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Old 20th November 2010, 13:36   #1
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Default The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.


The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-009.jpg

!Xobile's word of caution.

If you people like reading novels and stories, then this is not for you. They are for amateurs. Novels and stories are for those who have nothing to do in life other than just timepassing by lying down in that cozy night bed coaxing your life for being stressful for you and then you go to your nearest bookshelf and search for the worst possible thing to make you feel sleepy.
You then wake up. Start your day in the same typical boring manner. You go by the laws and rules directed to you by others. You take roads not meant for you but still want to because you are a majboor creature. You follow rules that others follow because you don't have your own way of following. You are strictly a follower, a copy cat, a timid and a shy person whose life is a waste and a bhoj on this dharti.

If you havent understood what !xobile has just said, then shame on you.
You don't deserve to live here. You are just that typical creature who needs spoon feeding in every road towards your every phase of life. You do not understand on how to chart the course of life. You are on the road to doom.

The dead end. Fight, or faint, as you please, you are doomed.

!Xobile is a ruthless creature. Brash, bold, full of attitude. He is arrogant, a dictator and a devil.
!Xobile is not the one who swears by what others say or agree by what others agree. He agrees to disagree.
When !xobile was born, he too became a victim of those creatures who follow on others footsteps. He was beaten, black and blue in whatever he did and whenever he went.
Simple. He was timid, shy, scared and coward and always used to follow other's path. And it resulted in many flop shows.
Yes, I, !xobile was a copycat.

Not anymore.
The time has come to create your own rules.
The time has come to follow your own instincts.
The time has come to break free.
The time has come to be your own leader.
A professional.
Its time for amateurs to show that !xobile is the boss.
He is back.
Back from exile after 15 years of making his own road.

A new creature is displayed for the first time at the auto expo. And !xobile goes crazy over it. Love it or hate it, you can never forget it.
Perhaps, he thinks that now its the time to enjoy being single.
And ready to mingle.
!xobile grabs the keys to exile.
And charts his own course.
Come 2011, this jungle safari will turn 15.

Stories come and stories go, but !xobile's safari chronicles remain forever.

Presenting the story of India's first Indigenous SUV.
The story of TATA SAFARI.

The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-004.jpg

So why groan when you can grin?
Why shrug when you can leap?
Why plan when you can be spontaneous?
Why be careful when you can be carefree?
Why not sing a song?
Why not tap your fingers?
Why not whistle and hum?
Why not smile for once?
Why not take the world off your shoulders?
Why not break out of the mould?
So get jiving instead of driving.
Get grinning instead of frowning.


Last edited by sidindica : 20th November 2010 at 13:39.
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Old 20th November 2010, 14:09   #2
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Well this one is going to be a good tribute to this steed. Over 15 yrs old but still holds a candle to fresh looking designs. Its got a charm of its own felt by those who own one and thoroughly respected by those who have pushed it to its limits and beyond.
I for one love this vehicle, for whatever it may be.

Its good to see someone post a tribute to it.


Thanks SID

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 20th November 2010 at 14:11.
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Old 20th November 2010, 14:13   #3
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Well written!!

Gosh, it took Tata 15 years to make this the best Indian SUV there is. But I agree, its always been the best looking one by far, for all these years.
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Old 20th November 2010, 14:18   #4
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Originally Posted by shortbread View Post
Well written!!

Gosh, it took Tata 15 years to make this the best Indian SUV there is. But I agree, its always been the best looking one by far, for all these years.
Even today it is the best looking SUV there is in the market. The most SUV your 10 lakhs can buy. It may be down on performance compared to other big guns but in looks department no one can match it from 10 lakhs all the way to 1 crore. It towers over everything else on 4 wheels.
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Old 20th November 2010, 14:36   #5
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After 15 years Tata is 80% there. If they put a bit effort, they can make Safari the best SUV in the 10 to 12 Lakh Range.
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Old 20th November 2010, 14:50   #6
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The Safari deserves a big applause. It has been my favourite SUV since years and is the perfect ride for the outdoors, whatever may be those minor quality niggles. It may not be a Toyota but its very much the desi Land Cruiser.

