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Old 28th May 2023, 22:16   #1
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Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Hello Team-Bhpians! I hope everyone is doing excellent. As you might have read the title of this thread, you must have realized that I bought my Tata Indica back. At this point, you might be having multiple questions in your mind. Some of the questions could be as follows:

1. Why buy back an old car again?
2. Tata Indica? Seriously? There are so many other options available, so why this one?
3. You could have a bought a nice nimble sporty car, what is the point of driving a car which was never desired by any enthusiast?

Well, many such other questions might have come to your mind. Buying an old car back itself is a rare thing, buying an Indica back itself is something which cannot be digested. In the era of the internet, we shall go back to the days which could be a time travel for many old Bhpians out there. So sit back, relax, and let me take you 20 years back when cars were more than just machines and features.

Time to buy a new car:

So it was 2003 and we were looking for a new car. Our Premier Padmini Deluxe BE had really become outdated and was really not healthy anymore. So we started our search with Fazalboys (used car dealer in Prabhadevi).

There was a beaten up grey Opel Corsa inside the showroom without mirrors. I did not know what we were buying but as a 6 year old kid, I was very excited. The only way to select a car for automotive enthusiast was an automotive magazine. My brother salilpawar1 (team bhp username) who was around 13 years old that time started researching and we finally test drove a Maruti Alto

(We = Me, my elder brother, my dad and mom)

Maruti Suzuki Alto (Vitesse Dealership) - It was a blue Alto LXI with a cracked mirror glass. It was nice and nimble but very cramped for 3 people in the back. My brother was in the middle seat and he got a cramp in his leg because of the limited legroom. We therefore could not finalize on that car.

It was clear that we needed a big car and the options were limited. We had also checked out the Hyundai Santro Xing (but again, it was too narrow)

The unexpected shortlisted car: Tata Indica Petrol

The Tata Indica as we all know, was plagued with issues and had a terrible image to begin with. The popular fanbelt noise was stuck in everyone's mind (including mine) and I could not even imagine us buying that car. But we anyway decided to have a look. So one fine Sunday morning, we visited Wasan Motors at Prabhadevi (now known as Puneet automobiles). Just as we enquired about Indica, the sales rep took us to the car and forced us to have a seat even when we were not really keen on buying the product. But that small step she took turned an enquiry into a customer. It was a limited edition Indica (dealer specific with beige interiors and wooden inserts).

The space at the back was unbelievable for a hatchback. Me, my mom and brother sat comfortably in the back. At that very moment, she declared that we are buying this car. There was a Indica DLE which was one popular variant for those who just wanted the AC and nothing else. The car was bare bones with grey plastics literally in every part of the cabin made the interior look very dull.

After some research from automotive magazines, we came to know about some interesting facts which might not be known to many people even today:
  1. The Petrol Indica was the second fastest hatchback on sale in India with 1405cc engine producing 75 bhp and 110 nm torque just second to the Palio 1.6/S10

  2. Tata Motors stiffened the monocoque chassis and upgraded the brake booster. Some journalists called it the best handling hatchback just second to the Palio
  3. Around the same time, there were articles of the Indica Rally and Indica Sport (which was getting ready for launch) which produced 85 bhp instead of 75.
  4. Most of the major issues were ironed out with the V2 and it only had niggles to deal with.

After test driving the car (which was a very small round of a Sunshine Gold Indica LSI), we had made our choice. My dad and mom also test drove a diesel Indica but they did not like it as the Petrol was a lot more refined and our usage was going to be less.

Booking the Indica
After finalizing our choice, I spent each and every day reading the brochure. My favourite line was 'child safety lock on rear doors'. Mind you, we were upgrading from a Padmini! So each and every feature was out of the world for a 6 yr old me. Following were the highlights:

1. Air conditioning
2. Body coloured bumpers
3. Child Safety Lock on Rear Doors
4. Rear Seatbelts
5. Third stop light had become mandatory by law, but the Indica had it since the Indica 2000 (First Indica MPFI Petrol from Tata) mounted on a subtle spoiler

Choosing the colour was the biggest challenge. We had shortlisted the following colours:

1. Aqua Green
2. Stone Blue
3. Sunshine Gold

We were convinced to book Aqua Green. Later we realized that we were considering 'Mint Blue' as Aqua Green which we immediately rejected and were left a bit disappointed.

Tata Motors used to launch new colours on the Indica every 6 months

Till the booking day, we had still not decided about the colour and we were confused between Stone Blue and Sushine Gold. On the day of booking, we were told that Aqua Green was also discontinued and a new shade was launched on the very same day called 'Coral Green'. The sales rep showed us a painted metal panel. My dad had a gut feeling that this colour was good enough and he booked the car! (This must be around 2nd October)

Details of the booking
Model: Tata Indica LSI Petrol
Colour: Coral Green
Accessories: Fabric Seat Covers, Wheel Caps, Bull Bar, Floor Mats
Expected Delivery Time: 20 days
Price: 3.6 lakh on-road (Cars used to be really cheap back then)

The maximum delivery time was 2-3 days for Indica in 2003. It was a hot selling product and all the dealers had the car ready in stock. So 20 days was a really long wait.. The reason was the newly launched colour which we had chosen.

PDI was done by our entire family and I did not even realize that it was our car. I came to know about that its my car when we left the showroom.

