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Old 2nd October 2019, 17:14   #1
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Default The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

There are cars and then there are legends. This is the story of one such legend. This is the story of a car owned by my Late Grandfather. The car was purchased in January 1973 when I was not yet born. The car has remained with us ever since then for the last 46 years maintained by my grandfather for the first 10 years and then by my father for the remaining 36 years.

Hence this write up will be for the most part a narration of events and experiences as recalled by my father. Get ready for a time travel journey as I unveil the legend.

Here is a look at the Legend, the 1973 Premier President:
The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-01.cover.jpg
1973 Premier President - The Legend in 2019

Let me start with a bit of history as this car as I may put it is indeed a Historical Figure. The 1973 Premier President was not the first car owned by my grandfather. Prior to the President, he owned 5 other cars and here are names of the brands in sequential order. My father does not have an exact recollection of the years in which these cars were purchased and also in some cases the specific model but here is a listing.


1. Pre-Owned Austin (1953): (Color: Black) This was the first car owned by my grand-father. At this point of time my grandfather was located in Sagara in the Western Ghats as a Sub Division Officer near to the famous Jog Falls. Below is a picture of how the car looked like - the car with the number plate visible and second in the queue is the one. I managed to find a picture of only the rear view of the car.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-car_pic_03.png
The Austin - Waiting to cross River Sharavathi

My father remembers multiple trips made to Jog Falls from Sagara to Jog in this car. A mechanic used to travel all the way from Shimoga to Sagara a journey of close to 100 kms at that time and used to pass through tiger reserve for the upkeep of the car. These were the middle school days of my Dad. He also remembers a trip to Hirebhaskara Dam in the Austin car and the car got stuck in sludge and had to be brought out with great difficulty. Today, Hirebhaskara Dam is submerged within the larger Linganamakki Dam. My father also remembers that this is the car in which his mother (my Late Grandmother) also learnt to drive. Must appreciate how forward thinking my grandfather was in the 1950's

2. Pre-Owned Morris Eight : (Color: Black) My father learnt driving with this car and by this time they had moved to Bangalore and were located in 1st Block Jayanagar, Bangalore. There was no formal training in those days. He just observed his father drive and picked up driving. My father and his elder brother (my late uncle) used to note down how many miles each person had clocked and used to outdo each other with this car. My father also recollects an incident when they drove the Morris Eight all the way till Chamundi hills, Mysore and the car struggled to climb the hill and got heated up after just a few bends. So they had to let the car cool down there itself and had to go up the hills in a different car. By the time they came down from the hills, the car was back to normal and they were able to drive back all the way to Bangalore without any further issues. For people familiar with Bangalore, these were days when the roads in 1st Block and 2nd Block Jayanagar were not yet tarred and there were mud roads. The only stretch that had some form of tarmac was from Vijaya College Main till South End Circle.

3. Pre-Owned Vauxhall Model Unknown: (Color: Black) The next car was a preowned Vauxhall. The Vauxhall as well as the earlier 2 cars all had one thing in common all the three had mechanical brakes and required manual cranking. My father remembers that the Vauxhall car used to give very less mileage. The resale value for the Vauxhall was not good and it was sold at a lower price. By the time they had the Vauxhall they had moved to 2nd Block Jayanagar.

4. Pre-Owned Standard Pennant:(Color: Green) This was a very good car which gave a lot better mileage as compared to the Vauxhall and the ownership was fuss free. This was the first car in this series which did not require manual crank start. My father remembers that this car was sold after the Fiat Delight was purchased and in fact they got a selling price higher than the original buying price for the Pennant. The on-demand repairs were done at a Car Repair Center on Kasturba Road.

5. New: Fiat Delight: (Color: White) The first brand new car acquired by my grand father was the Fiat Delight. The remaining four cars called out till here were all pre-owned. The tallest person in the below picture is my Grandfather.

