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Old 18th July 2008, 11:50   #1
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Default A sense of Deja Vu - My Dear old Gypsy - An Old Friend Re-encountered

Its funny what happened to me last evening.

On my way home from work I had stopped over at a nearby complex here in Bangalore to do a little grocery shopping.

Imagine my complete surprise when after parking my Scorp and walking towards the entrance, I saw, parked outside a second hand car dealer's place, my dear OLD GYPSY!!!

I saw it, saw the number plate (TSJ 821) and recognised it immediately, though the poor Gypsy appears to have taken on a strange, tarted up sort of new avatar! Poor thing looked a bit tired under all that gloss.

I had bought this second hand in 1997 for the princely sum of 75000 Rs. Used it with pride, pleasure and enjoyment for three years during which it had done nearly 35000 odd kilometres with me. Madras to Ooty and back, Madras and Bangalore and a whole lot of joy riding in Madras, the beach, Pondicherry and once even pulling out a Sierra which had gotten bogged down in the sand.

It saw me through some good times, hard times, great parties - we once packed 14 people into it and went to a New Year party and back ( year 1998/1999 i think it was). It took my parents and me on small driving holidays around Chennai/Mahabalipuram/Pondicherry etc. It saw me through a couple of tough relationships, and a whole lot of great memories and sad ones.

We used to go to the Sri Perumbudur Track in it with friends and have a whole lot of fun, carrying our beers and biriyani and all that!

The dear old Gypsy even did duty for my Grandmother taking her up and down from hospital, my Grand Aunt likewise. Even my Dad used it for a bit after he retired, largely when he used to visit some of his clients located away from town on bad roads. It even did a hugely emotional duty for me when my Grandmother passed on to the great gig in the sky.

I loved it very much and was sad when I finally sold it to a friend who was also a garage owner. And the piece de resistance - I sold it for 80000/-, 5 grand more than I bought it for, and three years and 35000 km later - amazing!

When I had it with me it was the regular stock MG410 Narrow Track Gypsy with a Soft Top. Pure White in colour, black wheel arches, standard CEAT HT 75 Tyres, Grey Soft top and about 65000 on the clock when I bought it. It had the lockable/freewheeling hubs in front and was as original as possible, for an elderly gypsy to be. It was a 1988 model and I bought it when it was already almost ten years old!

Now it is 20 years old give or take, but still, seems to be running ok and atleast, has been maintained in good looking condition.

I started it for old times sake - it still has two keys, one for the ignition and the other to open the tailgate! The engine fired up and sounded nice but it was very low on gas so I killed it almost immediately, re-living my old memories of scrounging for petrol in the old days!

I suddenly remembered in the old days when the Guindy Flyover in Madras was being built and that whole road was a huge mess of mud and stones, one day, a sharp stone hit the tank and it sprung a leak. Enveloped by the smell of petrol I used the old First World War technique of locating the leak and rubbing Soap over it, leaving a few pieces stuck there to hold the leak till I could reach a garage. Two days down time in Electra, Kamlesh's garage, with the tank having got taken off, cleaned thoroughly, welded properly and filled up again.

Never any other trouble with that jeep!

With mixed feelings I checked with that Used car dealer and he said it was up for sale for Rs 1 lac and that he had got it from another dealer, whose number he gave me! I promptly called that other dealer just for fun and was pleasantly surprised that while the RC book shows only three owners, of which I was the second, the vehicle actually has been through atleast 3 owners after me! Amazing the way records are kept!

I prepared to say bye then, after taking a few photos on my mobile camera (attached), though they may not be of the best quality, they will atleast keep the memory alive.

Whatever it is, I was glad to set eyes on my old and trusty steed, even if it was for only a short while and after nearly a decade. An old friend re-visited, is how I d like to think of it!