Finally, the day of delivery arrived. 21st October 2003. We bought Ambi Pur from our local accessory shop as we did not know how an air-conditioned car would feel over a period of time. We reached the dealership at 10 am in the morning. The dealership was split in hatchbacks/sedans & MUVs/SUVs. Right in the back side of the dealership which was visible from the entrance, I could see my car standing which was full of dust and bird droppings. A sales advisor asked me to move aside and the bucket washing began! (Fancy or memorable car deliveries was not a thing back in the day)

While we were completing the formalities, the staff was searching for the car keys in a huge tray including spare key with the help of barcode stuck on it. Once all the formalities were done, we got ready for the delivery of the car. There she was, our brand new Tata Indica V2 LSI in Coral Green shade was shining and the paint finish was exemplary. The car had as good as mirror finish. But sadly, the car already had a small scratch on the bumper which we decided to ignore.

We were expecting complete wheel caps but the LSI variant had partial wheel caps which we were not aware of. The dealership drivers used to be a lot rough. The driver spun the wheels in front of us and it was very common for them. All the rituals were done, Ambi Pur was fitted in the AC went and we started our journey with the ownership of our Indica! MH-01-MA-3146

As we approached towards the petrol pump near my residence, the attendant congratulated us (he knew all of us well). After brimming the tank, we realized that the petrol gauge was faulty and would always show 25% less fuel than actual.

Soon, this became my everyday car as my mom used to drop me to school. I still remember our first journey to Pune which was we did in 1 week/month of purchase. Mumbai-Pune Expressway was a terrific road back then with traffic levels upto bare minimum. No traffic signals, no two & three wheelers made the journey blissful. We never liked having tea or coffee brakes and used to travel non-stop. I used to wear seatbelts in the back seat when occupants wearing seatbelts in the front seat was uncommon in the first place.

Attaching the first picture of the car taken on a roll camera (2003/04)
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-bull-bar-indica.jpg

Some pictures clicked in Pune (2004).
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-pune-1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-pune-2.jpg

As Pune was like hometown of Indica, I remember seeing Indica in Pune every 15 seconds. Unlike Mumbai, many of the Indicas sold in Pune were petrol.

Identifying a Petrol Indica:

Exterior:
  1. MPFI 16 bit Microprocessor 75 bhp Sticker on the Boot
  2. Factory fitted spoiler with integrated LED stop-light
  3. Exhaust with chrome tip

Interior:
  1. White Instrumentation
  2. Silver finished central console
  3. Silver Gear Knob

The approach towards the design of Indica was very similar to the Palio as both cars were designed in Italy afterall.

I got a taste of the brutal Indian 2 lane National Highways in the Indica. This was the car when we actually started doing road journeys because of essential features like AC & Power Steering. It used to be a test of the driver and the car as well. Overtaking was not a problem with this car and there was sufficient power and torque at lower revs. The petrol motor used to sound really sweet unlike the diesel motor which was very rough and coarse.

Here is a picture of the car on Mumbai - Agra Highway (NH3) which used to pass from Nashik.
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-nashik-1.jpg

26th July, 2005

The unforgettable Mumbai rains. I was in my school classroom when the weather changed dramatically in 2 hours and within a few minutes, it felt like Mumbai was under some punishment by a natural spirit. Though it was in the afternoon, it felt like 7 pm in night and we could hear the water flowing out of our classroom from the staircase. My mom and brother came to pick me up in Indica. My school was just around 2 kms from my house but it took almost 2 to 3 hours to get home. This time, the Indica earned my respect. There were multiple smaller hatchbacks, and luxury sedans stalled and awaiting help, but our Indica sailed through the floods. In some portions, the water level was upto the fender indicator but the car did not stall through the floods.

The car did stall near my house after driving it through floods for a long time. But within 5-10 minutes, the car started and reached home.

Just within a couple of days, the car's clutch was completely burnt and was barely moving. We knew that this was the aftermath of the floods. The bull bar was removed as the car had to be towed to Wasan Motors workshop and the car was back to normal after clutch change.

Rusty Exhaust
Petrol Indicas had a chronic problem of exhaust rusting within 2 years. Water dripping from the exhaust during cold starts would eat up the exhaust. We replaced the exhaust twice in 2005 (under warranty) & 2007. In 2007, we installed an aftermarket exhaust which was a lot better in quality than the OE.

My brother started driving!
Salilpawar1 happens to be my elder brother who is also a teambhpian. He turned 18 in 2007 and started to drive this car. As die-hard car enthusiasts, we started to explore this car mechanically. Salil learnt his driving basics from this car and we often used to go for a spin at Worli Seaface mostly in the afternoon as there used to be no traffic and no traffic signals as well. Doing silly speeds was really possible on this short stretch of road. Apart from the ghastly unpainted speed-breaker which every new driver used to miss, there were no other surprises. The car had jumped the speedbreaker at 80-90 kph but the Indica did not lose its composure at all. Indica was known to be a rock steady car and I got my first experience that time.

Also, the car was restored cosmetically in 2007 when all the dents were repaired and installed new taillights along with new badges.

