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Old 22nd February 2024, 23:18   #1
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My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

1972 Premier President




What I like:
  • Classy timeless looks. No other car from the pre-liberalisation era comes close to the 1100D for me in this regard
  • Lusty engine mated to a very slick shifting column shift operated gearbox driving the rear wheels
  • Routine maintenance and service costs are still very reasonable. Not a car that demands much attention in this regard
  • Peppy performance with a lovely exhaust note. Sounds like a 20th century mini-Ferrari!
  • Very good handler by 1970s standards. Tonnes of fun to flick around thanks to the low weight and RWD layout
  • Very easy to work on. Routine maintenance, electrical troubleshooting and servicing is child’s play and most if not all parts are easy to access under the hood

What I don’t like:
  • Parts are becoming tough to procure, especially cosmetic ones. Needless to say, they also cost a bomb with most stockists taking advantage of the scarcity
  • Quite the rust magnet. Needs special attention and care to keep corrosion in check. Paint quality wasn’t great from the factory either
  • Safety is non-existent by today’s standards. No seatbelts on this 1972 President either. A minor hiccup if you plan to daily it
  • Interior space and ergonomics are typically Italian (read: very cramped). Not a car you bought for being chauffeured around in
  • Some jobs can’t be undertaken by your average neighborhood mechanic. Needs a seasoned old-timer who knows what he’s doing
  • Prices are shooting up to unbelievable levels. I don’t think it will even be worth buying one 2-3 years down the line

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img20240128wa0009.jpg

Last edited by vishy76 : 22nd February 2024 at 23:27.
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Old 22nd February 2024, 23:30   #2
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Backstory & the hunt

Backstory

My family shifted to Bombay in 2009. I still remember the first time I came to Mumbai. Merrily got off at LTT, and the next thing I see is my dad trying to hail a cab. The only cabs I was used to seeing at that point in time were the usual Tata Indicas and Indigos. The word Fiat only meant the Uno a friend of mine used to own when I was in Senior KG and a Sienna, a gentleman in my apartment owned when we were in Ahmedabad.

The sight that greeted me was quite strange then. A beaten up black and yellow car pulled up with a roof carrier. The taxi driver gingerly opened the boot but also had a long length of rope in his hand. The rope would be put to good use since the boot had a larger-than-life cylinder in it and could only squeeze in 2-3 soft bags. The rest went on the roof carrier. When he opened the rather small doors, I was again greeted with another spectacle. The front had a single piece seat (which I later came to know was called a “Bench seat”). The dash didn’t exist! It was simply a protrusion on the firewall with a small cavity on the passenger side which formed the glovebox. Ingress was tough to say the least. My dad insisted I sit in the middle at the front or the back but nowhere close to the doors at any cost. Closing the doors took 2-3 attempts (are you even in a “Fiat” taxi if you manage to get the door closed right on the first attempt?)

The next 30-35 minutes were probably the scariest ones in my life. My innate curiosity was replaced by horror as the taxi driver was weaving through Mumbai traffic as if it was the last day of his life. Half of my brain was worried about the bags atop the roof carrier while the rest had gone into survival mode. I am not a very courageous soul in all honesty. I loath flying on a turbulent day, absolutely abhor rollercoasters and in general detest when someone else drives fast with me in the passenger seat. However, now that I have an 1100D/President/Padmini myself and know how “good” the brakes are, I think my fears no matter how childish & illogical weren’t precisely unfounded.

That one drive in a Fiat taxi had left such an impression that I almost never sat in one again for 2-3 years. The only Fiat taxi I would ever sit in would be the one belonging to a friendly taxi driver who used to operate out of a stand close to my home. Tripathiji as he was called, had a rather well kept Padmini largely devoid of the snazzy stickers and chrome bits one would expect of a taxi. What the car did have were whitewall tyres, something which I still remember almost 15 years later. Tripathiji was my grandfather’s trusted driver. He would always drive at a steady pace, never cut lanes and never brake late, quite an exception for a Mumbai taxi driver, just like his Padmini. My dad would ask him to take us on drives to various parts of Bombay back then, since our Corsa had been shipped by container from Chennai to Mumbai & was taking ages to arrive.