Thank You sidindica for this tribute to the King of the Road. This thread deserves a 5-star.
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Old 20th November 2010, 15:29   #7
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Name:  safari.JPG
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!xobile is a love it or a hate it creature. He gets lambasted for being biased. But !xobile doesn't care a damn for critics. Because he is a leader, who makes his own road.
!xobile has always had a soft and an affectionate spot for Indian engineering ingenuity. For those brilliant minds who are determined to push the limits and cross boundaries.
Same goes with the safari chronicles. Pushing the limits, and creating a new niche. A niche for what was to be India's first affordable premium SUV, full of creature comforts and a majestic design.
But, if a vehicle had to be called a premium, it had to first look premium. This was perhaps the biggest challenge for Tata engineering and locomotive company limited, or TELCO, as it was called that time. After having tasted success in trucks and LCVs br dethroning the DCM Toyota and Canter from its successful 407 from 1986 onwards, Tata decided to enter the lucarative passenger car segment, which was only then opening to the world following the policy of liberalization, privatization and globalisation in 1991, though the transition was eventually felt in 1993.

Tata did have a small light pickup truck, the 207 (2=2 tonne GVW, 07=70 horsepower, rounded off from 1948 cc 68 hp diesel engine) which was mildly successful in small business and rural areas aside in goods and load carrying markets and in areas those which did not require a hauler too big a size. Travalled extensively myself when I was a kid, especially in Uttarakhand areas like haldwani, nainital, ranikhet, almora, bageshwar, pithoragarh etc, it proved to be a reliable and a comfortable vehicle for three passengers and load. Earlier versions were called 206 which had a lower powered output of the same engine.

1991 marked a new beginning in TELCO's era when its first "personal vehicle", the Sierra was launched. Boasting of first-for-India features like power windows, adjustable steering and tacho, it looked different and unlike anything else on the road. It also had power steering, the second vehicle in India after the standard 2000 to have it. But its poor build, poor overall quality, fit, finish and finesse and moreover, its impractical 2 door design with a fixed rear window to get that blast furnace like experience in the event of hot summer severely limited its appeal. It still has its own base of fans and supporters, though.
Initially it was powered by the same 207's 68 hp ngine but since it was pathetically sluggish, a turbo motor was added late onto its lifecycle.

1993 marked another chapter in TELCO's history when it unveiled a mercdes T wagon based UV, simply called the "estate". It as too heavy, too trucky, too crude and too big and subpar on quality, fit and finish. Though it was comfortable, it bombed badly and production was stopped prematurely even before it tasted success.

It was 1994 that actually bought telco its first success in the form of the first modern MUV, the SUMO. Better than anything else that TELCO built before, it was much more comfortable and better refined and appointed as compared to its key competitor, the mahindra jeeps. But that success was short lived in 2000 when Toyota took revenge and literally ripped the sumo apart with its qualis. Rest as !xobile says, is history.

It was then Tata realized its limitations. Having everything designed in house including the dyes, body panels, engines, underpinnings, interiors etc telco's engineers realised that they simply do not have enough resources and technical know how to design and develop a modern passenger vehicle.
So this time, Tata decided to outsource the design of "project safari", while engineering work began sometime in 1995.


The project safari literally transformed Telco from inside and out. Tata engineers began to adopt new ideas, new thinking standards and new innovative policies.
The safari, in order to look proportionate, had to be first designed with proportions, and an accurate one in that. And what better way to do than to apply the use of computer in designing and later, manufacturing?

Yes, the safari was the first Indian vehicle to make extensive use of CAD (Computer aided design) and CAM (computer aided manufacturing) techniques. The safari was styled by a bunch of Tata designers with many designers from a UK design studio giving their inputs. In fact, many of the designing work was done extensively in UK benchmarking many of the top EU vehicles that time.

Not only the exterior now looked modern and proportionate, the interior was also designed entirely outside, using a combination of human hand and computer. Making extensive use of new technology called injection molding, the interiors can be given a contemporary look while at the same time, the "crudeness effect" is eliminated.