A few pictures clicked in Nashik in 2007
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Some pictures clicked in 2007-08 at Worli Seaface
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Time for a Free-Flow Exhaust
The Indica was now entering its 5th year. Good quality modifications were now accessible to the enthusiasts, Team Bhp was relatively new which meant more exposure towards the community. With the help of Viper Performance (run by Jignesh Goradia), the Indica finally had a full custom exhaust right from the headers to the tip (execution by BAR Exhaust - Afzal). It was a perfect mixture of bass and treble. The Indica was now a head turner. We even upgraded to twin horn (130 db) from our neighboring accessories shop.

Petrol Indicas were rare. Speeding ones were rarer. Free flow'd ones were non-existent

Pictures of the new exhaust clicked in 2008
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Some miscellaneous details
  • The car was always serviced at Tata Service Centre during our ownership
  • Tata Motors could never fix the fuel gauge
  • The broken AC panel was awaiting replacement in warranty but the part never arrived
  • The car never failed to start in our ownership which used to be a concern with Indicas
  • No fanbelt noise ever apart from rainy season occasionally
  • The first battery survived for 7 years. Alternator once developed a issue which was not charging the battery which was then repaired
  • In our period of ownership, we only used Speed Petrol from day 1
  • Our Indica was the 7th or 8th car to run on the Bandra-Worli Sealink. Salil had lined up the car in the morning in the queue to experience it. There were a lot of media photographers towards the end. My car might have been in multiple newspapers as well

Picture of broken AC Panel which went on becoming worse
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-ac-panel-broken.jpg

The reason behind the AC panel breaking was because of the AC moisture getting trapped in the panel which weakened the brittle plastic over time

Images of the first sea-link run early morning
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A few more pictures of the car in 2010 with young me in the frame as well! Co-incidentally, this was the last year when the car was driven out of Mumbai (to Nasik)
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-m1.jpg
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Exterior Battle scars

From 2012, my brother started daily driving this car to his college in the suburbs and that is when our Indica did not remain the cleanest anymore. The car now had battle scars at multiple places, rear Tata Monogram got stolen in Bandra, and the headlamps were also replaced as one of the headlights broke because of a scooter rider who hit the car from the wrong side at a traffic signal. Now, the original non-clearlens lamps were not available anymore and we had to settle for clearlens once which were sold locally costing Rs. 2,500/-

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-h1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-h2.jpg

Last edited by 300 KMPH : 31st May 2023 at 23:36.
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Old 28th May 2023, 22:42   #2
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re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Final days with the Indica

During the final year of the ownership, our car was actually neglected cosmetically as there were a lot more important things going on. I shifted to Nasik for education in late 2012 and my brother continued using the car. Only, the last service was done locally as no one had the time to visit the service centre.

We threw the original fabric seat covers as they were completely out of shape and the car also had a couple of dents and a lot more scratches. February 2013 was the last time I had a spin in the car and I did not even realize that it was the last. We then booked the Volkswagen Vento TDI in exchange of the Indica as agreed with Volkswagen Downtown Mumbai (Prabhadevi) run by the Shaman Group.

Though I was happy about the new booking, I was also mentally devastated about the fact that the Indica will now be sold soon. Some final pics clicked by Salil at Seaface.
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-final1.jpg
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Last day of ownership

24th March 2013 was the last day of ownership. Salilpawar1 called up an old pal Hrishikesh Dixit (@dhrishikesh on TeamBhp) and they went for a last spin at Worli Seaface. A last video of the exhaust note was shot on Samsung Galaxy Grand (HD video). Refer YouTube link below.



In the evening, the car was driven to the Volkswagen Dealership, my family did small rituals and handed over the car and requested the dealership staff to find a deserving buyer for the car who would take care. It was a happy farewell and a sincere thank you to the Indica for serving us soo well by being an integral part of our family. Odometer stood at approx 43,000 kms. As I was not in town, I saw the pictures on email and I convinced myself that this car is now gone and I would never ever see it in my life again.

The car getting delivered to Volkswagen Downtown Mumbai
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-b1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-b2.jpg

Beginning of the Hunt!

In 2013 rains, my dad got a SMS on his phone that the car is ready after servicing for delivery from Wasan Motors Service Centre. At that time, I came to know that my car has been sold in Mumbai and was still serviced at the same service centre.

Vahan Services were just getting introduced. Earlier, one could get basic ownership details through an SMS service and it was showing my dad as the owner, indicating that the car was not transferred. I assumed that the car was not sold yet and might be looking for a buyer. Upto 6-8 months, bhpians dhrishikesh and Cyrus43 had spotted my car in Shivaji Park and Parsi Colony which made me convince that the car was here to stay in Mumbai.

In 2014, I checked Vahan website to know the owner of the car and there was a new update. The website said NOC issued to Akola. Now this was clear that the car has left Mumbai and has gone to Akola to its next owner. However, the new ownership details never reflected.

In 2018, the car was due for fitness and re-registration. Somebody in small town updating papers of the Indica would have not been possible so I felt that the car would now get scrapped or move to its next owner and the papers will never get updated. To my surprise, I saw all the documents updated including the new Owner's Name, PUC and even Insurance! All the documents were up to date which meant the car was running. However, I had no idea of the condition and alterations done on the car over the years as most of the Indicas I had seen had the most horrible modifications and accessories one could ever see.