Some observations I made as a kid sitting at the back and later taking the “Fiat shotgun” position (middle one between driver and passenger) as I like to call it:
  • The gear lever was oddly placed to say the least. I had roughly figured out the positioning of gears in a floorshift car, but was never able to do so for a Padmini. This would hold true up until only a year back
  • The car had a very prominent whine when accelerating in 1st. Especially prominent as taxi drivers would take off like a rocket from traffic lights
  • It looked & felt “old”, but it did have guts. In the right hands and with generous gear shifts, the Padmini could actually keep up with Mumbai traffic quite effortlessly.
  • The doors were a sore point always. Never aligned correctly and always needed 2-3 attempts to shut. One of the reasons why my dad never allowed me to sit close to the doors

This was pretty much what I would expect of every Padmini I ever sat in (whenever I did sit in one that is). However, one fine day it did change. My grandparents had come down from Vadodara and Tripathiji was unavailable. We hailed a cab from the same stand, but when I got in, I was in for a rather pleasant surprise:
  • This “Fiat” didn’t have the single seat at the front. Two individual (bucket) seats with headrests, almost like a Maruti 800
  • The gear lever was where it was supposed to be (floor shift)
  • The car had AC as well though it was obviously never switched on
  • Ran a lot smoother and felt more “car-like” to ride in than the cruder Padminis I had ridden in earlier

January, 2023

My family was based in Baroda while I was pursuing engineering in Bombay. Life was going well.

BHPian Beemerbug006 is someone I have known even before he joined the forum. Since I was in Bombay for my higher education, I never missed an opportunity to visit him at his residence in Shivaji Park, Dadar. Apart from owning a lovely Maruti Zen, Nikhil is a very familiar face at classic car meets owing to his photography skills. The presence of skilled old timer mechanics known to him at Shivaji park meant he would often be entrusted with fixing an old car or two over a weekend. I would also take the opportunity to visit him at this time and ride in one of these.

On one such unassuming weekday in Feb, I landed at Shivaji Park post college. Nikhil didn’t waste much time and immediately took me to his trusted auto electrician. And there she was. A white Padmini Deluxe BE being worked on by a rather grumpy old man. After some prodding, I was told the car had been procured by a friend of Nikhil’s. He had been tasked to bring it back into running condition, post which the owner had “other plans” for it.

On the surface, the white Padmini didn't have much going for it. Although the “aam junta” would give it curious looks on the road, I could imagine it attracting attention for all the wrong reasons at a Fiat meet. The wheels were tastelessly sprayed in black and so were the pillars. The rear end was jacked up to massive proportions, giving the car a very awkward stance. On closer inspection, the paint job was a massive botch up. Overspray at every possible nook and cranny, paint overrun visible from a mile away and missing bits of wiring.

After the electrician (who was seemingly frustrated at this point) had reinstalled the starter, we jumped in and went for a spin. Mind you, this was when the car didn’t have any sort of insulation on the floorboard. On a rather humid Bombay evening, we were sweating it out in the Padmini. After Nikhil was convinced the car was running fine, I was told to take the wheel and learn.

Hopping into a Padmini and driving off is not something you can do if you are only used to driving ‘traditional’ cars, no matter how experienced you are. The organ type ABC pedals, judicious amounts of play in the steering, the non-vaccum assist brakes (all four drums if I might add) are traits which can pose a serious challenge at first. However, after about 3-4 km of driving, it seemed I had gotten used to the car.

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20230407_115533.jpg

Over the next month or so, the car’s charm got to me. I never quite understood what it was. Maybe it was the back to basics driving feel, maybe it was the fact that there could never be an idle moment when driving the car, or maybe just good old Italian character. I had fallen in love with it. So much so, that I casually pitched the idea to my old man who gave me a go ahead for the same.

The Hunt

Initial budget was pegged at a rather conservative 70k. I checked out a couple of examples and was less than impressed. I almost sealed the deal on a 1965 1100D, but later realized there was too much tinkering involved to bring it back to shape. The car was also missing most if not all of the cosmetic bits which should have made it an 1100D.

After this rather uninspiring hunt, my dad gave me the go ahead to up the budget while also setting some stringent criteria:
  • Should be a petrol column shift. Diesels simply weren’t going to make the cut
  • Should have valid paperwork
  • Should be a fundamentally solid car. Minimal rust, no LPG/CNG BS conversions, no mechanical jugaads or hackjobs
  • Should be a car which needs TLC, but not a grounds up restoration immediately
Budget: 1.3-1.5L

Post this, two cars appealed to me on FB classifieds. The first one was a 1990 Padmini listed for 1.2L. The seller wasn’t very keen on making a sale. When I told him I would send someone to check the car out, he made excuses that the car had gone for a minor touch-up bla bla. Decided to put this on hold.

