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Old 10th July 2020, 21:45   #1
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Default Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

There have been plenty of cars which you have lusted after.

You posted their pics on your walls, made yourself a pain in the rear when visiting and revisiting showrooms. But when it came to actually spending time with the cars and consummating that dream, you suddenly thought twice and realise – what was I thinking!

Here are some of mine


Ferrari 328

Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you-20050609-09.39.18.jpg


I lusted after its curves when it was the 308, the curvy haunches and the roar of that engine. I used to watch my old neighbour, Vijay drive his 328 around my neighbourhood in between fillies. Back in 2005, I took one around a circuit in the UK and was disappointed. The steering was heavy and cumbersome, partially exacerbated by the Italian ape steering position. It did not communicate or feel as tactile as some other cars that I had driven. The gearbox was clunky and it did not talk to me.

Perhaps, it was a bit germanic and would open up after a bit of "kennenzulernen"

Maybe I needed time, again, that’s what many ladies said to me and I never heard from them again!


Mercedes W123




I fell in love with these solid machines after tracking them during the 1977 London to Sydney Rally. Drove a couple of them much later in life. One was a 240D automatic in the UK. It was wonderful in a straight line but wearing in traffic as it took time to build up speed. It got worse when I drove a 200D manual, that too in Bangalore. It was ponderous, the long gear throws and notchy gear changes was painful in Bangalore traffic. Being used to a W124 automatic, I never expected a delta like this.

It was poetry in motion but getting there was an Iliad! May be if I drove a 280E auto, I might think differently. I still marvel at them plodding along in North Africa as long distance taxis though.


Mercedes G Wagen


Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you-dsc_0337.jpeg


I loved the functional styling and the no-nonsense image. It had the durability of a cockroach and would outlast your marriage. Alas, it came with wimpy engines. When they started stuffing V8’s into it, things got interesting. The Bourne Supremacy made it a hero of a villain car!

My dream came later true in Ladakh. Read more about it here. As the TV crew got first dibs, I got to only drive it on the second day, I was dying to get my hands on it after watching it getting pushed on the dunes the first day of the trip. The path to the climax was unbearable.

My number was up on the second day of the trip. I drove it on the way to Pangong and reality struck. It was crashy, one needed to plan corners like planning ones Will - carefully and in advance. I could not believe how disappointed I was and wanted to get back to the GL350.

I even tried again during early morning in Leh. It was wonderful on a straight road with that roar but show it a curve – meh.

It was like asking Asha Bhosle (actually with that roar, more Usha Uthup!) to sing and dance like Madonna

Skoda Yeti


I loved this cute little weird thing. I made a menace of myself at TAFE St Marks Road, every time that I passed to peek into the Yeti, dismantle the seats, play with the interiors. Kept watching youtube video’s about what they would do offroad. Heck, I nearly changed my name to Shankar!

Then it came to actually retiring my Octavia RS for a Yeti. I took one for a drive, it did not feel right, I tried again, it did not have the punch and it did not feel that refined, I suddenly did not feel the Rs 20L in my pocket straining to jump out!

I walked away…and walked back into one last year when Shankar Balan was selling his well preserved motor. I was tempted to try again as during my Spiti Valley trip, I had been observing the Yeti dart around the roads like a frisky mountain goat. I took his Yeti for a lengthy spin but it still did not jump up and kiss me.

I kissed the frog but it still was a frog, a capable one at that!

Summarising, there was nothing really wrong in all these cars , the ingredients were there but the recipe went flat! May be it was me, maybe they were an acquired taste or something else.

The jury is still out! Have any of you got disappointed by your heroes?

Last edited by Aditya : 11th July 2020 at 22:24. Reason: typo
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Old 11th July 2020, 08:06   #2
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!

1. First would be the Mercedes W140. I always lusted after the beast and it turns my head even today. Don't get me wrong, I am sure it was a fabulous car in the '90s. But it is almost impossible to find a well-aged example in India. Whichever I drove looked gangster, but drove like a tired, old grandfather living on 20 pills a day. A VW Passat would outperform it on any parameter. Dropped any buying plans right away and realised that some cars are just meant to be ogled at...not brought home.

