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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Me and my Cars in Mumbai * 80

I have spent some time in the UAE and I find it's a fine place. However I have my roots in Mumbai and Punjab and own a house in Mumbai. In addition, I have also been fond of automobiles and over the years have owned a string of them. In the UAE I own  some of the best racing models. In Mumbai racing models are not in vogue, with the heavy traffic and poor roads, so one has to settle for sturdy models like the Skoda and the BMW.
I have a fascination for big cars and presently own two top models in India. Both cars were  purchased by me  from the Military Canteen Stores Department ( CSD) and helped me save a fair amount of money on octroi and taxes. One of my cars which I own presently is the BMW 325. It's a black sedan, but vandals will not leave it and it's front monogram has been ripped off. The car is an automatic petrol model and superb to drive. If readers are interested in specifications it has a 2497 cc engine that belts out 215 BHP witha torque of of246@4000rpm. It's a great vehicle to drive and set me back by almost Rs 40 Lakh.
I frequently drive in this car to Indore, where I have a bunglow.I have been able to do the 525 km run on the new national highway in just under 7 hours, with a stoppage at Ozar the Air Force base. The car is my pet, but I think I will change it to a Porche which is now introduced in India.
My second luxury car is the Skoda Octavia, Elegant. It is cheaper than the BMW and cost me about 17 Lakh, but in terms of value for money it's a powerful vehicle. This is a diesel model and has a 1900 cc turbo charged diesel engine and is flame red in color. One can see it stand out by a mile among all other cars.  the Skoda is however heavy on maintenance and I thing I will replace it next year. Even changing the clutch at the company dealer sets me back by Rs 50,000 and it's food for thought that for this price one can easily buy a second  hand car in India.
I have always been fond of cars and bikes and I remember fondly my love affair with the Bullet 350cc bike as a young subalteran.I still have that bullet, but drive it rarely. I have also owned other  cars like the Opel Astra and a older model of Mercedes, which i bought second hand. Not forgetting the Premier Padmini and and Standard 2000 which I bought as a Flight Lieutenant. The Standard was a dead loss and I had to sell it at scrap value, but the Premier gave me excellent service. I drove it all the way from Shillong in Assam to Coimbatore in Tamilnadu.
Both photos are mine with my cars
Maintaining a semi luxury or luxury car in India is a costly proposition. Frankly cars like the BMW, which are thought of as Luxury cars in India are just considered as ordinary cars in Europe and the UAE. I rememeber, when I was in Germany the majority of the Taxi's were Mercedes. In the UAE in Abu Dhabi , all taxi's are the Toyata  Camry. This points to the level of affluence in these areas.In Mumbai at least 40% of the taxi's are still the old Premiers, though they are being replaced by the Alto and the Santro( Both small cars). Such small taxi's are not allowed in the West and even in Bangkok which I have visited so many times.
Coming to my cars, I run them as and when I come to Mumbai as almost 20-22 days in a month I am in the UAE. I have a Ford Mustang there and it's great fun to drive.
 this is the latest an XUV 500 to my stable