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Fiat Delight - Car in the Front


6. New: 1973 Premier President: (Color: Green Lagoon) The Premier President was again a brand-new car and was purchased in January 1973. Below picture shows the 1973 Premier President when it had just reached home on Day 01 after Registration. As can be seen the the temporary number plate was made of card board. The person in the below picture is my Dad in Jan 1973.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-car_pic_01.png
1973 Premier President - The Legend

Prior to buying this car, my Grandfather had served as a General Manager at K.S.R.T.C. and that is also one of the reasons that the special number of 200 was allocated. At the time of taking delivery of this car he was Director, Social Welfare and retired in the same position. Few more pictures of the 1973 President that I could locate from old dusty albums - not sure of the location or year.

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1973 President - My Grandfather and Uncle are seen


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1973 President - Additional Photo


I curiously asked my father why the Day 01 Picture was taken in color and the later once switched back to Black & White. His answer was that B&W films were inexpensive and the number of people who would process B&W Photos were also more. Now, let me briefly switch context from my father's narration to my own - I do have a lot of childhood memories with this car. In those days, the car was used as a people carrier and when I say people carrier it was so to the extreme and we would fit as much people as possible.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-car_pic_04.png
More Sightings - The Small Boy in the picture is Me , Looking at my height this must be the 1980's!

When my cousins used to visit us during the summer holidays I remember the car used to be crammed with people. Would say 4 adults and 5 kids have journeyed on this car easily all the way from Jayanagar till Bannerghatta National Park. I guess some of the happiest and joyous times together were made possible by this car. My father also adds that he has done 3-4 trips to Nandi Hills on this car easily with full load.

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My cousins, Uncle and Aunt & my sister are seen in this picture posing in front of the car


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-greatgrandson.jpg
And finally, fast forward to my son, the great grandson of the original owner with the Legend..!


I must add that from the story so far it is quite obvious that my Grandfather qualifies to have been on Team-BHP if it existed in those days...And a special note of appreciation for my father as well for his passion in maintaining the car in such a good condition over the decades.

Now that we have the history in place, let us look at some facts and figures for the 1973 Premier President. The 1973 Premier President sits between the Fiat 1100 D and the Premier Padmini. The Fiat 1100D debuted in India in 1964. In 1973 it was marketed as the Premier President for just the one year. From 1974 onwards this was sold under the more familiar name of Premier Padmini. This makes the Premier President a kind of a Collector's Item since it is a Limited Edition model sold only in the year 1973.

Last edited by vsrivatsa : 6th October 2019 at 07:10.
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Old 5th October 2019, 19:25   #2
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Default re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Let us now get into more details about the car itself, its specifications, features (or the lack of features in those days) and more.

Exterior Looks & Build Quality

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-05.p1050038.jpg
Front View

A large grill made of Aluminium provides that typical Fiat look. The car also had more straight edges as compared to an Ambassador for example which was a more curvaceous design. A nice metal bumper in the front which by today's standard looks aftermarket.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-14.jpg
Lucas Brand - Large Round Headlights

The large rounded Headlights provide an aggressive look to the car. The quality of the Lucas Reflectors are also commendable and provide ample illumination in the night and have been extremely durable. There also are rectangular lights below the Headlights which are the Parking Lamps. The Build quality I must say is excellent - there was no concept of high tensile steel in those days or of crumple zones. Even in recent times when my Father drives, he does not care of the heavy Bangalore traffic since he is so confident about the thick metal Build of the car.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-06.p1050045.jpg
Side Profile

The Side Profile is simple and straightforward with a thin metal strip lining the car from one end to the other. A squarish fuel tank lid is seen in the rear end. Large windows provide a good airy feel to the passengers. The car by today's definition can be called a Sub 4 m Compact Sedan at 3930 mm in length, 1468 mm tall and a width of 1460 mm. Wheelbase is 2340 mm. The bottom portion has a cladding type of lining in metal itself that covers the car end to end including the wheel arches. The Kerb Weight of the car is 885 kg.


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-wheel.jpg
Closer View of the Tyre


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-07.p1050048.jpg
Rear View

At the rear again a very similar bumper as the front protects the car. Check the number plate light housings - quite big I must say.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-13..jpg
Boot Space

The car also comes with a large boot which is flat.


