Rare & Soon To Be Extinct Vehicles


Thread Starter #16
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Opel Astra

GM's first offering in India when it hit the shore at the end of licence raj era. Came with a 75 bhp 1.6 petrol engine and a 68 bhp 1.7 Turbodiesel and was solidly built. The Club Edition had all the bells and whistles of that era including a sunroof. Like every German brand (owned by an American then) was overtly expensive to maintain. Most of the cases car would lie at ASC waiting for parts from the UK. They turned no match for cheaper Koreans and Japanese and failed miserably.

First Opel dealer was at Kesavadasapuram where the current Car Palace is situated. Their service center was behind my cousin-in-law's place and was always crowded with cars waiting for parts and always discontent customers fighting to get back their cars.

A friend-of-friend got a lift in his professor's car, fell love with it, bought it eventually for an unreasonable price, sold miserably to scrap after a year after maintenance broke his back (since no taker for car and scrap value was more than what buyers offered). Single side foglamp was like some ₹ 20k+. GM supported even recently, but no ready spares.

Opel Astra 2019-07-17 07-13-11e.jpg
Opel Astra 2019-07-17 07-19-51w.jpg
 
Thread Starter #18
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Opel Vectra
Another doomed Opel, which couldn't compete with better Japanese rivals and Astra has already made a bad reputation for Opel. It was one sexy car of that time. Loved it's design very much, those flared wheel arches, straight lines, too much European. Powered by a 2.2 L petrol 147 bhp engine. Mostly owner by doctors, who couldn't afford a C-Class.

Opel Vectra 2019-09-23 16-06-18e.jpg
Opel Vectra 2019-09-23 16-07-40e.jpg
 

350Z

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Great spottings @deville_56. Totally echo those views about Opel Astra and Vectra. The Vectra was one of my favorite cars. Ford Mondeo is another car that I liked. I’ve seen one rotting on a highway. I’ll click it next time.

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
Thread Starter #20
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Great spottings @deville_56. Totally echo those views about Opel Astra and Vectra. The Vectra was one of my favorite cars. Ford Mondeo is another car that I liked. I’ve seen one rotting on a highway. I’ll click it next time.

Drive Safe,
350Z
Yeah. The Vectra story is incomplete without a Mondeo. Both had a similar fate. Competition from the Japanese and a not so favorable brand image, damaged by the Escort and the expensive and unsatisfactory maintenance of Fords then.

Spotted a Mondeo as well while trespassing a scrap dealers yard. The same car was in running condition a couple of months back and was up for sale in Olx for a lakh, negotiable. Spare was scarce since it's initial days. Happened to meet an NRI from UK, who bought one as he had one there and he regretted the biggest mistake in his life buying one here.

Mondeo came with a 2.0 L 143 bhp petrol and 2.0 L diesel with around 130 bhp. The first one I saw belonged to Minister Ganesh Kumar during it's launch time. He was a great car buff.

Ford Mondeo 2019-12-01 12-58-32w.jpg
 
Thread Starter #21
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Opel Corsa

Next from Opel stable was the Corsa range and Opel's last model before they shut the shop. It replaced the Astra. It was offered with a 1.4 and 1.6 L motors, churning out 88 and 92 bhp respectively. It weighed over a ton with its compact dimension and was known for its comfort. Still there are many well-kept examples in Kerala and surprised to see many of them in Tirunelveli. Rivals were Esteem and Accent, even the former couldn't fight with the latter, so the Corsa was out of picture soon, catalyzed by the poor and expensive after sales of Opel (as said in previous post). Launched in 2003 and stopped in 2006.

Opel Corsa  2019-03-15 17-00-43.jpg
Opel Corsa 2019-02-19 17-31-59.jpg
 

350Z

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Personally speaking I was never a fan of Opel Corsa. The Astra was a premium and more mature product in comparison. There was also a Corsa Hatchback (Sail) and Station Wagon (Swing) version.

Opel-Corsa-Sail.jpg

Opel-Corsa-Swing.jpg

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350Z
 
Thread Starter #23
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Opel Corsa Sail

Bootless iteration of the sedan or rather sedan was the design adding a boot to it. Offered in both the 1.4 and 1.6 versions. Palio 1.6 GTX was the only worthy contender then. Hard to find this cute hatch nowadays. Even it was less common in its era.

Opel Corsa Sail 2019-06-15 06-24-28.jpg
Opel Corsa Sail 2019-06-15 06-26-00.jpg
 
Thread Starter #24
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Opel Corsa Swing

Third iteration of the Corsa, the station wagon or estate. Station wagon market never bloomed in India. The industry standard was trio for that short timeframe. Fiat had Palio-Sienna/Petra-Sienna Weekend/Palio Adventure. Tata had Indica-Indigo-Indigo Marina. So did the Opel. Also powered by the same 1.4 and 1.6 petrol motors. Swing had the brightest ad with red and yellow car, the whole page of the paper.

Opel Corsa Swing 2020-03-11 11-50-13.JPG

Opel Corsa Swing  2020-03-11 11-49-30.JPG
 
Thread Starter #25
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Personally speaking I was never a fan of Opel Corsa. The Astra was a premium and more mature product in comparison. There was also a Corsa Hatchback (Sail) and Station Wagon (Swing) version.

View attachment 274838

View attachment 274837

Drive Safe,
350Z
I too was never an Opel fan, but the cute, compact and the 1.6 badge created an infatuation. Every weekend, the daily had either of the Corsa trio ad and the punch line Achtung baby!!!!!
 