2. Next up, the original Tata Safari. It had an imposing presence and such a crazy fan following. When I finally drove it, I was like . Among the worst handling cars I've driven in my life, even by SUV standards. The erstwhile Sierra Turbo was far superior to drive.

3. My own Mahindra Classic . Loved the iconic Jeep styling, while all the (biased) mag reviews then praised it. Bought mine without a test-drive. After taking delivery, I remember going to pick my then girlfriend up. It was (is) slow, noisy and had terribly bumpy ride quality. No air-conditioner on that hot night and I was already sweating in my party shirt. Was wondering how the heck am I going to live with it? Honestly, a part of me did regret buying it then. Little did I know how it'll endear itself to me over the years. 23 years of ownership up!

Last edited by GTO : 11th July 2020 at 12:28.
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Old 11th July 2020, 09:07   #3
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

The original Tata Safari as GTO mentioned and the Mahindra Armada were the ones I thought of owning one day. My first drive with the Safari broke my heart and in the case of Armada, it almost broke my ribs.

Handling of Safari was just awful and the Armada was woefully imbalanced and came with pathetic ride quality. However good the original Safari was to look at, my initial dream of owning both the vehicles some day got crushed by those single drives. Still haven’t got around the thought that Safari was my dream vehicle at some point of time and that I would have so liked to have one standing near me !
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Old 11th July 2020, 09:26   #4
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Must say I've been pretty lucky in that case. I've driven my heroes, the Maruti Esteem and the original Honda City VTEC and they were lovely, just the way I had imagined them to be. Rest assured, they'll definitely find a place in my garage someday.
About my other heroes, the BMW E46 and the Mahindra Thar, I've been a passenger in those, and not once did I regret my decision of looking up and ogling at them!
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Old 11th July 2020, 10:09   #5
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
There have been plenty of cars which you have lusted after.

But when it came to actually spending time with the cars , you suddenly thought twice

Have any of you got disappointed by your heroes?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post

the original Tata Safari
The first car that really blew me away on looks was the W123 - in the 80s, but I wasn't old enough to drive then. By the time I was licensed to drive, the dream faded away.

Next up on my target list was the old Safari, but one drive in 2002 and I said Thank You.

Next was the humble Maruti Versa which looked real promising in ads, but when I test drove one, I was shocked at its ride quality - however, having come that close, I ended up acquiring one and held on to her for 7 years. Ride quality apart, the car grew on me and everything else was spot on - power, versatility, height, dimensions, ease of navigating through traffic etc.

The manual Grand Vitara was another crush but the semi - rubbery gear throw and the sluggish move in 2nd gear from standstill made me eventually pick up an AT. Even with the AT, acceleration in third gear isn't great but I'm living with that for close to 6 years.

The 2009-11 Fortuner was next - but one 400km drive ended up with 2 near misses - both due to its brakes (longer stopping distance) - this despite my conservative speeds.

Another ride in the second row left my underthigh paining after just 30 mins. on the smooth Ahmedabad - Vadodara Eway - that was it !!
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Old 11th July 2020, 10:36   #6
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

1) Skoda Fabia: I remeber Autocar had an amazing review of the Fabia back in 2008. Those were the days when the only diesel hatchbacks in town were the Swift and the Getz. The Fabia in comparison was so premium and it looked like a million bucks! My brother badly wanted to trade in one for the Santro at home.
Truth is, both my dad and brother were completely disappointed after a drive. My dad described it as an ambassador ( and he's driven one extensively). It was noisy and there was significant engine braking on taking the foot off the accelerator. From then on, we took ACI reviews with a pinch of salt.

2) Fiat Punto: if my brother was in love with the Fabia, I was in love with the Punto! Man! That car looked amazing! A big plus point was that service and maintenance would be easier with a Fiat than a Skoda. I remember as a 12 year old, I was one of the few people who checked the car in the showroom on day 1. Totally disappointed! Once my dad sat in the front seat, I couldn't sit behind him. Deal breaker! Back seat space was the primary reason we wanted to part with the Santro.