The second car was quite the interesting one. The ad didn’t explicitly mention the car name. It simply said “Old is Gold 1973 all’original parts clear paper upto 2025”. The price listed was also a very random number. However, I still decided to DM the seller. Nikhil identified the car as a Premier President and we decided it would be prudent to send a friend and Fiat veteran Russel to check the car out on my behalf.

Russel gave the car a thumbs up. He opined that there was minimal rust barring the cross member, the paintjob was in above average condition and the car in general felt genuine.

After a lot of back and forth with the seller on the phone, we agreed on a price. While I had stretched my budget by a fair margin, Nikhil and Russel were both of the opinion that it was worth it for the car I had landed wasn’t a Padmini, but a ‘President’.

The Delivery Saga

I had wired a token amount to the seller and had the ad taken down. I promised him that I would come down in the next week or so, see the car in person one final time and make the final payment.

The next week, on the 21st of March, 2023, a very close friend and fellow BHPian Atharva and I hopped into his Vento and made quick progress towards Pune. The day was an odd one because it had rained cats and dogs in the morning and showers didn't subside until we crossed the Lonavala ghat section. The plan was simple:
  • Reach the seller’s location. Inspect the car, make final payment and take delivery
  • Based on the car’s condition and if we had enough time, drive it back to base with the Vento as backup or load it on a container and have it sent to Bombay

The plan (in theory at least) was very simple. Post reaching Pune however, we were in for a rude shock:
  • Firstly, my outstanding navigation skills meant we somehow ended up about 20 km from the intended destination
  • Secondly, while coming down a flyover, the Vento TDI decided to throw in a surprise by springing up an overheating warning.

After descending, we parked to the side, only to find the coolant boiling over. Having dealt with TDIs numerous times on VWs, the sweet smell of fresh coolant from the timing belt casing told me it had to be the water pump that had given up.

The seller was not very happy to learn about all this. Somehow, I managed to beat all odds and reach the seller’s place while Atharva limped to the closest FNG with his Vento.

After an inspection and a short spin in the car, I took delivery. The fuel guage read between ¼ and ½, with the seller also assuring me that the car would easily make it to the outskirts of Pune. Initial impressions were not outstanding:
  • Most of the original trim was intact including the grille, the speedo, interior grab straps and even the ash tray
  • The alignment was screwed by a very good margin
  • Front shocks were done, if not the entire front suspension. The car was bouncing like a pogo stick over less than ideal Pune roads
  • Sounded like a truck thanks to the broken exhaust plumbing
  • Brakes were a far cry from the white Padmini I had driven in Bombay

I didn’t really have time to think about much else.

All I knew was that:
  • I had bought myself a 50 year old Fiat
  • I had to somehow figure out a way to take the car back to base with me while also finding a way to take Atharva and the Vento home

I drove the President down to the FNG where Atharva had taken the Vento. Bad news was in store. The water pump would only be replaced by 23rd March, since 22nd was a holiday. Out of frustration and impulse, we both hopped into the Fiat and decided to aim for Bombay. It was around 1.30-2.00 pm.

We had somehow managed to navigate the worst of Pune traffic and make it to the outskirts. The President was to climb a flyover on the Katraj-Kondhwa road. All was going well, when suddenly, the car decided it didn’t want to obey throttle inputs anymore. A bit of sputtering followed and then imminent death. I was clueless. Fortunately, Russel sent for a towing van with a rather enthusiastic driver. He took 1.5 hours to reach, but charged a mere 2200 bucks for a 20 km tow across Pune to Russel’s garage in Khadki.

Stranded on the flyover in Pune:
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708625824246.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708625916312.jpg

At the garage, we removed the float from the fuel tank, only to find out that there was no fuel in it. Trusting the fuel guage had been the biggest mistake I had made, it seemed. Russel also pointed out a couple of other things that needed attention including the radiator hoses. However, he opined the car would make it to Bombay if we just fueled up and left.