Engine & Gears
Next let us head to the Heart of the car which is the Engine. The Premier President is powered by a 4 cylinder Fiat based 1089 cc Engine which delivers a power of 44.5 BHP. The top speed for the car is 130 kph which even by current generation standards is a good top speed. Just don't ask me the 0-100 kph figures. But my father does remember doing speeds beyond 100 kph in his early days comfortably.

The car has 4 gears + reverse. The gear lever is mounted just behind the Steering Wheel and is called as the Steering Gear. The Engine Oil recommended is SAE 30/10W-30 for temperatures upto the 30 degree mark and in places where the temperature is beyond the 30 degree mark, SAE 50/20W-40 is recommended. Interestingly there is no kilometers rating provided for Oil change. The manual simply states: "When the oil becomes darker replace the oil".

The car has clocked over 110,000 kms as of date. The Engine was re-conditioned at 100,000 kms.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-02.-enginebay.jpg
Engine Bay


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-03.-enginebay02.jpg
Engine Bay - Closer View


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-04.-steering_gears.jpg
Gear Shift Lever (Steering Gear) & Steering Wheel

For someone driving current generation of cars driving a President will take some time getting used to especially the gear shift mechanism which by today's standards is unconventional.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-steering_gear.png
Gear Shift Mechanism (Source: Original Manual)


The Steering Wheel does not come with any form of Power Steering and encourages the person driving to use his own muscle power for U-turns and scenarios requiring a lot of turning.

Also in the 1990's there was a trend for people to add support for LPG as an alternate fuel. My father also had got this modification done and the car supported running on both LPG as well as Petrol. There as a switch which would allow to select the particular mode of operation.


Interiors & In-Car Entertainment
Next let us have a more detailed look at the Interiors of the car.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-08.jpg
View for the Driver

An extremely good view of the road from inside the car. The car does have a high ground clearance. A thick chunky IRVM is also seen. Do note that the IRVM is the only the equipment available for navigating in traffic, there is no ORVM or Rear View cameras like in present day cars. Also seen is a useful Glovebox and also an Ash Tray on the dash above the Ignition Key slot.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-15.jpg
Glovebox Open


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-09.jpg
Front Door & Seats


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-10.jpg
Rear Door & Seats

Decent amount of legroom by the olden day standards. There was no concept of bottle holders and storage spaces for the rear seat in those days. The seat upholstery is aftermarket and was sourced from New Delhi since the original one got worn out over the decades.


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-11.jpg
Speedometer Console

Nice Speedo with the reading shown all the way till 140 kph which is in fact the top speed of the car. Also seen are the Fuel Gauge and the Temperature Gauge


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-12.jpg
Accelerator, Brake Pedals and Clutch

Another aspect to cover while we are looking at the interiors is the topic of Safety. In those days none of the safety features existed be it the crumple zones, airbags or ABS. In fact the car does not have any Seatbelts also.

Coming to the topic of In-Car Entertainment, well I must say it is just the human touch - and this has to be the conversations with the co-passengers and if you are driving alone then you are encouraged to try your singing skills to keep yourself entertained

Last edited by vsrivatsa : 6th October 2019 at 10:15.
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Old 5th October 2019, 20:09   #3
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Default re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Ride Quality, Handling & Suspension
As compared to modern cars the President is powered by the Rear Wheels and is a Rear Wheel drive car. The car provides a soft ride quality and the car comes with Elliptical Leaf Spring Suspension on the rear and Hydraulic Shock Absorbers. The original car came with 13 inch tubed tires. Currently the car is running on 14 inch Tubeless tires. The highway stability is extremely good and the car remains planted at speeds above 100 kph although I must add it has been a long time since anyone did those speeds on this car.


Fuel Efficiency
The car comes with a Fuel Tank of 38 Litres. In the best of times the car used to return a Fuel Efficiency of 13-14 kpl. The lower side has been in the 11 kpl range.