Bean counters continued to rule the roost so instead of designing an entirely new chassis, a heavily reworked version of the 207 ladder frame based chassis was used, but with a sophisticated suspension design replacing the crude leaf springs, read coil spring and torsion beams at rear, while Independent McPherson Strut was used at the front.


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The auto expo was fast approaching and it was a wonderful opportunity for Tata to showcase its engineering prowess. With the show being only lacklustre at best and India dominated with a quartet of luxury sedans and a trio of econo hatchbacks, the design undoubtedly stood out in a crowd and it was unlike anything telco has ever attempted before.

A white prototype (the same vehicle photographed above) was displayed and the public got a first glimpse of the "New Telco" for the first time. Modern macho looks with well crafted interiors and full of creature comforts, the "concept safari" was given a thumbs up by the public and approved for production, with final testing and chassis validations to be carried out before its commercial launch after 23 months.

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Now while the final tests continue and refinements an tweaks being made, the real acid test will start when the vehicle is ready for commercial launch and while !xobile takes a break with some evening snacks, its time for you all to chillax and reclaim your life.

Because, its time to make your own road.
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Old 20th November 2010, 16:19   #8
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Nice write up @sidindica.
A true tribute to THE Indian SUV.
Pity that the merlin safari is not as ground breaking as it's predeccessor.
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Old 20th November 2010, 16:38   #9
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Sid, for once i thought you bought yourself a new SAFARI

What a fitting tribute to one of the BEST SUV's India has ever produced.

15 years and it still holds fort for the Best in business and the largest ownership of any SUV on T-BHP.

Does anyone know....? that there are more than 200+ Safari owners here on T-BHP.......!

As a hard core Enthusiast / Fan and a owner of this BEST. I loved the tribute.

Thank you Sid.
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Old 20th November 2010, 17:34   #10
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Yes, I am in Love with the lady Safari; The reason why I did'nt married till now.
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Old 21st November 2010, 08:31   #11
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Atlast, perhaps the most befitting Tribute starts now, Thank you Sid for starting this marvellous History making Trip.

After dreaming this for almost 8 years, I finally got hold of one and have started falling in love again.

I am already liking this,
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Old 21st November 2010, 12:27   #12
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!Xobile is the real big B. The real big boss. He is his own boss. People who question his sanity do not deserve to exist.
Bigg boss is for amateurs, for those who don't know how to reclaim your life. Perhaps bigg boss is the only organisation which unemploys the employed for that 90 days of insane madness.
!xobile always beleives in only one philosophy," One life. why so serious ?"

That's what the safari is designed for. Its gargantuan, humoungous and at the same time has that "don't mess with me" look.

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January 1998.
The launch time has arrived. Telco has completed its first of the most ambitious "modernization projects" under the "tata engineering" label.

Its time to hand over the cars to media. Auto India's January 1998 issue is the first to conduct an extensive test of the new tata safari. Compared to the prehistoric sierra and estate, its a quantum leap ahead of what Tata has ever manufactured so far since it has existed. Talk of words like "superbly crafted interiors, superb surface finish" and at the end, "Priced at Rs. 8,25,000 ex showroom, Mumbai, there is nothing else available. If this is what you need, buy it twice without thinking" just adds icing on the cake.

Manufactured on an entirely new assembly line in the company's flagship Pune plant, it shares the same paintshop which was also shared with erstwhile locally assembled Mercedes models.
Critics, though agree with some drawbacks with the vehicle being overweight at 1920 kg, horribly underpowered motor despite being turbocharged and putting out 90 bhp@4300 rpm and still less than steller overall build quality, fit and finish.
But since this started the learning curve for tata engineering, it still fell of being called a "world class" product. yet, it had many merits.
alk about towering presence, ultimate middle row seat comfort, expansive head and legroom and ultimate ride quality from the long travel suspension, it was worthy of the popular title "poor man's pajero or land cruiser".
Launched in both 4 by 2 and 4 by 4 versions, it was considered to be a slap in the face of those critics who consistently panned the Indian engineering skills.