Bonus!

3) Mercedes Benz GLA: In 2016, MB had a promotional event at the Madras race track. It was open for the public and me and my dad decided to go there. They had a bunch of the premium models on show, a GLE demonstrating what their SUVs can do on artificial obstacles and an E250d showing how ABS and ESP work (this was the best part and totally worth it! ). In between, there was an opportunity to drive a GLA on a small course. After all, it's an MB! Should be good.

Boom! It felt like a toy car for a girl who didn't know how to drive. The great shifter on the stalk was a turn off. It felt dull and boring. Driving home was far more enjoyable and I felt happy knowing that driving experience is not proportional to the price of a car!

4) 2019 BMW 520D: A friend of mine was going on a test drive and called me for company. After all it's a 5 series and it should be better than a Mercedes in terms of driving experience! And how wrong I was!

The car looks good, makes you look rich and is quite a solid thing. It can brake well and can mask its size while on the move. But the engine sucked. Period. It has terrible lag below 2k RPM and drives as required only on sport mode. What doesn't help is that it's noisy over 2k RPM. And diesels aren't really pleasant to hear which ruins the entire luxury experience the rest of the car is trying to portray.

My friend was equally disappointed too. For 10 lakhs more, the 530d seem to be a no brainer.
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Old 11th July 2020, 11:17   #7
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Wonderful idea! I too have a list, albeit comprising of far too common cars:
1. 10th gen Honda Civic - I used to lust after the 8th gen Civic and still sometimes dream of getting one. I doubt the 8th gen will ever age look-wise. When I went to the Honda dealer with my friend for checking the 10th gen one (which my friend ultimately got in VX CVT), it felt very City-like from the inside and far cry from the delicious and futuristic 8th gen interiors! Even the drive felt very normal and not something to remember. Then again I am not sure if this was the car or my very high yet unrealistic expectations after idolizing the 8th gen.
2. Safari Storme facelift - It was sort of a sensible dream car as one usually gets a good deal (around 50% the original cost) of 3-5 year old company owned vehicles in the region I stay. On paper it was perfect, with the height and ground clearance I needed. I took three similarly aged ones for a spin, but somehow did not feel as surefooted as a Hexa (test driven earlier) or Fortuner (a family member owns a 2012 facelift TRD Auto). Also weirdly my left foot toes kept fouling on a part of the clutch pedal. And at the risk of getting brickbats, I still would say that interior plastics of Tatas even post 2015 do not age well in the 4-5 year time-frame.
3. Hexa - Read our review. Went gaga over it. Tried getting the test drive of an auto variant but was provided the manual variant. I was newly employed and was getting good offers to get one back in 2017 end. I almost booked one before test driving. Everything was good about it except the notchy 1st-2nd gear shifts (apparently common in all Varicor 400 6-speed gearboxes I drove) and no matter what I did with the steering and seat, I could not access the steering, pedals and gear level comfortably at one go (I am 6 feet tall and had used my SX4 comfortably for around 3 months then).This was not the case with the Storme. Add the lack of support from the only dealer in the city for an test drive of the automatic variant, I had to drop this with a very heavy heart.
4. Harrier - It was like that alien outlier! No auto but still I went to check this post launch last year amidst all the talks of the Land Rover derived platform. For some reason I felt this not to be worth that much extra over a Nexon then for my requirement. Additionally compared to the Hexa, I felt a bit cramped headroom-wise and a lot when compared to Storme. Again had to let this one go.
5. Fortuner 1st gen and facelift - Again the reliability stories and appeal of the car drew me in after my relative got one new in 2012 in TRD auto avatar. I started considering this huge SUV (still am for the lack of 'perfect' options for me) a few months back. For some reason, the headroom and knee room felt equal or lesser than my SX4! This is when I started questioning my method of driving. But then my relative who owned the SUV, sat in my car and commented that I was right in my observations. Thanks to him, I stopped questioning my driving posture.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
May be it was me, maybe they were an acquired taste or something else.
If you ask my parents, they will definitely blame me since they are inches shorter and managed with a 2001 Alto! Ah the good old cramped family trips!