Documentation
This article would not be complete without providing a view on the documentation for a car that has been maintained for so many years. Appreciate my father for having maintained the original manual in an excellent condition. We managed to look up various bits from the original manual while writing this article whenever a question arose

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-01.-fiat_manual.png
The Original Manual from 1973


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-02.-page01.png
Page 01 from the Original Manual


Next let us look at the other related documents and how these were in the olden days. There is no concept of a RC Card for this car. Its once again a RC book from 1973.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-03.-rc_manuscript.png
Cover Page: Original RC Manuscript from 1973


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-04.-rc_front_page.png
Front Page: Original RC Manuscript from 1973


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-05.-rc_page_02.png
Technical Details Page: Original RC Manuscript from 1973


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-06.-fc_2023.png
Fitness Certficate reflecting Validity till 2023


Conclusion:
I had been thinking of creating this thread for sometime now and it had somehow kept moving ahead. Finally made up time and managed to compile some memoirs of "The Legend". My father was key in providing most of the inputs that I have narrated in this article. I appreciate his patience, perseverance and passion in maintaining the car which has ensured that it remains in such an excellent condition even today and this article is a tribute to both my father's passion as well as for the car that has served us well for so long through multiple decades spanning across generations. I conclude this thread with another picture of the legend - The 1973 Premier President.

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-conclusion.jpg
1973 Premier President

Happy Dasara to Everyone!

Last edited by vsrivatsa : 6th October 2019 at 07:15.
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Old 7th October 2019, 07:15   #4
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Classic Car Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th October 2019, 11:27   #5
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Lovely review for a lovely car. Your car still looks like it rolled off the factory floor yesterday! Kudos to your father and you for keeping it in such brilliant shape. Very inspiring!
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Old 7th October 2019, 11:28   #6
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories, my father used to own one from 1987 till 1998 and I learned driving in this car in 1996 when I was just 12 years old, so it is very close to my heart. You have reminded me of my good old memories

Last edited by amiya.c : 7th October 2019 at 11:30.
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Old 7th October 2019, 11:46   #7
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Lovely week written and to the point review. Congratulations to your family for having maintained this classic in good nick all these years. My first owned car was a Padmini, the floor hear shift types. Lots of memories and I often wonder if I should buy an old Padmini-President-1100D for myself. Haven't done it working about maintenance. Filing a car to bursting was the norm in those days before seat belts!! Have done it myself several times till the late 1990s.

By today's standards the Padmini was under powered and was tight on seating leg room at the back. And maintenance was a weekly monthly affair! But at that time it was great as we didn't know any better.

Good luck with the car.

Last edited by aah78 : 7th October 2019 at 17:59. Reason: Typo.
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Old 7th October 2019, 13:05   #8
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Nicely written vsrivatsa , this one feels like a review from the period. Hearty congratulations to you and your family for having maintained this classic all these years.
Here is mine:

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-1.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-2.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-3.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-4.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-5.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-6.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-7.jpg

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-img_20190501_160023.jpg

Last edited by aah78 : 7th October 2019 at 17:59. Reason: Pictures inserted in-line.
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Old 7th October 2019, 13:36   #9
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Thank you for bringing back nostalgic memories of the good old days. My dad used to have the Padmini on which i learnt to drive. Unfortunately during learning to drive I totaled the car. I remember using the wing windows to bring in more air into the cabin. We had also installed a fan with blue fins to help with keeping the car cool.

My family and cousins 6 adults and 4 children rode the car once to Mahabaleshwar. And the car never failed.

Hope you have many more years of happiness with the car.

Regards
RoS

Last edited by rulerofsun : 7th October 2019 at 13:38. Reason: spelling
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Old 7th October 2019, 14:19   #10
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Was so nostalgic reading this. I learnt (unofficially) driving in one of the Padminis with similar gear shift functioning. By the way some of the newer gen GM cars (Cadi escalade for e.g.) has similar gearshifts. Once I drove an Escalade and was again a throwback to the older times !
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Old 7th October 2019, 14:37   #11
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

There was Premier factory in Kurla, very near to my house. I am not sure if cars were manufactured there, but many Premier cars could be seen outside. I used to walk past these cars dreaming to own one someday. The 4-cylinder symphony coming out of that simple no fuss exhaust 'pipe' is sill the sweetest.
Whenever I got a chance to sit in it (relative's car, taxis, etc...), I used to sit on the front seat so that I could see what is the driver doing with that stick (gear rod). Today after seeing that diagram is when I finally understand how it worked and how was the gear pattern.