Preservations
The updated documents on the server really had reactivated the Indica in my mind once again and I started digging out all the things which I had kept with me in connection with the Indica. I believe the file of the service records was disposed by us, but things like old badges, a few stickers, owner's manual, brand new unused spare keys, seat belts cushions were still kept with me safely in my cupboard.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-manual.jpg

Time to rely on tech and social networking

I was now feeling confident and was hell bent on searching the car. This time I used the traditional methods like posting on Facebook, whatsapp and on Instagram. I found the owner and his family members on Facebook messaged all of them multiple times. No one seemed to be active on any social networking websites so the messages were left unread. A few enthusiasts also told me on how I am disturbing the new owners and also told me that I am not getting any responses because they do not want to be troubled by me. Instead of arguing, I took down the post and continued my search.

Lockdown

It was now lockdown and as always, I kept on searching all the online portals in the hope that I would come upon an advertisement of my car for sale. Many cars were sold in that period and many were bought as well. But still, I could never see any advertisement of my Indica. There were no challans as well on the car. One of the members of a Delhi based automotive whatsapp group managed to find out the residential address of the new owner. But again, the address was not specific as many local postmen and courier delivery employees deliver parcels just by reading the name of the recipient.

After the end of lockdown, I once again checked Vahan and the documents were not updated for a long time. This time I feared that car would have been abandoned, sold or would have got scrapped. But after lockdown was completely lifted, all the papers got updated yet again! The owner was way too particular and updating papers of a car with no resale value was respectable IMO.

2023, its now or never..

MH-01-MA-3146 was now getting 20 years old. Years passed by too quickly, and now I was being somewhat desperate. I could see a few of my friends buying old cars, restoring them and trying to replicate their childhood days as they had similar models back in the day. I had a thought that it would be super cool to put money in my own car than buying someone else's Indica and putting money into it for the sake of memories.

Permutations and Combinations

One fine day in February 2023, I was really determined and decided to find the details of the owner any how. I visited the trusty parivahan website and again went through all the details of the car. I realized that chassis number & engine number is must if any detail needs to be checked. I quickly referred my owner's manual which I had kept with me. After some combinations, logical reasoning and with the help of YouTube, I could not believe my eyes.. The website finally reflected all the details of the owner including the contact number. I immediately took a screenshot and decided to go full throttle.

Co-incidentally, it was 14th February 2023 - Valentine's Day (8:57 pm)

I experienced Anxiety
On the same day, I called on that number and a girl who was sounding like someone under 10 yrs of age received the call. She was not ready to transfer the phone to anyone and did not allow me to talk as such. It was clear that she was a kid and was enjoying everything. It was not even clear if the phone number was with the same person. However, I had not given up.

The next morning, I again called up the number and that is when someone elderly received the call. I asked the elderly lady to connect me with the owner and she politely did. I asked, "Sir, do you own the Indica with the number MH-01-MA-3146?". He instantly replied YES! It was confirmed that I had reached the right person and finally I am going to get the closure which I had been looking for over the past decade. Casually, I asked if he was interested to sell the car without giving any background and he immediately said YES! The gentleman gave me his other contact number and also promised to send me photos of the car in next 2 days. Overwhelmed with joy, I was happy and convinced that this car was meant for me.

Within a few minutes, I received another call from his daughter-in-law who was based from Pune and started interrogating me as she was not really convinced on what was happening. I gladly shared details of me and the car including the due dates of the validity of the documents of the car. However, she was still not entirely convinced and asked me various reasons on why was I interested on the car. But she told me that her husband (car owner's son) will contact me soon.

The next day late evening, I got a call from Mr. Swapnil (owner's son). The gentleman calmly asked me about my interest on the Indica. As I explained him the entire story, he appreciated my attachment with the vehicle. After I completed my long story, he told me that the car is exactly in the same condition and they have not altered anything. (This was a big relief as it meant that the car was fully original just the way we had left it). The car was in good proper working condition until lockdown when the deterioration had started. Problems stated by him were:
  1. AC was not working due to gas leak
  2. Car had starting issues

The car was driven last in 2022 Diwali and was not driven after that. Actually, it seemed that the car was hardly driven since lockdown. Mr. Swapnil and his family had shifted to Pune but his parents used to occasionally visit Akola and the Indica used to be there parked in their bungalow. He even confirmed that the car even had the original upholstery along with the same free flow exhaust which we had fitted. Fluids were changed annually and filters were cleaned as and when it required. I requested the pictures of the car and he asked me for some time.

First Glimpse after 10 years!
My sleep cycle was disturbed, I could not think of anything else apart from my car. And finally on 17th February, Mr. Swapnil shared the pictures of the car clicked in Diwali 2022.
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The car appeared fully tired and it looked like it needed group up restoration. It was covered in dust. But, I could see the original upholstery and the original floor mats. The car now had a music system and a steering cover.

After a few days, I even got hold of 2 videos seeing the engine run and a walkaround video of the car which was showing the true condition of the car. I could see some damages at a couple of spots and a couple of dents were repaired as well. The odometer was standing at 57,000 kms which was genuine as confirmed by the owner.

Buying process - Relying on nothing but Trust

I decided to go ahead and purchase this car. I talked with the owner, fixed upon a price and paid almost 90% of the agreed price. The owner got the papers ready for me and he couriered them to me. Immediately, I sent the papers for transfer of ownership.

Though the car was in running condition, I did not take any risk of driving it down from Akola to Mumbai (almost 600 kms) and decided to hire a container to transport the car. As I could not find any good transporter, I found one online without any google reviews but just a phone number based in Gurugram. Based on my gut feeling, I transferred him the money online.