Last edited by Researcher : 11th July 2020 at 11:26.
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Old 11th July 2020, 11:35   #8
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Yamaha RD350

Nothing wrong with the bike - just that when I got a chance to ride it for the first time during college days, I had only heard of praises for it's scary power delivery and not complaints on the non-existent brakes.

That acceleration was just pure bliss (for someone whose benchmark till then was a Pulsar 180), but then came the horror of braking - rapid downshifting could slow it down, but it just refused to come to stop - almost ending up in a crash and scaring me more than any vehicle has ever managed to!

Perhaps - that really is the charm of that vehicle. But thinking of that ride still sends a shiver down the spine.

Last edited by CrAzY dRiVeR : 11th July 2020 at 11:47.
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Old 11th July 2020, 11:39   #9
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Now that we have a large selection of Cars in the market that we can start pointing out the flaws and nag about them. But please do not forget that there was a time when even Ambassador, Premier Padmini or Standard Herald was taken in without raising a finger and own it proudly.
A Middle aged father would drive himself and not allow his young lad the privilege of steering wheel. Now with Cars as good as big Toys, even a Six year old is allowed to drive while parents seated besides him, beaming with smile.

Last edited by Amrik Singh : 11th July 2020 at 11:41.
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Old 11th July 2020, 11:51   #10
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

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Originally Posted by CrAzY dRiVeR View Post
Yamaha RD350 -

Nothing wrong with the bike - just that when I got a chance to ride it for the first time during college days, I had only heard of praises for it's scary power delivery and not complaints on the non-existent brakes.

That acceleration was just pure bliss (for someone whose benchmark till then was a Pulsar 180), but then came the horror of braking - rapid downshifting could slow it down, but it just refused to come to stop - scaring me more than any vehicle has ever managed to!
Good to see mention of some bikes here and especially the RD350. I paid 100.00 to a " Specialist" mechanic during the early 2000's just to take a small ride as i , like many, was smitten by it. I can't tell if i had over estimated it or the bike underperformed ,it just did not feel right. It made a scary noise while throttling but did not have the much talked about power or acceleration. The engine made some rattling noise as though the cylinder bore fastening long bolts were not screwed in tight. However, I was assured by the mech that everything was alright. Anyway , dropped any idea of 4-5th hand bike at over 1.5 L just for show offs.

Last edited by srini1785 : 11th July 2020 at 11:55.
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Old 11th July 2020, 11:54   #11
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Here are some of mine- some which I owned and some which I have driven/ridden in.

Fiat Linea T-Jet:Sounds sacrilegious, but that tough build, superb brakes and great handling dynamics masked some obvious deficiencies-
i) an astonishingly cramped cabin relative to smaller sized competitors
ii) a power plant that one felt could never be fully exploited because of the rubbery gearshift.
iii) Low ground clearance.

Tata Hexa I have travelled in the back seat of this car (my company fleet vehicle), which is an XT manual model kept in stellar condition with senior level drivers driving it. Everyone goes gaga about its seat comfort and ride quality, but honestly, I found it too firm on regular roads (even with multiple adults filled in) and downright bone-jarring on broken roads. And not just me, even the driver seemed to be tossed about. There was no squeak or creak that would betray a mechanical malfunction mind you, just a truck like experience.The Safari Storme that I have also travelled in, felt better, but only just.

