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The Story of my Amby

Discussion in 'Non FIAT Cars and two wheelers' started by cvanandh, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Just wanted to share with you all about my Amby. Many would be knowing about my SS especially after the South India Meet but not many know that my passion for FIAT started very late only in 1998. Before that, my interests were only in Amby's and Jeeps.

    Not sure on how many would be interested, but just thought of sharing.

    To start off, it is a 1964 Mark II which was bought by my Grand Father in 1966. It was registered in my Dad's name and he was the 3rd owner at that time.

    The car then served its purpose very well without any problems what so ever. I've heard some very interesting experiences of our family with this car. I've used the word 'heard' just because the car was bought about 19 years before I was born.

    Since my early childhood days, I was very fond of this car and it was almost like a member in our family.

    It was in 92 that the car really showed its age and broke down near Bhavani while traveling back to Coimbatore from Bangalore.

    All these years from 1964 to 1992 it has been serving on the original OHV petrol motor and was flawless. Investigations after the break-down revealed that the engine main bearing had cracked and hence had to get the car towed back to Coimbatore to attend to it.

    This is where the problem really started. Now since the engine had almost come to the end of its life, we started to think of converting it to Diesel.

    Everyone at home were totally against putting in the Matador since it was too noisy and we really had no other choice since Isuzu’s were never heard or available at that time. At the same time, some people who had started a new workshop especially to convert Ambassadors into Diesel using the 1.9 TATA engine were really getting famous and hence we too thought about it and finally after much thought, it was decided that our Amby had do undergo a major transformation to bear the 1.9 TATA diesel heart borrowed from the TATA Sierra.

    So, the work started and the Amby was installed with a brand new 1.9 TATA motor. The engine came at a whopping Rs. 75,000. This engine was mated to the same HM petrol gear box with column shift.

    So after staying in the workshop for quite a while for the conversion process then for the AC, the car finally arrived.

    The engine was really silent and powerful for the Amby.

    Now, the car was back to normal but slowly and steadily problems seemed to arise one after another.

    Some of the problems were:
    1. Engine Over heating.
    2. Uneven tire wear.
    3. Clutch wearing out pretty quickly.
    4. Low ground clearance.

    The ground clearance was fixed pretty quickly by chopping off the oil sump. The original was with a capacity of 7litres and was now chopped off to a capacity of about 4 to 4.5litres.

    Though we had installed an extra fan on the grille the overheating was always a case to be worried about especially on ghat sections. Modifications to the radiator and others lead to marginal improvement but was never solved.

    The chassis was changed during the engine conversion and since then the front tires never lasted more than 25,000 kms. Also, after this conversion the weight of the car increased by about 100 kgs than it was with the petrol motor.

    Coming to the clutch, it was a niggling problem and never got settled. By this time, few years had passed and the car had run more that 70,000 kms despite these issues. Now, some friend of my uncle had also converted to the same TATA engine but with a TATA gearbox borrowed from the Sumo. They had covered more than 90,000 kms and had decided to get rid of the engine and gearbox due to the arrival of the ISUZU engines in the market and they offered us the TATA Gearbox which we readily accepted.

    Now, it was Transformation part II for our Amby. So out went the column shift HM gearbox and in came the Sumo box along with a hydraulic clutch. Changes were also made to the interior with a new dashboard with a console box and the car also made its way to Koyas for new Upholstery.

    So after these changes, the car was back to duty serving tirelessly and at the same time frequenting to the workshop for some problem or the other and expenses were mounting and by this time my dad was almost fed-up with the expenses and they decided to sell off the car.

    I was heart broken. I was asking him and others at home not to sell it off but my request was turned down and finally the car was sold in 2002 and was replaced with a Palio 1.2 Sport.

    I was in Class XI at that time but was never happy about the car being sold though I was madly in love with the Palio.

    It was 8 years since the car was sold but I was never able to get it out of my mind and was always thinking of somehow buying it back and know what? It happened! Yes, I've bought back the same car on the 15th of March 2010.

    The car was still running on the same engine and nothing much had changed mechanically. The buyers had corrected the tire wear problem by correcting the chaises and also the overheating, but the gearbox and the body were out of shape.