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The design reeks of understated elegance, though the glass area could have been more proportionate. The front end with its muscular rectangular headlights reeks of understated simplicity, the tough bonnet shouts presence and the superbly molded Grey bumpers gel well with the nicely styled front end.
the side is equally appealing with huge and heavy doors and absence of unnecessary creases and curves. Simplicity, again is the key here. The huge side body cladding that runs parallel to the belt line disguises visual bulk and gives the safari tremendous character.
The rear, though appears narrow is cleverly characterized by simple vertical taillights and a heavy tailgate with a equally heavy spare wheel mounted on it, to give immense presence with a superb grey spare wheel cover with "safari" embossed on it so that casual observers do not mistake this vehicle for anything else.

The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-101.jpg

The interior is simplistic and ergonomically sound with all controls within easy reach. Step inside and you feel like sitting inside a spacious citadel. Headroom, legroom and width are enormous and this thing towers above anything else on the road.
!Xobile always beleives in dictatorship. And the safari is designed to make you feel like a king and others like a wimp. the seats are firm, wide and comfortable and even the longest of drives now feel refreshing.

However, its the middle row seat that lies its biggest trump card. No matter what the competition brings, none have perfected the comfort quotient of this seat like the safari did. Expansive legroom and knee level rear AC vents ensure complete comfort, but its the cushioning and the design of the seat base that has been perfected by telco engineers. So hats off to them.

The rear jump seats could have been more imaginatively designed though. Side facing, they are best suited to only three small kids. An independent AC vent is another thoughtful touch for this palatial cabin at the time all pack up and travel together for that jungle safari.

!Xobile does not believe in racing. Nor in boy racers. Racing is for boys, not men. !Xobile is a pakka mard who beleives in cruising, not bruising. Calm and quiet safari to enjoy his life to the fullest. You are guaranteed the right of way on any lane you go by these so called boys driving econo boxes. Don't mess with me, lest they forget...

And so does the safari. It was not designed to win any 0-100 sprints or 20-80 or 40-100 kmph sprints. Its a leviathan powered by a 1948 cc of brute workhorse of a proven 483 DL motor, turbocharged and inter cooled to produce 90 bhp@4300 rpm. It may be still unrefined, but when it warms up and the car is in cruising mode, all vibrations are well muted and kept to the minimum. the G76 gearbox is still short of being perfect, it feels heavy and baulky but does the job. And the truck can comfortable cruise at 120 kmph while hitting the top whack of 140.

High speed stability, like all SUVs is suspect with body roll imminent due to short wheelbase, tall height and somewhat high center of gravity. But its not meant to be driven with gusto. Its meant to be driven with civility, talk about being driven with respect. Alloys were given as options in the beginning, enhancing its presence even further shod with 205/65 R 15 tyres.

Built on ladder frame chassis, its off roading prowess is equally competent. LSD and Borg Warner supplied shift-on-the-fly 4WD mechanism keeping things in control and helping owners out of sticky situations when they get too sticky with girls and forget about how to reclaim their own lives.

Yet, the truck is not perfect with many niggles and fit/finish issues being reported by owners. Tata's new dealership network is still hard at work in the Indica launch and setting up service infrastructure, while behind the curtains, telco's engineers start working hard to improve the safari and make quality improvements.

Now while !xobile goes to the bigg boss house to teach its inmates how to reclaim their lives, all you guys enjoy this Sunday by making it a fun day. Plan a safari with your family and friends, while !xobile will be back soon carrying forward the next part of his safari chronicles.

The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-012.jpg


Last edited by sidindica : 21st November 2010 at 12:30.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 11:39   #13
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The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-tatasafari.jpg

!Xobile is not a follower. He leads from the front. Inspired from kaizen, he keeps on improving upon past mistakes and makes his strong points stronger. People who own a safari and who owned the safari in the past will only understand that we care a damn about critics and naysayers.

Keeping with the policy of constant refinements, the safari saw its first major upgrade in April 2000 in the advent of Euro-2 norms.