Then, as I turned to say bye bye, I imagined I saw a heavily lidded wink from the right eye/ headlamp. Giving my old horse a thumbs up signal for the years we shared, and with a sense of deep deja vu, I moved on...
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A sense of Deja Vu - My Dear old Gypsy - An Old Friend Re-encountered-image190.jpg  

A sense of Deja Vu - My Dear old Gypsy - An Old Friend Re-encountered-image191.jpg  

A sense of Deja Vu - My Dear old Gypsy - An Old Friend Re-encountered-image192.jpg  

A sense of Deja Vu - My Dear old Gypsy - An Old Friend Re-encountered-image193.jpg  

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Last edited by shankar.balan : 18th July 2008 at 11:57.
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Old 18th July 2008, 11:57   #2
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wow... that's some great memories attached with this MG410.

BTW, from the pics, I see that
  • The front grill has been changed to the new version
  • The wheel arches are that of the WT version.
This Gypsy still looks mean. Surprised that you are not tempted to buy her back...

Last edited by khan_sultan : 18th July 2008 at 12:17.
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Old 18th July 2008, 12:02   #3
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You should buy her back
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Old 18th July 2008, 12:11   #4
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Wow! What emotions!
These days, very few of us look at cars as a member of our family rather than an A to B transport for X to Y years.
Cheers, Shankar.
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Old 18th July 2008, 12:30   #5
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yep -khan - the gyp still looks pretty mean. Though when I owned him he was an understated sort of chap!

Sptifire - am not sure its such a good idea buying the gyp back, what with the current petrol prices and whatnot!

Nitrous - a car / jeep will always be a family member because I grew up in the '70's and '80's when we were still a protected economy - therefore in those times a car was viewed by us as a lifetime investment. You buy one (preferably new) and keep using it for whatever you need, along with your family, extended family, friends, and over ten -fifteen years, you keep repairing whatever needs to be done to keep it in the best condition as per your affordability levels and over time, the vehicle becomes very much a part of the family. Thats why people used to use the term "family car" - those old values still live in a few of us (definitely on TBHP) and I m glad! In today's world it is too easy to dismiss the vehicle as just a means of getting from A to B and with the choices open to one, it is easy to keep changing too - all of us are prone to this, to some extent. But atleast, it is nice to remember the good times you have had in your old vehicles and keep a small place reserved for those memories.
Luckily so far I ve got photos of every single vehicle I ve owned until now and I treasure them in my own way!
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Old 18th July 2008, 12:36   #6
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Hmmm... shankar.balan I kinda know how you feel buddy.

I wonder where is the poor old (1994) 800 is now and the splendor (1994)
These are the puppies I learned to dirve/ride.

But for now the RXZ will do just fine as the Zen is meditating.
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Old 18th July 2008, 13:10   #7
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Amazing writeup Shankar. It really shows how attached we can be with our vehicles. You seem to have had some really memorable times with that beauty.

For a 20 year old vehicle, she still looks pretty solid. BTW, whats the thingy on the bonnet? Does'nt seem to be an air vent since it appears blocked out from the front.
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Old 18th July 2008, 13:21   #8
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it seems to have been modified for the wider track
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Old 18th July 2008, 13:51   #9
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That write up seriously exuded passion! i can literally visualize what it would have looked like back in the day.
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Old 18th July 2008, 14:00   #10
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Straight from the heart. fantastic write up.
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Old 18th July 2008, 14:01   #11
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What a heart wrenching post. I can understand how you feel Shankar.

When I was very little my dad had a fiat. I was around 5 years then. Dad sold the car and bought a "newer" used fiat which was immaculately maintained. Saw the old one many years later (like 8-10 yrs or so). The guy driving it was a very nice person. Down to earth and very simple and was kind enough, for me to sit in the car for a few minutes. Old memories rushed back.

Anyway back to topic, the gypsy still looks good. You should buy her back if you can.
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Old 18th July 2008, 14:15   #12
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Thats a real touching write-up shankar. Am glad that she was maintained well when you saw her. Imagine how one would feel (I mean the ones who are really attached to their machines and treat them like a member of the family) otherwise.
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