Thread Starter #28
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Let me add Maruti Suzuki Zen Carbon / Steel 3-Door to this list. I’ve somehow lost the images in original thread. Sharing these from OLX.in.

View attachment 275284

View attachment 275285

View attachment 275286

There was another version of Zen called Classic. It deserves to be in weird cars thread instead.

View attachment 275287

Drive Safe,
350Z
Zen Steel.

Zen Steel 2016-12-13 10-43-41.jpg


Zen Classic.

2019-06-08 16-16-45.jpg



Speaking of Carbon/Steel, I bet most of them are now in Kerala from almost all states of India, like the Fiesta 1.6 S [evil] There are also a couple of Zen Classics around and some are scavenged for their tail lamps by the Zen modifiers. We almost missed a Steel, ending buying the Duke.

I checked for that chrome parts for another FB friend on Boodmo and was like 34k a set and needs to be imported.

The above posted one is Japanese version. Indian version is much better than a little bit longer nose and a slimmer grille. Metallic green one looks better, but not a looker though.
 
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Thread Starter #29
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Hindustan Motors Ambassador

Most of us, the 80-90s kids and our previous generation had close relation with this lovely beast. No history is complete without an Amby. I grew up seeing Mark III, Mark 4 and Nova. Unmatched rear seat comfort even today. No doubt Ratan Tata wanted a small car with that much room.

Starting with my story, cars were absolute luxury in my childhood and my mom's cousins had Premier Padminis. Aunt got married and the new in-laws all had Ambys. We had all our vacations in Amby. Six adults plus 6 kids, we tripped most of the KL/TN on uncle's Amby. I always had the gear lever seat. The centre console and all were in the middle. He constantly changed cars, of course Ambys, that was the norm then. At least a month it would be in garage for some sort of issue or patchwork. Body was always rusty. Many of the times, the bodyshop guy comes home with all his tools and the welding gas cylinders and every other day, we had to fetch him some sort of supplies and such a lazy butt, always took up to a month for patching and painting. Most of the panels were bought in full and cut and wasted instead of swapping that entire panel. They preferred welding instead of bolting. It was kind of an unreliable car considering the newest kid then, the Maruti 800. We always faced some sort of issue at every trip like overheating, missing bolts, snapped cable, etc, etc, but it was easily fixable by them or any roadside garages then. We even had ours repaired at a truck shop on the way. We had all sorts of engine, the BMC diesel, petrol, Matadors, but never had the chance of getting an Isuzu. Petrol one started with a helpless whining sound comparing today's cars. Steering column mounted gears. Diesel had manual glow plugs, which had to be used before starting, else it won't start no matter what you did. No proper coolant system, so had to fill water every morning.

Now the Amby's story, started with HM locally producing Morris Oxford as Mark I with a petrol engine replacing the Landmaster. Later replaced the engine with a BMC petrol, which had an overhead valve, which the logo on the fender talks about. Mark II had only cosmetic changes, so did mark III. All 3 had holes in bumper to manually start with the rod. I think it was discontinued with diesel. Mark III was my favorite. Then came Mark 4, which had major front rework and new tail lamps and a BMC diesel engine. Till Mark 4, all had center mounted instrument console, steering mounted gear and opposing-arm wipers. Then came Nova/Diesel Deluxe, which saw some major changes like platform gear, new dashboard (the one that continued will end) and steering wheel. For the first time, the bonnet release was moved to right side. Otherwise, it was big metal lever sitting on the left wheel arch (inside). Then, came the classic with many new engine options including the aging 1.5 diesel - a meaty 1.8 L Isuzu petrol and a 2.0 Isuzu diesel. Then, came the major update, the Grand and Avigo, the ugliest versions of the Amby, but with more bells and whistles. 2.0 L Isuzu turbo diesel was also added.

Mark 1 with original bumper and sunshade and OHV logo.

Ambassador 2019-07-25 18-08-00.jpg


Mark I with OE hubcap.

Ambassador 2019-07-25 18-07-07.jpg


Mark II under restoration.

Ambassador 2019-06-25 08-59-35.jpg


Mark 4 and a Hero Honda CD Deluxe. Aunt's wedding day.

Ambassador.jpg


Beautiful Classic of our Finance Manager.

Ambassador 2019-01-30 16-10-31.jpg


Another Classic (may be converted) with Grand's wheelcap.

Ambassador 2019-02-02 10-26-11.jpg


People used to convert to newer models, thus the original ones are rare. We had Mark III, converted to mark 4 and then Nova and then scrapped. Another thing was the waiting period. There was 1+ year waiting for Amby in 70-80s (Padmini had indefinite upto 5 years). Buying and selling for a premium was common then. This happened with Chetak and 800 as well.
 

350Z

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San Storm

I won’t be surprised if some of us don’t even have heard about this car. It was the first made-in-India low-cost convertible which had enormous potential but was letdown by its now-defunct manufacturer. Storm launched in 1998 and priced somewhere in the range of Rs.6 Lakh. It was designed by the LeMans Group and equipped with a 1149CC Renault D7F engine producing 60 BHP and 9.6 Kgm torque. It was assembled in Bangalore and chassis marriage performed in Goa. Storm’s sister concepts, San Dune and Storm Coupe never saw light of the day. Good part is that the Storm found its export market in locations like Malta, Cyprus, Bahamas and U.K.


san-storm-front.jpg

san-storm-rear.jpg

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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