It was already 5 pm. We were exhausted. My risk taking bandwidth was over. Atharva took a cab back to base, while I decided to give myself some time and retire to a family friend’s home in Pune. The car was fueled up and taken. The next morning, I decided to drop the car off at Russel’s garage and leave for Bombay. I asked him to do whatever he deemed necessary to make the car mechanically reliable. We decided to do the following:
  • Replace the entire exhaust system
  • Replace the spark plugs
  • Set the tappets, tune the carb and set distributor timing
  • Get new wheelcaps (got Padmini ones)
  • Get the brake lights and front indicators to work
  • Remove the roof carrier and antenna

We also wanted to replace the crusty cross member, but it wasn’t in stock. All in all, Russel did a very good job considering the shoestring budget I had given him. I gingerly asked him to load the car up in a container and have it shipped to which he disagreed. He was of the opinion that the car could make it to Bombay effortlessly.

After some back and forth over the same, we found middle ground. Russel would drive the President down to Lonavala, following which I would take over. The date was set, 27th March, 2023.

D-day (take 2)

I once again left for Lonavala post college with a trusty friend (no prizes for guessing who). We reached Lonavala, met Russel and went over all the work that had been done. Post a refuel, it was time to hit the highway, or actually the expressway.

While the initial plan dictated taking the President down the ghat via the old Bombay-Pune highway, the steep slopes we encountered on the way to Lonavala made me decide otherwise. In the end, I had barely driven the car for 15-20 km and there was no clarity on the overall integrity of the brakes or the suspension.

All this meant I made a last moment decision to take the expressway. As we exited Lonavala, quite a few things were going through my mind. How would the car respond as I pushed it to higher speeds? Would the brakes hold up? Would the engine temp remain in control at higher speeds?

I joined the highway and merrily started filtering through slow moving truck traffic. I saw a couple of gentle left hand sweepers ahead and decided to push through them to see how the car would respond. To my surprise, the President played along quite well. The short 4th gear, RWD layout meaning the front wheels only had to steer the car and the short wheelbase meant I was pushing the car into corners at 50-60 kmhr and thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, the alignment was still not perfect and I had to practice due diligence over expansion joints thanks to the bad front shocks.

What was even more surprising was the fact that the car didn’t really feel strained at 60-70 km hr (48hp isn’t a lot of hp). Engine temps had dropped below 70 degrees centigrade at 60-70 km hr. The President seemed to be happier than even I was. After a single halt to check for any leakages from the radiator, I put some nice music on my trusty old BT speaker, opened both front quarter glasses and cruised towards Bombay.

Somewhere near Lonavala. Due credits to Atharva for the rolling shots:
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_0741.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_0743.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_0720.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_0721.jpg

Last edited by vishy76 : 23rd February 2024 at 00:00.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 00:06   #3
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Ownership Experience

The Bombay Chapter


My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708628190342.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708628190244.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708628190446.jpg

My long-term plan was to shift the car to Baroda permanently. However, a few running repairs were performed in Bombay under Nikhil’s supervision. I will list them down briefly:
  • Front dampers changed (Gabriel): The ones that came off the car were Sachs dampers. The top bush was missing completely on one shock and smashed to pieces on the other. The front end did start behaving better post this, but still didn’t feel as tight as it should have. I decided to save up and do a full suspension overhaul barring the spiders later
  • UJ Cross changed: I had noticed minor vibrations through the floor at 50+ kmhr. The prop shaft UJ cross was changed which remedied the issue
  • Carburettor overhauled: The carb was given an overhaul as a preventive maintenance practice. All gaskets were changed, integrity of the jets was checked and last but not the least, the accelerator pump assembly was changed since the one on the car had suffered from a punctured diaphragm. Special thanks to Fiat Veteran and ace collector President for lending me the part. It was only thanks to him that the total downtime for the job was 3-4 days as opposed to more than a week.

Apart from this, a few minor cosmetic bits such as changing the indicator lenses to clear lens units and swapping the ‘Padmini’ badge out for a ‘President’ badge (thanks to President again) were attended to.

The car’s innings in Bombay came to an end in May, 2023. I made an impulse decision to take her with me to Baroda, where she would stay with my family.

The Baroda Chapter

Since professional commitments had gotten the better of me around May, 2023, family friend and fellow BHPian Porsche_guy was entrusted with unloading the President at Baroda and tending after her until I arrived almost 15-20 days later.

