Delivery : 07/02/1991
Dealer : Manickbag Automobiles, Hubli
Odo : 34,800kms (now)
Color : Pale Lilac (White)
On Road Price : 1,05,000 INR
Way back in 1991, I recollect my Dad discussing with me and sisters about a NEW car we wanted to buy. We used to discuss the financial implications as even a 1lakh car was too expensive then. After driving a couple of his colleagues' Padminis , he was fully convinced to buy one.
On 7th Feb '91 mid-night, Dad and his driver drove the car from Hubli to Bijapur. My Mom woke me up saying "The FIAT has come!". Aah, I still remember the first time I saw my Babe - A WHITE ANGEL! Our first drive was to a Ganesha Temple. Few days later, my Sister's friend put the "Arun" sticker on the rear wind shield!
My father bought the Base variant of Padmini which was known as "Economy". It had body colored bumpers, simple seats upholstery and no wheel caps as part of a policy to cut costs!! The Economy model was 10k cheaper than Standard Model as per Dad.
Dad was very particular when it came to maintaining the car. He was particular about our feet being clean before our ingress into the car. He also warned us to close the door slowly! :D
I was in 3rd Standard when we bought the car. I was very excited to know how the headlights, indicators and other stuff operated . I used to ask my Dad's permission to sit in the car and try out all the controls. I was warned not to change gears! :)
In May 1991
Our family and FIAT shifted to Manipal. The car was restricted to weekend drives.Every Saturday evening, Dad would fill 5 litres of Petrol(20rs per Ltr) and we used to drive to Udupi Krishna Temple ,8 kms away from home. I remember Dad never used to switch on the head-lights. I wonder why?! May be because of in-efficient charging of Dynamo, I guess.
Mom, Dad and I used to sit in the front bench seat and my three sisters at the rear. We did numerous trips to Nellore and Bangalore when in Manipal. Four years in Manipal and the car had just one scratch on rear wheel arch.
Our Family and FIAT shifted to Bengaluru! The car was a veteran of 14000kms on the odo in 4 years. We had no parking space in front of house hence she started getting minor scratches. To add to this, Dad started to use the FIAT daily to office which was in City Center - Majestic! Very sadly, I used to notice scratches very often. :(
In 1996, two of my Sisters got married. The FIAT was decorated by me with roses! The car was being driven a lot and scratches too were increasing! Meanwhile Dad got transferred to Lucknow and car was very sparingly used for the next two years. In 1998, my Parents became Grand parents! Again lots of driving around and in 1999, my third Sister got married.
By now the FIAT was sentimentally very very attached to family. The car had lost its sheen because of scratches. We got the tinkering done and a over coat of paint. Spent 8k in total and got insurance claim of around 3k. We then fit a Gas connection as petrol prices were going up.
I started finally driving the FIAT in 1999, without license! Had a minor accident, a chain of accidents actually and the rear mud guard of my FIAT was damaged. Scared of my Dad, my friend-Shanth Kumar and I tinkered it with lots of Metal Paste and the result was horrendous! In May 2002, I got my Driving License!
In 2003, we bought a Maruti 800 car. We had then built another house and my FIAT got a closed parking place. By this time, I got too busy with College and the FIAT was hardly driven from then. In 1996, it was time for F.C. Dad was too busy and I din't know how to renew the F.C. Insurance too was expired. Car was sparingly driven , and that too on Gas. Dad used to scare me saying it was illegal to drive around with a gas connection. Because of all these reasons, I hardly drove the FIAT.
Fast forward to 2009, I was done with my Masters and was free as a victim of recession. :) This is when I met Karthik Makam, Sujith Thomas, Karthik M.B through Orkut and went on to start Fiat 1100 Club - Bangalore.
A couple of mechanical problems like rusted radiator, bad clutch, suspension bushes and the main issue - Water pump had gone kaput and it's bolt was stuck in Engine Head. The solution was to remove Head and get the lathe work done! I was not sure of how to do this and led to my FIAT's one year hibernation. I had lost few original parts like White bumpers, original grille etc. Thanks to Team-Bhp, I learnt a lot about FIATs and I wanted to give the FIAT a complete restoration. So I started stripping the car.
The ODO reading says 34,800kms! For the past 6 or 7 years, I have hardly driven the FIAT for 1000kms!
Karthik Makam and me used to visit the car scapyard regularly. We collected lots of FIAT Delight original parts. My idea was to convert my FIAT to Delight style and this project was code named "DELIGHTing my Padmini". But THANKS TO MAKAM, he kept saying that I should restore my FIAT to original form like it rolled out of Factory. I then scrapped this project. I have hardly seen any "Economy" model PPs. This motivated me even more! I soon got all the parts needed to restore the FIAT to 'Economy' Form.
Karthik Makam gave me his 1990 Padmini Standard - 331. I fixed all the Delight parts to 331. She looks gorgeous!
My FIAT friends used to tease me that my FIAT will soon land up in scrapyard if I don't start the restoration soon. Because of personal issues, I couldn't start off with the restorations. Sometimes I used to get nightmares cos restoration is not a easy job. Finding the right people to work on old cars is a tough task!
I have almost never driven my FIAT on highways. The main purpose of Restoration is to improve it's longevity and make it reliable for long drives.
Finally, now starts the DREAM RESTORATION of my DAD's FIAT! Each time it used to rain, I used to wipe out the water on the car when the rain stops. I knew the floor would rust, hence had painted the floor with oil paint a decade ago. I used to cover her with two later car cover when parked on road and not used. All this has helped my FIAT stay 90% Rust free!! I am super excited to see my FIAT get restored. Wish me GOOD LUCK!
Some pics, enjoy!
FIAT in Manipal! The blackened object is me! I wanted only the FIAT in pic. So I blackened myself! :D