Asit Kulkarni (asit.kulkarni93 on Team Bhp)

Me and Asit used to talk a lot on Instagram. He runs a workshop named Sai Car Clinic and I used to see his posts and his work. I did notice that he has worked on multiple Tata cars and a handful of Indicas as well. I told him about the entire story and he was much more excited than me to restore this car. I told him that its a 1.4L 75 bhp motor and he asked me to cancel the plan to transport the vehicle and was insisting to drive it back to Pune at his workshop. I was not willing to take that risk and I was sticking to my plan.

Last edited by 300 KMPH : 31st May 2023 at 23:23.
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Old 31st May 2023, 20:37   #3
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re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Journey to Akola

We met midway in Nasik (co-incidentally, for the first time as well) and started towards Akola at 3:30 am in my 2021 Honda Amaze CVT Diesel which was a great mile muncher. The journey towards Akola was fantastic as we had to use Samruddhi Mahamarg which is dead straight with no turns at all. We were at high speeds but within the limit for multiple hours. With just 1 break we were about to reach Akola within 6 hours.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-amaze.jpeg
Me (in the green Shirt) and Asit in the frame
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As we were approaching Akola, I was very excited and nervous at the same as I was not having any idea what to expect. Yes, I had seen images and videos but anything can happen in reality. As we reached near the address, I called up the owner and he guided us towards the exact location of his bungalow.

We entered a narrow lane, the owner said he spotted us. I was still not able to see him. As Asit approached the lane, I could see a small green panel reflecting sunlight back in my eyes, and I knew what it was

First Visual Glimpse of my car after 10 years (26th March 2023)
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-g1.jpg

Reunited with the Indica
The gentleman welcomed us with a sweet smile and invited us to his lovely home for breakfast and handed me over the key of the car. My brain had frozen that time. I was out of words, and I could not hear anything what people around me were saying as I was constantly scanning the car visually. Here are the first clear photographs clicked by me.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-ig1.jpg
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I attempted starting my Indica, but the engine would not just fire up. I needed multiple attempts to start the car. It took almost 10 minutes to finally fire the car up and I finally heard the 1.4L motor roaring to life. But as soon as I used the throttle, the car would badly misfire and would just stall.

Asit asked me to rev it gradually which allowed the car to move but we took almost 10 minutes to just move the car out of the bungalow. At this point, I just asked Asit to drive the car to nearest petrol pump as I could not handle it. The car was badly misfiring, completely jerking and was showing very high resistance to accelerate. We someone how reached the petrol pump which was just a few metres away and filled the car up.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-ig6.jpg

The Indica was working so badly that we immediately again drove the car home. I asked 100 questions to Asit to which he did not reply because he was trying to identify the malfunctioning behaviour of the car. We drove the car back to the owner's home. After inspecting the engine bay, Asit told me that there are issues with the fuel and throttle body of the car and its respective sensors.

The owner's son gave us the contact number of the mechanic and called him home. He diagnosed and told that the car will be drivable if we change the ignition coil cable. At the same time, the transporter called me and said he would not be able to reach on time and would reach Akola by 10 pm instead! The promised time was 10 am by him earlier.

Situation was so bad that me and Asit were cracking jokes on the whole fiasco and could not think of anything more going wrong. I asked Asit, "you were going to drive the car to Pune right?". It would have been disastrous for us.

We decided to drive the misfiring car to the workshop which was 15 minutes away. In the meantime, I completed all the formalities with the owner. The owner's wife was very emotional as she said that this Indica was their very first car and they really loved the car no matter how it was. The car was under their surveillance for 10 years and there came a person who was taking the car back home. But we still clicked a mandatory delivery picture. Even in that situation, I was very happy that I reunited with my car.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-d1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-d2.jpg
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Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-d4.jpg

After we drove the car to the workshop, it took around 35-40 minutes to change the ignition coil cable and we took a test drive. The car now reaching speeds upto 60-80 kph but it was still misfiring crazily and the engine was heating a lot quicker than it should as the engine fan had gone erratic with its functioning. The container was about to reach Akola on Samruddhi Mahamarg at 10 pm, it was not really possible for us to wait that long. We had now made the car atleast drivable to the highway which was around 45 kms from Akola City.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-repair.jpg

As Asit was in this industry since a long time and had the ability to identify honest mechanics, he asked me to handover the key to the mechanic and suggested me to ask him to drop the car on the highway. I almost blindly followed his suggestion because there was no other alternative. The mechanic assured me that he would drop the car to the container and he took full responsibility of co-operating with him. I paid some advance and told him that I will transfer the money after he loads the car on the container. The honest mechanic said that there is no need of any advance, I am going to ensure that your car is loaded safely.

The smiling mechanic with the Indica

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-smile.jpg

Finally, me and Asit had lunch and proceeded towards Nasik back again. We completed the journey safely and I reached Nasik at 8 pm. As soon as I reached home, I got whatsapp notifications from the mechanic and he had sent me the detailed coverage on how he loaded the car on the truck successfully. I immediately transferred him the money and thanked him.