Brakes

After I arrived, the monsoons set in. Apart from the suspension, I could now clearly feel the brakes losing bite. Not willing to risk it any further, I decided to open the front brakes and what I saw wasn’t a very pleasant sight:

Both the front brake cylinders were shot. The front left cylinder had one seized piston with severe scouring on the walls. The front right cylinder had developed a crack on the inner plastic bush which was responsible for transmitting spring force to the piston. I was surprised as to how the car was even stopping in a straight line

The braking system on my car was supplied by a company named API (later Padminis switched to TVS Girling). Finding parts was next to impossible. To add to my frustration, interchanging parts was impossible among the two since both used different threadings for all the fittings

I didn’t have the financial bandwidth or time to do a full braking system conversion to TVS Girling just yet. Sourcing a Girling master cylinder especially was turning out to be a huge pain in the proverbial place.

This is when I got in touch with BHPian babyhindustan, who I source most of the parts for my President from. He suggested I could simply use TVS Girling front wheel cylinders by changing the banjo fitting at the end of the brake hoses on either side. This sorted the front.

For the rear, the metal brake pipes terminating at the wheel cylinders would have to be changed. One side of the pipe, which is attached to the car’s brake lines, would have an API threading, while the other would have threading suitable for Girling type cylinders.

I also realized that this isn’t a job I could undertake myself. I found a trusted mechanic and handed the car over to him.

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708627422813.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708627422750.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708627422685.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708627422602.jpg

To sum things up on the braking front, this is what has been done:
  • Both front wheel cylinders changed to Girling type (Saini) along with the appropriate Banjo fittings
  • Rear cylinders were found to be in acceptable shape and had no leaks. They were left as is
  • The brakes were adjusted and so was the handbrake cable

All said and done however, I am sure the car can do much much better on the braking front. I plan to switch to a full Girling setup by March, 2024 come what may.

Suspension and tyres

Even though the front shocks had been changed in Bombay, overall suspension behavior remained pathetic. The front would still feel sloppy and make funny noises when going over rough stuff. The steering by design has some play in these cars, but mine felt even worse. The tyres also had to be blamed. The car was still running on 20-year old Goodyear Powerstars. Although they seemed to have 60-70 percent of life left going by tread depth, how hard the tyres would have become is anybody’s guess.

To sum things up, this is what was done to the suspension in totality:
  • At the front, we ended up changing the metal bushes which attach the control ams to the subframe and body of the car. Rubber bushes (bushes for the anti roll bar in technical language) were changed too apart from spring pads. A set of new steering end ball joints went in. Only the spiders were retained
  • The control arms were given a liberal coating of red oxide primer to prevent corrosion. The springs were given a thorough clean using a wire brush for the same reason
  • I didn’t have any complaints wrt the rear particularly. Although I was keen to change the spring eye bushes and shocks, my mechanic opined that there was nothing wrong with them. Meddling with the leaf spring bushes can lead to a change in rear ride height and screw up the car’s stance, so I decided it's best to leave it alone.

The old control arm bushes. These had never been changed:
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-1708627422509.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img20231021wa0109.jpg

Additionally, the front cross member, which had a lot of rot, was cut out and a new one was welded in. A couple of rust holes on the subframe were also patched up.

The radiator had again developed a minor seep from the neck after repair in Pune, this was also attended to.

I was very happy with the results. The front now felt far more confident and ride quality also went up by several notches. However, the car still had a habit of wandering left or right, forcing me to feed excessive steering input even on an arrow straight road. I concluded this was down to the old cross plies.

I decided to switch to radials in the interest of ride and availability. The size which came closest to the 5.20 14 inch cross ply profile in radial size was 165/80 R14. The tires aren’t a perfect fit. They do bulge out slightly more than usual as compared to the cross plies. I also added tubes even though the tires are tubeless. End of the day, the rims are 50+ years old and there’s no guarantee the edges will seal perfectly in tubeless application.

The tire change made an even bigger difference than the suspension overhaul had. The car was rounding off bumps and potholes beautifully. More importantly, the wandering or tramlining stopped completely. All in all, I would say this is something I should have done before.

The biggest challenge we faced in the suspension and tyres department was the wheel alignment. Blame it on incompetence or just sheer bad luck, but it took 2-3 attempts to get the alignment right. In the end, my mechanic resorted to the good old string method and realized the front driver side wheel needed major caster and camber adjustments; this was to be performed by inserting shims or washers of the appropriate thickness between the control arm and the car’s frame. I am still not completely satisfied with the alignment though.

At the time of composing this review, I have also swapped out the 50 year old Dynamo for an alternator. I have also swapped the carb out for a non-pumping unit from a Padmini and had the stock carburettor overhauled. However, I will save that for a later post.