Nano
This was the genuine baby that every one in the family loved, especially my father. He still swears by the ease of access and ride comfort. Easy to manoeuvre, but unwieldy to park without power steering. The headlights started to go opaque within 6 months, the gear knob rattled, and the 2 stroke engine soon felt like more like a rickshaw than a car. The clutch became wooden in the first 3 months or so. Needless to say, the charm faded away soon enough. I still feel that TML could have done something more potent with the design, which was not bad in itself.
Ford Figo 1.5 AT Ticked the right boxes in terms of comfort as well as price. But the engine never felt relaxed or assured,because of the confused DCT transmission. In the end, couldn't hold a candle to the Polo GT TSI, which I eventually purchased.
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Old 11th July 2020, 12:02   #12
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

For me, it would be Fortuner (from a passenger's perspective). I absolutely love the car when I see it on roads but the experience from within is average at best. I just don't find it comfortable enough. During last two years, I have been ferried in a Fortuner quiet a few times. Each occasion has turned out to be a forgettable experience contrary to expectations considering my admiration for the car. Maybe it is the body roll and my body frame's incompatibility with the seats. But it reminds me that some cars are to be admired from a distance.

I haven't still got a chance to drive the car so maybe the perception will change once I am able to try my hand at the steering. Till then, Fortuner is the hero I am wary of encountering.

Last edited by warrioraks : 11th July 2020 at 12:12. Reason: Corrections
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Old 11th July 2020, 12:12   #13
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

Jawa 42 - If I may, I would like to add my bike to the list! Ever since the Jawa 42 was launched, I had lusted for it in the Nebula blue colour. The long waiting times though had put me off and I cancelled my booking after waiting a long time. Then I jumped in and booked a Benelli Imperiale 400 , but after waiting 3 months for that too I cancelled that booking in Dec 2019. Then again in Mar 2020 the Jawa bug bit me again and I checked with the dealer and it was available for delivery in 10 days so I went ahead and bought it (BS4 version).
Honestly this bike is a classic case of form over function - it looks like a dream, but ride quality is absolutely appalling. I even changed the seat to a much wider, better cushioned seat , but to not much benefit. Unfortunately the ride quality is bone jarring for me (I also have a bad back) and it starts causing me backache after riding it for even 10 kms.
The engine also seems nowhere near the 29 Ps claimed power and is not as fast.
To give comparative figues, the Jawa 42 takes almost 13 seconds to 100kmph (which is crazy slow for a 29 ps bike). On the other hand a 32ps Jawa Perak does the 100kmph run in 7.5 seconds?? The weight of both the bikes is almost identical. I fail to understand how this could be possible.
In my past 4 months of ownership I have been pushing myself to start an ownership thread, but I fear that I would not have too many good things to say in that.
Honestly a clear case of disillusionment when you achieve something and you realize that it was just not worth it!

Last edited by Behemoth : 11th July 2020 at 12:15.
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Old 11th July 2020, 12:18   #14
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Originally Posted by Turbohead View Post
2) Fiat Punto: if my brother was in love with the Fabia, I was in love with the Punto! Man! That car looked amazing! A big plus point was that service and maintenance would be easier with a Fiat than a Skoda. I remember as a 12 year old, I was one of the few people who checked the car in the showroom on day 1. Totally disappointed! Once my dad sat in the front seat, I couldn't sit behind him. Deal breaker! Back seat space was the primary reason we wanted to part with the Santro.
As a Palio owner, I was really surprised as well as to how they could screw up one of their USPs. In fact we had chosen Palio over Santro just because of the spacious comfortable back seats.
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Old 11th July 2020, 13:12   #15
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Default Re: Never meet your heroes! Cars that you lusted after, but disappointed you

1. Honda City Vtec! Yes the Type 2 with those special alloy wheels and Spoiler and the works!

That was simply the most lifeless steering I had ever held in my hands! Just going all over the place without a single iota of feedback! What a let down!

2. Lancer Mivec! I went the length of the country to buy one! only to be disapointed at what was on offer. This one was a fresh build and used to rev to no end but it just revved, no push feel nothing. Yes the handling was good just like any other lancer but the engine wasn't any special! I wondered what was it then which was so fabled about this car!

3. Mahindra Thar- I always wanted to buy this! Made up plans with BD Sir! Made plans with so many people. Booked it thrice! But never could live with it when I kept a friend's thar for a few days. The noise, vibration and the ambient noises from the soft top back. All were drawbacks! Now looking forward to the new one with Automatic gearbox and a hard top and full of creature comforts. I know its not the "correct jeep way" but I'm spoilt.
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