Some pictures of the Indica while being loaded on the truck

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-t1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-t2.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-t3.jpg

Problem in Pune

The container successfully reached Pune at 2pm. The driver called me and reported a problem that the car is refusing to start and cannot be driven. The driver somehow managed to reverse the car back out of the container by pushing it. I immediately informed Asit who and he arranged a tow truck after a lot of effort and got the car towed to his workshop at around 5pm in the evening. That was when all my tensions regarding transportation ended as the car was now safe in his workshop.

My Indica at Sai Car Clinic

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-scc.jpeg

Restoration Begins

Now the real challenge had started. Making this Indica Petrol run was very challenging as the car was as good as dead. I had completely relied on Asit and I had done some preliminary research that petrol Indica parts are still available in Pune. In fact, any part ordered from any Tata service centre comes from Pune stock itself as there are hardly any dealers stocking Indica parts in 2023.

Asit diagnosed multiple issues but the main culprit was the fuel pump, throttle body sensors and bad wiring which was not allowing the car to run properly. As soon as Asit swapped the fuel pump, the car was alive and would start in first crank!

I am now simply copy-pasting Sai Car Clinic's detailed mechanical restoration description of the Indica as follows:

• The car was towed to our workshop from the Pimpri Chinchwad truck yard

• Considering the way it was cranking and the fuel pump not pumping enough fuel, we arranged for a replacement fuel pump and the car started immediately but wasn't drivable

• The power delivery was very snappy and the car would misfire at times with a check engine error. Upon scanning, there were two errors around the throttle body and coolant circuit

• A replacement throttle body was procured and the car was made drivable

• The fan would stay on barely 20 seconds into the drive. The coolant circuit error was due to the wiring issues which had directed the fan. The wiring was sorted and the temperature sensor for the coolant was ordered

• We found the Clutch and timing belt worn out. The AC wasn’t working and AC leakage was diagnosed from the compressor which was replaced

• Timing kit, water pump, clutch assembly with bearing, all hoses and the thermostat body was ordered. Most parts procured were OE Tata parts. We found the flywheel in not in its best shape. Initial plan was to skim it but we just decided to stick it to the usual polish paper treatment.

• All the parts were installed and leakages were checked. The Aux belts were replaced too along & the tappets were setup

• The engine mounts meanwhile were ordered too. The Engine mount A and C were replaced.

• The struts had lost their strength but there was no noise as such from the car. We decided to replace all the four strut assemblies and replace the front lower arm as it was rusted. The rear lower arm bushes were replaced as well

• Goodyear stock replacement tyres were procured and installed on the car along with wheel alignment and Balancing.

• We replaced the refurbished axles alongwith new oil seals during delivery

Some pics of the restoration (not in order)
Attached Thumbnails
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1681484623204.jpg  

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Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1681484623187.jpg  

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1681484623176.jpg  


Last edited by 300 KMPH : 31st May 2023 at 20:38.
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Old 31st May 2023, 21:55   #4
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re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

More pics (continued)

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536638.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536632.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536625.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536620.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536614.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536606.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536602.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536598.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1680961536593.jpg

Asit said that the car would be ready by 18th April 2023. Excited me immediately travelled to Pune early morning and I went with Asit to his workshop (First Visit to Asit's workshop ever)

We went for a small round around the workshop. The power delivery was snappy which Asit fixed as the problem was diagnosed to be one bad sensor.
I could finally hear the crazy Viper Performance Exhaust. Modern engines do not sound so good and aftermarket exhausts sound trebly on them. But this mod came from a time when the engines sounded really throaty and the custom exhaust just sounded the way it used to 10 years ago..


Journey Back to Mumbai

It was now time for the most awaited moment of my life.. driving the Indica back home to Mumbai from Pune. This was the first time I was experiencing the Indica as a driver. The truly impressive bits were the bottom end torque and the suspension. I had always been hearing that the Indica was a horrible car to drive, but I was rather enjoying it. Also, I was looking at it more towards it as a time machine. Back then it was just a car, now it had become a sentimental monument for me filled with memories. The car was accelerating, braking, handling really well. The air-conditioning was chilling me in peak summer hours, the car was working the way it should have been.
Our Indica finally entered Mumbai once again

Some pictures from Pune return trip

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-p1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-p2.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-p3.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-p4.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-p5.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-p6.jpg

I finally reached Mumbai in the evening without any incident and in total comfort, I was hardly tired. The car did the journey without any hiccups and I was mightily impressed. Now my plan was to use the car for 15-20 days to check for any issues and later send it to Asit for a respray.

Some pictures taken by my friends (Aadesh and Nikhil) outside Tata Motors showroom from where we had taken delivery of the same car 20 years ago. Nostalgic.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-mm.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-mm.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-mm.jpg

The Indica's first fill up in Mumbai after 10 years was on the same petrol pump where we had filled her up brand new in 2003. The same attendant still works there and he filled up the Indica yet again. I did not have a camera back then, but today I had the opportunity to capture the moment!

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1685546976157.jpg

While driving down from Pune, the free-flow exhaust felt a bit too loud at triple digit speeds and was unbearable. So I decided to the visit the oldest exhaust experts, Automech!

But before visitng Automech, I visited Viper Performance at Colaba once again just to show Mr. Jignesh this Indica yet again.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-1682757082016.jpg

Now Viper mostly does premium cars, he was humble enough to take this Indica project and make it unique back in 2008. As per Viper, the muffler had now become hollow and it was a bit too loud.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-aa1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-aa2.jpg

I went to Automech and told Mr. Vivek Bhatt that I wanted to retain the free-flow but in a silent form. The experts knew what I wanted and immediately began their work. Within a few hours, the exhaust was refitted and the car now very much silent and close to stock. It was now still fast but a lot more silent. There was marginal improvement in the performance as well because the old exhaust had a lot of rusty bits inside hampering the flow.