Cosmetics and electricals

Cosmetically, the car didn’t really need any immediate attention. However, being the OCD afflicted idiot I am, I went ahead and did the following:
  • Swapped the Padmini wheelcaps for the original President wheelcaps procured from Chor Bazaar for an eye watering price
  • The ignition switch broke last month. I sourced a PMP switch with the brass key to replace it
  • The entire car was given a polish including all the aluminium trims
  • Tail light lenses had faded badly. Changed those as well
  • Sprayed the rims to body shade
  • Headlamps had pathetic performance. The sealed beams had corroded internally. Bought a set of Lumax H4 beams in the interest of performance instead of sticking to Lucas type.
  • The passenger side headlamp had issues with grounding and so did the side flasher. Fixed those too

The biggest challenge faced in this department was the bumpers. Ever since I bought the car, the black bumpers were really triggering my OCD. Prices for having them chromed ranged from 4 digit figures to 6 digit figures.

After lots of back and forth, I decided to have them chromed at a local electroplating unit for a pittance. Only time will tell how long they last.

Last edited by vishy76 : 23rd February 2024 at 01:39.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 00:31   #4
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Conclusion

Future mods/fixes:
  • The gearbox has a very minor oil seep from the area where the selector shafts enter it. I plan to fix these seals when I remove the box for undertaking a clutch overhaul
  • Switch to electronic ignition (though I am still on the fence when it comes to this. The stock TVS Lucas delco is serving me perfectly)
  • Have the steering and speedo surround refinished to factory spec
  • Get the two front rims trued. There is a slight bend in both of them
  • Strip the entire car down and give it an overcoat. Frankly, I am on the fence when it comes to this one too. I would like to change the colour to a very light blue. However, this is something which is at least 1.5-2 years away owing to budget constraints and lack of skilled labour in my city
Some technical info to end these posts along with a few images of the car (all pics courtesy BHPian Porsche_guy). Will keep updating the thread with my findings.
  • Name: Premier President (MFG by Premier Automobiles Ltd in Kurla, Bombay)
  • Derivatives: Based on the Fiat 1100 platform. Badged the 1100D from 1965 to 1972 and then the President up to 1974. Subsequently called the Padmini up to 2000 following which production seized
  • Overall length: 3905mm
  • Engine: 1.1L N/A petrol with pushrods and overhead valves. Liquid cooled with an open cooling circuit
  • Power: 48 hp
  • Torque: 71 Nm @ 3000 rpm
  • Carburettor: Solex 32 PBIC with a 102.5 main jet (I am told the stock carb was a Solex 32 BIC, lack of ‘P’ denoting the absence of an accelerator pump)
  • Distributor: TVS Lucas 25D4 with centrifugal advance (no vacuum advance on the President)
  • Gearbox: 4 speed manual with a non-synchronised 1st and reverse gear. Mated to a single piece prop shaft transmitting power to the rear wheels
Suspension, steering & brakes
  • Front: Double wishbone setup with an anti-roll bar and oil filled dampers
  • Rear: Leaf springs with an anti-roll bar and oil filled dampers
  • Brakes: Single piston master cylinder with drums on all 4 corners
  • Steering: Worm & roller type steering box with drag links

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img20240128wa0009.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-whatsapp-image-20240223-00.41.39_d1ee264f.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-whatsapp-image-20240223-00.32.53_f805a917.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-whatsapp-image-20240223-00.42.18_2d502fad.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-whatsapp-image-20240223-00.32.54_29a51b6b.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-whatsapp-image-20240223-00.32.54_3c6fcb82.jpg

Last edited by vishy76 : 23rd February 2024 at 03:55.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 04:50   #5
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 23rd February 2024, 07:46   #6
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

Congratulations vishy76! Also, lovely pictures in the last post by Porsche_guy.

In a time where most college-going kids yearn for a bike or superbike, let alone a fast hatchback or sedan, you have taken quite a unique path by buying the President. Of course, you are not an average college-going kid either. ;-)
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Old 23rd February 2024, 08:46   #7
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

Very nice review of a 50+ year old car.

I could relate to almost all the experiences and repairs you had to do. I have been running and maintaining a 72' myself since 2017. It crossed a lakh kms last year and had got it fully serviced last month.
The carb was replaced with a another Solex carb as the diaphragm of the original one was worn and flooding the carb. Over the years, I got the rust parts fixed, the seats re-cushioned and new rubber floor mats. The door handles and window winders break at times as they are of bad quality. The car otherwise is fine overall.

