and Alto's.

Just make sure it has really good tyres.

Reliable, easy to fix, cheap!

Lack of 4x4 and ground clearance may be an issue, find out more information on the road conditions, and whether simply good quality rubber will be enough to handle the roads.

Get an old Esteem or Baleno if you need something larger. Other options would be an old Mahindra Bolero.

Gypsy King is still the best option if you get a good one at a fair price.
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Old 5th December 2011, 02:23   #10
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Default Re: Really cheap do-it-all...

If you look around, you might find a decently maintained Mahindra MM540. That should be your best bet. It's as tough as personal vehicles can get, should be easy enough to repair owing to simple mechanics, and should be easy to drive too.

A Maruti Esteem should do good too. But I'm not sure if it can handle terrain that's too rough. However, such rallies have been completed by Esteems in the past, so I guess it should be fine.

The Zen too, is a fighter and can take quite a beating.

As others have mentioned, try looking for a Gypsy King. Should be perfect for the job.

The Mahindra Bolero is a good option too.

If you look hard, you may find some older and heavily used Safaris for under 2 lakhs. But they might have clocked quite a few miles, so their reliability may be questionable. However, the Safari is a tough car, so it should be able to gold its own undr harsh circumstances.

A friend of mine recently bought a Tata Seirra for a very very good price, and he drove it for over 10k kilometers before selling it off for pretty much the same price he bought it for.

As long as you find a good example, you should be good. Make sure you do some research on the cars in the list, and note the problems that may creep up and find solutions for the same. Take a car-enthusiast friend or a mechanic along to assist you on your purchase and maintenance through the trip.

Oh, and be prepared to shell out some moolah to beef up your ride before the drive. You don't want a punctured sump or a damaged differential (in case you've decided on a 4x4)

Wishing you s safe drive and a wonderful 5k miles ahead,and many more, of course.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 5th December 2011 at 02:25.
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Old 5th December 2011, 09:22   #11
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yaar,

I told you on the phone and your flight of fancy is making people dream up bigger things like Thar, lol!!

OMNI!

The Gypsy king does not come cheap (few lakhs when i know he's looking at a few tens of thousands) and its mostly bought by enthusiasts. he's not looking at buying/building up an ex-army piece either.

else an old taxi wala Mahindra max or the CL550 jeeps. therefore i sort of concur with lambo on that.

how much does the cheapest dabwali jeep cost?

tata indica xeta. 5 year old pieces for as much as 60-70k.

/have a ready piece available soon in case you're interested

Last edited by Technocrat : 5th December 2011 at 22:51.
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Old 5th December 2011, 20:32   #12
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Default Re: Cheap "do-it-all" car for rough use

Alto is cheap, cheerful (love the way that little Suzuki revs), reliable, easy on the pocket and because people have actually attempted and reached the highest of the roads in the himalayas, I believe it would do Leh too.

Ticks all the boxes again, every road-side mechanics knows it.

Also, once you return back from your adventurous trip, wash the damn thing, polish it and sell it. It'll fetch almost the same money you'd be buying it for. Or may be even more.
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Old 5th December 2011, 20:43   #13
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Default Re: Cheap "do-it-all" car for rough use

On highways with non-existent tarmac or on muddy tracks in a forest, the Bolero it is.. Solid engine, spartan build, great ground clearance and can be fixed with rope for most falling parts. Nothing else!
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Old 5th December 2011, 21:06   #14
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Default Re: Cheap "do-it-all" car for rough use

If its Ladakh and low temperatures then it ought to be a petrol vehicle since diesel will freeze up or flow poorly in low temperatures. CRDI engines are out of the question in this case. I suggest buying a second hand Petrol engined Mahindra with four wheel drive from the ARMY seconds market. If it has to be diesel then make sure to get a diesel fuel heater.
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Old 5th December 2011, 22:04   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellmet
On highways with non-existent tarmac or on muddy tracks in a forest, the Bolero it is.. Solid engine, spartan build, great ground clearance and can be fixed with rope for most falling parts. Nothing else!
The Bolero has so much body roll around the Ladakh that most of the people keep throwing up their guts.
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