The steel rims were leaking, out of shape and rusted. I could not source brand new steelies and had to settle for alloys. I wanted to stick to 13 inch alloys itself but the weird PCD of the Indica (108) had very limited options. I was not very keen on putting wheels from scrapyard because my priority was to put brand new parts as much as possible.

So I shortlisted a design from Bombay Tyres and installed Onyx Rims which slightly had an old school vibe in the design. I wanted to have steelies, but one cannot have everything.

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-w1.jpg
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Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-w5.jpg

A Before-After Image in our residential parking

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-befaft.jpg

There were small niggling issues to be reported, but I drove the car for more than 500 kms and the car ran reliably without any breakdowns. It was now time to drive it back to Pune for a respray and for a new challenge of cosmetic parts of type 1 Indica!

Last edited by 300 KMPH : 31st May 2023 at 23:51.
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Old 31st May 2023, 23:17   #5
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Driving back to Pune for a respray

I started for Pune early in the morning. The roads were pretty empty but it was a Saturday and I had a fear of lonavala mountain pass. And as expected, google maps was indicating a 50 minutes delay. But I had no other alternative other than facing the brutal traffic in the intense heat.

Since the Indica is flat from both the sides, overtaking vehicles in start-stop traffic was a breeze and it was very much possible to squeeze the car through tight gaps. I saw much newer and modern cars breaking down mostly because of overheating of engine, dual clutch gearbox and riding the clutch eventually burning it. The Indica was flying on the expressway as I had driven around 500 kms in Mumbai which freed up the engine to some extent. Thankfully, my 20 years old Indica sailed through the traffic without an issue and completed the journey successfully to Sai Car Clinic.

Few pics from Mumbai to Pune

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-r1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-bd1.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-bd2.jpg
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-steer.jpg

As the car is now getting overcoated, you can refer the following links of some YouTube videos







Some older YouTube videos uploaded by Salilpawar1





Miscellaneous
  1. The Indica was a retirement gift to the owner by his son
  2. The second owner maintained all the insurance policy copies and PUC copies right from his year of purchase (2013)
  3. My Indica was sharing its garage with a Safari Storme and a XUV 700
  4. Apart from the music system and steering cover, there were no alterations as such in the car. Even the horn wasn't touched

Though my car was a part of multiple posts on Team-Bhp, here is one thread by Salilpawar1 which I found

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/stree...eeper-car.html (What makes Tata Indica 1.4 Petrol, India's Ultimate Sleeper Car !)

Pictures of my car used after the production came to an end in a small article:

https://www.carandbike.com/news/tata...an-end-1856954

I am yet to thank people and share other multiple things on Team-Bhp regarding the Indica. However, I will share that after the restoration is complete. Stay Tuned!

Last edited by 300 KMPH : 31st May 2023 at 23:20.
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Old 1st June 2023, 09:36   #6
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

What a lovely post. Took me back to my childhood days of the Premier Padmini and my very first car Opel Corsa Sail. Not sure where and in which condition that car would be.

And what was the reaction of your family specially your parents? Do let us know.

Also can you please share Asit's contact details (with his permission)?

Congratulations to you for successfully achieving your dream.

Regards
Nikhil
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Old 1st June 2023, 09:42   #7
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Will go to our homepage tomorrow, thanks for sharing .

A thread straight from the heart. Especially enjoyed seeing the old pictures of how Bombay was so many years ago. The picture quality , 1st-gen Citys & Ikons & Zens on the road, how beautiful the Worli Seaface was then (all the construction has destroyed it today)...
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Old 1st June 2023, 13:51   #8
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Superb efforts to search and get back your Petrol Indica, super glad that Asit was part of restoration. My Innova visits his clinic for regular servicing.
What was odo reading when you got it back?
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Old 1st June 2023, 14:51   #9
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Those were the days when each car had a character of its own. Really enjoyed your write up and not to mention the pictures of other erstwhile beautiful cars in background like the Ikon, Zen, Esteem/1000 etc. Now one will relate to the first line I wrote.

Back in the year 1998, when the Indica was launched, it was a very fresh design and since we were also on the look out for our new car (graduating from a Fiat 1100D), I was really keen on it. However, the petrol car was soon discontinued after launch and diesel was not our cup of tea. Petrol was re-introduced (your car's model) but by then we had settled with Zen, which is happily still with me serving faithfully for more than 20 years now and it went a mid-life refresh in 2016.
I have documented it here: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techn...storation.html (A Tribute to my Dad - Maruti Zen Restoration)

Really enjoyed reading how you traced your car and I can well imagine what kind of feeling and satisfaction it would have been for you. Also liked the restoration part where Asit took care of everything mechanical. Just like you, I had a companion in Shashi (Leoshashi on TBHP) who took care of the minutest details while restoring my car. I am thankful to have such a petrol head by my side who admires cars the way only he can. My Zen still looks & runs beautifully, reaches triple digit speeds briskly and smoothly. Above all, it has been super reliable over all these 21years of the ownership. Never failed to start in the first crank during all these years, if you can believe it. The only issue is the AC which runs on now defunct R-12 gas and needs a solution.