I got the radiator cleaned couple of years back. The only issue I feel is caused by the ethanol blend petrol which is not good for the fuel system I feel and probably the reason for the diaphragm giving away. Which is also the reason I try and use the car as often as I can.

I use it almost every day to drop and pick my daughter from her school close by and take it for a long drive once every few months. The good part of the this car is that as long as you use it regularly, it will just keep running. It's never let me stranded on the road in the 4-5k kms I have driven it. The only major issues I have had was the fuel pump giving up and the brake cylinders leaking.

The car was handed over to me by fellow member SandeepMohan when he moved out of the country. It was owned by his gradfather and bought new back in 72'.

I remember member Justin Das has a well maintained 72' as well.

The tyres are from 2016 if I remember and holding good. Apart from like scenes in the old Indian movies were the driver has to keep adjusting the steering because it is cross ply.
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_5675.jpeg
Some pictures;
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_5533.jpeg
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_5531.jpeg
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_5487.jpeg
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_4380.jpeg

Last edited by tharian : 23rd February 2024 at 09:05.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 15:43   #8
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

Great to see a premier president on the roads! We also have a premier president and my father has taken care like a baby. It is stock and though NCR rules prohibit it on roads but now we are thinking of registering it under vintage/classic car as it is more than 50years old.
Would share preview of my car which is a 1973 premier president.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 21:48   #9
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Re: Backstory & the hunt

Quote:
Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
Call me crazy but Fiat looking better than Vento in this picture. Really timeless design I would say.

Keep it running as much as possible. It's a great car.
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Old 23rd February 2024, 23:15   #10
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

Some things are just meant to happen and they often end up happening when you least expect them to. How can I forget the countless hours we spent discussing if it was or wasn't a financially smart decision to buy an Old Fiat 1100 in today's day and age, and agreed it wasn't but still decided to search for one for you.

I am glad this car has brought you into the world of classics, so that you know that VW owners aren't the only ones who break their backs in trying to keep their cars pristine

The original owner of the car, Col. Sambhuji Lal, must surely be smiling from up above looking at your dedication towards this beauty

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-.trashed1683885866img_20230327_191123.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20230330_000728.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20230330_003406.jpg

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20230330_003413.jpg

Some pics from the initial days
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Old 24th February 2024, 00:37   #11
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

It feels like yesterday that D'mello (as we fondly call it) walked into our lives. I still remember the day when I first laid my eyes on it and we went out for a nice drive around Kalina. A fellow classic car owner was out in his BMW E30 and could not stop ogling at the beauty. Just like you, I also had my first experience driving an old column-shift pure mechanical car on the white Padmini courtesy Beemerbug_06 but while that was surely interesting, it is D'mello which has made me fall in love with old cars.

I even remember my first drive in your car when I unloaded it on the highway at ungodly hours and the ensuing nervous and terrifying highway drive. We have faced many such situations, most borne out of our own stupidity. But if there's one life lesson it has taught me, it is patience. If I had to equate it to a human, it would be an old, grumpy grandpa who lives his life to the fullest. Sure some days he's angry but he loves even more. Some days, we still sigh and tell ourselves "D'mello is not in the mood today" but when he is, oh is he ALIVE! Each and every moment spent behind the wheel, admiring the beautiful design or even the frustrating moments working on it are going with me to the grave as some of the best times of my life.

It's made me experience many intense emotions including anger, frustration, happiness, joy. But most of what it has taught me is to Feel. It being close to a year now to the date it came to us, I see it more as a friend than a car. Now is it wrong to feel such attachment with a car not even your own?

I also feel like you must add the backstory of the car, how we found the previous owner and how lovingly we maintained the car. I'm sure Mr.Lal is smiling wherever he is knowing that fate brought his loved baby to now be our loving ole grandpa D'mello and his legacy lives on.

Onwards!
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20230607_213919.jpg
The day I first got behind the wheel of D'mello
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20230620_224017.jpg
On one of the late night drives shortly after
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20231112_22491201.jpeg
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20240120_16212701.jpeg
Ending up with a couple of nice clicks showing off the Italian hotness!

Last edited by porsche_guy : 24th February 2024 at 00:46.
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Old 15th March 2024, 20:42   #12
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Re: My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review

Hello from one President to the other!
Attached Thumbnails
My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-insta1041.jpg  

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-img_20240226_115847_217.jpg  

My 1972 Premier President | Ownership Review-president.jpg  

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