    So, I've achieved in buying back the car in 2010, but its more than 2 yrs now and the car is still not ready. I has been a very slow re-build process.

    Clicked in 1988 when I was about 3 years old. Its me seated on the car.

    Clicked in 2002 before the car was sold

    Condition of the car after buying it back in 2010

    Some pictures of Work in Progress




    Once the tinkering was complete, the complete underbody mechanical's were done. Almost everything from suspension to brake drums had to be changed since they were running on the same since we sold the car. The tinkering happened in a very fast phase but the mechanic took almost a year for all these.

    Finally, the car was started after almost a year and made its way back to the painter. Painted four different shades of green, one shade per door and finally zeroed in on one shade.

    Finalized shade on FR door

    Picture after Painting

    After everything was done, the engine had started giving problems . It's been leaking oil here and there and I had insisted that the car should not be bought back to Coimbatore until the oil leak problem is completely resolved.

    Change of heart :sadblue

    Off late, things haven't been going as per my plans and finally decided to change the engine.The oil leaks were a bit too much and it was also found to have back compression. So took the call and decided no more fiddling around with the TATA motor.

    The Options

    Once it was decided on changing the engine, next big decision was on which engine to plonk in.
    The requirement was diesel (No point in fitting a petrol motor since my RC book is diesel endorsed and that cannot be changed), so the options in hand were Isuzu or Matador. Top priority was Isuzu, but the exorbitant price of the new as well as the old engines in the market were a bit too much.

    A brand new Euro 4 engine with gearbox cost Rs.1.9 Lakh rupees and that was way too much! Older ones in the markets were prices 40k and above only for the engine.

    So after much thought, decided to go on for matador engine with the Isuzu gear box. The main reason being that a very good matador engine is available with my friend. He has this engine with him as a spare just in case if any of his rides needed one.

    So finalized on the matador+isuzu combo and it was time to say good bye to the TATA engine after 17yrs.

    Car is in Koyas now for the interior and expected delivery by Wednesday. After that it will head back to Pollachi for the remaining works (.Drove it around for few kilometers and the engine and gear box were just too good. It cleared all my worries and I'm really happy with the car.

    The front bumper is gone for nickeling and hence running on spare bumpers in this picture and hence you will find it rusty.

    Picture as of last week (My SS is visible in the background)

    List of works pending
    Final polishing
    Minor Electricals

    Sorry for the very long post, had to cover the happenings over a period of 2yrs :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
    11 people like this.
  2. PatchyBoy

    PatchyBoy Esperto

    Man, Oh Man. That car is as old as me. And you went and bought the car back.

    Speechless. DEEP RESPECT. Hats off to you Sir.

    1 person likes this.
  3. teky

    teky Esperto

    Anandh - simply salute your passion man. It takes lots of time, money and patience to re-build a car and you seem to put your heart into everything related to automobiles.

    However chasing back the same car and buying back is something like a filmy story and hearing it in real gives me goosebumps. Congrats and restoring the Amby and hope I'll get a ride like the SS soon.
    3 people like this.
  4. Thanks a lot Rajan!

    Thx teky. The amby will come to Chennai once work is complete!
  5. The interior works are complete and the car was delivered yesterday evening. I'm getting down to Coimbatore tomorrow and leaving it to the AC work followed by final polishing at Pollachi on Saturday.

    Total expenses for the complete interiors came to 38k. More on that with pictures on Saturday!
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  6. naveen2cool

    naveen2cool Superiore

    Man, a big salute to you. Its really unbelievable that you bought back the same car again. Waiting for more pictures of your car. What a resurrection!
    1 person likes this.
  7. dhans4all

    dhans4all Amatore

    Super Anandh, Waiting for the pictures :)
    1 person likes this.
  8. thomman85

    thomman85 Esperto

    bought the car back.. wow.. wqas't expecting that...so much love for ur Amby
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  9. Wow Anand!!!
    1 person likes this.
  10. Thanks everyone! Will post more pictures by Saturday night. But it's gonna take few more months before the car is 100% ready ;)
    1 person likes this.

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