Overall a great story to tell and a very engaging thread of a car from the most loved era when beautiful automobiles like Ikon, Astra, Ford Escort, Palio, Uno, Zen, Esteem, Baleno Sedan used to rule the roads.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 1st June 2023 at 14:56.
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Old 1st June 2023, 21:07   #10
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Quote:
Originally Posted by 300 KMPH View Post
I am yet to thank people and share other multiple things on Team-Bhp regarding the Indica. However, I will share that after the restoration is complete. Stay Tuned!
What a lovely ownership log buddy! Straight from the heart. Petrol 1.4 Indica was love. It was quite reliable for us as well. There are quite a few points where I can relate straight away.

1. We too(My uncle bought brand new and later we bought from him) had an Indica Petrol 1.4 Lsi. I was involved in buying process and almost all the small and big road trips.
2. January 2003 manufactured and bought in April 2003. I took it out from showroom.
3. Did our first Road trip to Shirdi in it from Bhilai around 900 kms one way.
4. Indica was made for long trips with its amazing independent suspension which smoothens things nicely. Steering felt too light though.


Regarding car,
1. It costed us around 3.29 lacs for the Lsi variant.
2. The sales guy gave us a thorough test drive of car. We too were actually amazed to see the enormous amount of space in a hatchback.
3. The horn pad area of steering wheel aged very badly for us as well. I tried looking for spare part but wasnít successful.
4. Fuel gauge danced like there is no tomorrow, especially when it neared the Empty mark.
5. Silencer rust- We were so naive(unaware of warranty concept on cars)that we never visited TASS to get this replaced under warranty. Got it repaired/replaced multiple times from FNG.
6. We sold Indica after keeping it for 15.5 years due to shortage of parking space and no usage.

A strange coincidence- In one of your pic where you are transporting car from Akola to Pune, a Creta which is on upper berth is having a Chhattisgarh registration(CG04-Raipur). Ours had a Bhilai number (CG-07)

A funny experience while buying Indica

When we went to check out the car, we all liked the car. Now, the sales guy sensed this and went all out to seal the deal.

During conversation he came to know that, both, my uncle and aunt, work for nationalised institutions. He was so confident on getting his money that he delivered the vehicle to us on the basis of booking amount itself. It took a week or so to get the loan formalities done and complete the payment.

Compare this with current scenario where even after paying full money you might have to wait before getting your dream drive.

Few pics of our Indica-

The identifier- Mpfi sticker albeit torn
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-photo20180827082810.jpeg

55555 km milestone in its 15th year
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-img_5823.jpeg

Parked my Indica in delivery bay during delivery of our Tiago XZA
Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-img_5843.jpeg


Thanks for refreshing the memories!
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Old 2nd June 2023, 09:42   #11
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

This is a heart-touching story. I was glued to the screen the entire time. Glad you could link up together again.
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Old 2nd June 2023, 09:55   #12
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

The good old Indica, was our second car and the first new car we bought in the family. Ours was the 1.2 which got in Jan 2008 and did our first long drive in car in May 2008 to Kerala. The carís most interesting feature was its dual operating engine temperature reading where with the AC on the temperature gauge would be at the quarter mark and without it at the halway mark.

We had the car till 2014 and sold it for 65k (bought it for 3.3 OTR after discount) with 26k kms on the ODO. Despite low miles since it was a Petrol Indica it was a challenge to get a buyer and the best we got was from Honda dealership ironically from where we got our Brio as its replacement.

Hope youíre Indica serves you well for more years to come

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-137139d3c87346c6b931bd3fc23eecce.jpeg

Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade-5cc4032665d54f7d947989aa83cc1854.jpeg
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Old 2nd June 2023, 10:25   #13
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

to your passion in looking for the car, getting it back and restoring it. Hope you are able to retain and enjoy for the years to come!

My first experience with Indica petrol was somewhere around 2003 or 04. It was fast, it was smooth, it was spacious, it was beautiful! Loved those white dials and the deep exhaust note. In comparison, the interiors of the diesel Indica looked blant.

My father's friend went to buy an Indica which was a rage those days. When he heard of the petrol one and some discounts running, he squeezed out some more and got a white petrol LSi. His point was that the petrol one was 50k cheaper(IIRC) which he can use to fill the costlier petrol and it would take years to break even the difference. Later he complained about the low FE and used to take his Sumo/Scorpio wherever possible. He held on to it for 10-15 years and finally exchanged it for a Swift.

Last edited by ashis89 : 2nd June 2023 at 10:29.
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Old 2nd June 2023, 11:06   #14
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Hats off to your Passion and the efforts taken to find the 'Car'. I have driven my relative's Indica Petrol GLS. Space is great and it was good to drive in city as well as highway. Congratulations to you and wishes for the renewed ownership.
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Old 2nd June 2023, 11:24   #15
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Re: Homecoming: Bringing our family's 2003 Tata Indica back home after a decade

Very heart touching and gave me a heavy dose of nostalgia since we used to have the MY2006 Indica DLS with us back then. It was our first diesel car and oh man the amount of cabin space it had was unmatched back then at least not from same segment.

We sold it off 7 years and 1.4 Lakh Kilometers later on the ODO; a load of road trip memories.
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