Eventually after a few years the factory closed. We also had moved away from Kurla soon after the 92 riots.
I had lately been to that place just to get that nostalgic feel and, a mall stands in that place now.

Your review reminds me of those wonderful days bring back those sweet memories, we never had this car but I was very much connected with it.
Thankyou.
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Old 7th October 2019, 22:14   #12
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I own a 1972 Premier President which was bought by my late great grandfather,the car was bought in december 1972.The car's colour shade is velvet blue.

My 1972 Premier President:

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-imageuploadedbyteambhp1570507860.931771.jpg

Last edited by moralfibre : 8th October 2019 at 13:51. Reason: Merged
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:01   #13
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iyencar View Post
Lovely review for a lovely car. Your car still looks like it rolled off the factory floor yesterday!
Thanks a lot for your kind words!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amiya.c View Post
Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories, my father used to own one from 1987 till 1998 and I learned driving in this car in 1996 when I was just 12 years old, so it is very close to my heart.
Good to know about your experience of learning to drive on a Fiat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
By today's standards the Padmini was under powered and was tight on seating leg room at the back. And maintenance was a weekly monthly affair! But at that time it was great as we didn't know any better.
I agree very under powered when we compare to today's engines in the sub 4m segment. And I agree about the rear seat legroom as well since my primary car is the 4th Gen City.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin.das View Post
Nicely written vsrivatsa , this one feels like a review from the period. Hearty congratulations to you and your family for having maintained this classic all these years.
Here is mine:
Thanks! And your car looks awesome as well with those contrasting colors

Quote:
Originally Posted by snan View Post
Was so nostalgic reading this. I learnt (unofficially) driving in one of the Padminis with similar gear shift functioning. By the way some of the newer gen GM cars (Cadi escalade for e.g.) has similar gearshifts. Once I drove an Escalade and was again a throwback to the older times !
Thanks for sharing - did not know about the GM cars having Steering Gears.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iamahunter View Post
Today after seeing that diagram is when I finally understand how it worked and how was the gear pattern.Your review reminds me of those wonderful days bring back those sweet memories, we never had this car but I was very much connected with it.
Thankyou.
Thanks for sharing your experience - was nice reading about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samanyu View Post
My 1972 Premier President
Thanks for sharing - looks good

Here are a few more pictures from after Ayudha Pooja Yesterday:

The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-01.-dasara.jpg
After Ayudha Pooja


The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!-02.-dasara.jpg
After Ayudha Pooja - Additional Click
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Old 8th October 2019, 11:58   #14
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Lovely car indeed! And equally lovely old pics and memories
BTW, I notice your President has the dry type air filter on the carb- was this original on it or fitted at a later stage? I personally like these more than the oil bath filters though I understand the filter element for these is no longer (easily?) available.
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Old 8th October 2019, 23:24   #15
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Default Re: The Legendary Premier President (1973) - In our family since 46 years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsrivatsa View Post
I had been thinking of creating this thread for sometime now and it had somehow kept moving ahead. Finally made up time and managed to compile some memoirs of "The Legend". My father was key in providing most of the inputs that I have narrated in this article. I appreciate his patience, perseverance and passion in maintaining the car which has ensured that it remains in such an excellent condition even today and this article is a tribute to both my father's passion as well as for the car that has served us well for so long through multiple decades spanning across generations. I conclude this thread with another picture of the legend - The 1973 Premier President.
Great! Congrats on both inheriting such a car and maintaining it meticulously. It is so invaluable. You have everything with you, including the instructions leaflets!

Do you still take it out of the city, as you speak of the Premier President's highway stability?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin.das View Post
Here is mine:
Congrats on owning yet another legend here! Is this too inherited, as I can see the registration, KLC, dating back to 1950s-60s Kannur...?

Last edited by Vipin Kumar : 8th October 2019 at 23:26.
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