The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-8950795.jpg

The safari received a minor facelift in the form of a new front grille which was bolder and consisted of 3 larger bars instead of the 5 that it earlier came with it. New shades like loire green, melachit green and fiji blue were introduced complimenting existing shades like mica burning red, mica black and mist silver plus a shade of white.

The safari also receive some engine refinements and a new sturdier flywheel, new better quality mounting and special anti vibration melt sheets were added with this upgrade with a discreet Euro 2 sticker to mark its ist upgrade. Not only that, the look was further enhanced with additional side cladding being added to the lower half of the doors, thus doubling the protection offered and giving the truck a more balanced stance. Further quality improvements included dimensional stability in manufacturing to make the inconsistent panel gaps more uniform and further improvements in interior plastics. No change in mechanicals, whatsoever, were made. Only the steering geometry was revised for improved safety and stability and a more benign handling.

To make the safari more affordable to a wider audience, a stripped down model, called the safari LX was launched in 2001. It deleted certain features from the regular safari and was only available in 4 by 2 version. Priced below 7 lakhs that time, sales zoomed and the safari LX was proving to be a money spinner for Telco.

Limited Edition Safari

To commemorate the festive season in 2002, Tata launched its first ever limited edition of the safari in four exclusive shades-fiji blue with matt finish, garnet black with matt finish, pearl white and silver with gloss cladding finish and a host of added creature comforts.

!Xobile always likes to chillax in his free time when taming the safari in a jungle. Its hot, yet humid, and before !xobile's mind blasting adventure blasts of altogether, he needs to cool down. caution: don't mess with me.
So to ease that problem, this safari came with a specially designed refrigerator at the back of the middle row seat. The jump seats were deleted and leather upholstery was added to further cocoon !xobile in the world of comfort and ease. Discreet stickers on the sides were further giveaway of this exclusive model, and so was the dark wood finish console.

Wanna see how I look like? Well, the white safari in my previous post is the very same vehicle that i am tom toming about.

Don't mess with me

The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-tata_safari.jpg

!xobile's exile is in its fifth year, or to be precise, seventh from the first time my safari was shown to the public. To commemorate my anniversary, the safari gets its second round of cosmetic upgrades. Further quality improvements are carried out and a new variant-the Safari EX is launched with improved interiors. Basically the ame regular safari, it gains a new Blaupunkt audio system, wooden finish central console, new upholstery, body coloured door handles and mirrors, soft touch interiors and a small integrated bull bar at the front. The 4WD system is further refined for better off road capability and suspension is tweaked further for further ride comfort.

!Xobile's face is grinning with his white shiny teeth as he has no less than three safaris to choose from:
  • LX 4X2
  • EX 4X2
  • EX 4X4
Its here, and ready for anywhere. Better all round SUV at a far more competitive price. Yet, a bite from an insect called scorpio-n has crashed its sales thus sparking off a price war between tata and crosstown rival, mahindra. Drops to 6.5 lakhs. More affordable than ever. Sales zoom again and the safari VS scorpio war is now out in the open.

But while other leaders claim to say that "we are going to be there", !xobile has now proclaimed, "aren't we here already"?

Yes, I am already here, and ready to make my own road again. But you know that its monday. Monday, already? Its a new week, yet for some, its time to complete all pending work and have a feeling of pressurized air waiting to burst from your brain.
Jab pressure aata hai na pressure, to karna padta hai.
Take a lunchtime break and chillax, as !xobile will be back soon with his next chapter in the safari chronicles.

The Safari chronicles by !xobile. Make your own road.-tata_safari_rear.jpg


Last edited by sidindica : 22nd November 2010 at 11:41.
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Old 22nd November 2010, 11:58   #14
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You may also cover Camel Trophy in which Safari was driven from Europe to Cape Town
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Old 22nd November 2010, 12:32   #15
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Hey Sid,
A worthy tribute to the best looking SUV in India. You should see how the Italians enjoy the off roading prowess of this mean machine. Mindblowing I say!
BTW, whats !xobile?
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