3 Years Later

Mahidnra Thar Crde 4x4 CherieHave been busy with work and personal stuff. and didn’t realize that I have been away for so long  – over 3 years now. In this time have managed to buy my dream vehicle a Mahindra Thar 4×4 Crde. Have driven it for over 30000 Km now and it is my daily drive. Also been working on some very interesting stuff and had the chance to conduct a variety of experiments on my driving style and how it translates to fuel efficiency with the Thar. Best part about it is that I now know how to get mileage from the Thar that is comparable to many hatchbacks :-).

Mahindra Thar Crde 4×4 Cherie



Still retained the Getz (Now 10+ years and 36K Km) and Swift (8+ years and over 49K Km). Slowly thinking of selling one/both of the cars and getting a replacement.

Have done test drives recently of the Tata Nano GenX AMT and the Maruti Suzuki Celerio AMT so expect some short posts on those and of course on the Thar ownership soon. Hoping to resume blogging  at intervals definitely shorter than 3 years.  

Please let me know if there are specific topics I should cover on the blog and will be happy to do so.

8 Reasons to Hate the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga !

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga

There is a lot of mixed love and hate for the new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and there is the news of 10,000+ bookings already within 5 days. While everyone will tell you why to buy the Ertiga – here is a list of why you shouldn’t buy it:

  1. You want more versatility of seating and luggage than what is present in a small footprint – and not necessarily need 7 seats – go buy the Honda Jazz
  2. You want a vehicle with a lot of first and second row leg room and boot space – go buy the Nissan Sunny !
  3. You want a vehicle with great quality in and out, premium brand and luxury feel – go buy something from Mercedes or Audi or BMW
  4. You want a 7-seater primarily for highway use and want to carry luggage for all 7 along with you all the time – better get the Toyota Innova and a roof rack and maybe even a trailer
  5. You want a rugged off roader that will carry 7 people and go off-road – go buy the Mahindra Thar or build up one from an Army disposal MM550 ;-).
  6. You have a family of giants (both tall and wide) – the Ertiga will be too small for you – go buy the Tata Winger/Force Traveller !
  7. You want the laser edge of technology and features – you should have been already in line for the Mahindra XUV500.
  8. You want to take the vehicle to the race track and are particular about cornering and response – go buy the New Ford Fiesta

Tata Nano Superdrive

“The epic Tata Nano Superdrive will flag off from the Tata Motors plant at Sanand on the 2nd of June. Nine Tata Nanos will circumambulate India on three different routes on an enchanting 26 day long voyage and will visit 36 cities, covering an incredible distance of more than 15,000 Kilometers!

Each route has been named after a colour namely The Saffron Route, The White Route and the Green Route keeping with the theme of the trans-national adventure.

Along each route the Nanos will transverse through diverse terrains in extreme conditions be it mountains or plains, in dry or rain, in the most harsh terrains that can be the most grueling test for robustness, durability and reliability for any car. The peoples car of India will touch upon people and places by visiting prominent landmarks, historic places, Malls, etc at each city it visits. Everyone will get a chance to get a first hand experience of the Nano its exciting features and its exceptional capabilities.

The Nanos will be driven by winning customers and media personnel on pre-defined routes to experience the Nano in real-world driving conditions. On each route, accompanying the cars will be bloggers and photographers.

The Tata Nano has been a triumph of Indian ingenuity and the Superdrive commemorates a successful first year of sales of the Tata Nano which has already made its place in history books.”

I think Tata is using this event to prove that Nanos are reliable and sturdy vehicles. Would be fun to watch how it goes.

Where did July & August go ?

Am very sorry I have not been writing as much as I would have liked to. These are some of the things going on in my world outside the blog keeping me away. I am hoping these days are over soon and I will be back.

July: My day job raised its head like a fierce dragon and took over my time from morning till late at night. What little was left on the weekend was spent with family.other side effect of having to stay late – I have to drive – so no train journeys to type up posts.

August: A pair of salmonella based pathogens ‘S’ &’O’.Typhii to be precise raised thier ugly pestillential heads and took over my small intestines from Aug 1.Having happily evaded a blood test they flourished well for a bit, not satisfied they caught my son as well and had their fun with him. They were caught on his blood test. Finally last week these pests were caught making merry in my second test. Been out of office for a whole week now and only now got the energy to type this up.

If all goes well I should be back at work in a couple of days.

Hilarious Fast & Furious “Fail”

Failing Fast & Furious
(Click on the image to see a larger version)

The latest “Fast & Furious” seems to have done a lot of things right and has made its mark on the world box office with the largest April opening revenue of USD 72.5 million in its first weekend.  I was not able to make it to the local Chennai Team-BHP “Fast & Furious” meet on April 11th and was looking up the website for details of the movie when I noticed the home page.

Vin Diesel is begining to look good to me(oh gawd what did I just say!) while Michelle Rodrigues has lost all her hair and has a gaunt expression (looks like she has been working out with weights too much) – I cannot recognize these two at all now. Very sad to see what happens to actors between movies. (Joking !).

This was on the website as of today April 24th 2009. Check it out. Let me know when it is changed if at all it is.

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Top Car Chase & Race Movies (with free pdf)

Eleanor the star of Gone in Sixty Seconds

Car themed movies are my favourite type. I have extended it into movies with really good car chase scenes. I have been carrying a list of around 60 movies to add to my existing collection for the past 2 years and adding them slowly one at a time when I find them. These are Hollywood movies in English and range from 1900 till 2009. I still have not built up a non-English collection (just noticed that there seems to be a good number of Japanese and French movies that fit the car theme). This weekend, I delved a bit deeper into the data of movies available and tried grouping them into categories and also sorted them by year. In the process my list of 60 suddenly became 135. I have added this list as a free pdf download. As of now, I own around 30 movies that I call car themed movies. If you have to ask who Eleanor, Bumblebee, Herbie, The Judge and General Lee are you should probably stop here and decide if you want to read the remaining.

The current decade (2000’s) seems to have the maximum number of car themed movies  and movies with car chases occupying key parts of the storyline.The next closest decade was the 70’s. We are indeed in car-crazy times :-). The 80’s and 90’s didnt seem to be that into cars, did they ?

The movies can be grouped into racing movies(including all forms of racing like NASCAR,Champ car, Drag strip, street racing, illegal racing), chase movies (car chases and crashes), Bio-pics(about famous racing legends), Horror , Drama (deeper story around car theme) and also finally about driving( typically high speed driving, stunts, long distance, getaways). Chases in movies comprise close to 35% of movies on my list and Race themed movies comprise 46% of the list. Interestingly the percentage of movies having critically acclaimed chase scenes in the 70s was around 18% and race themed movies at 76%.In the last 9 years the ratio is 57% chase scenes and 28% on race themed. The ratio has turned 180 degrees around in 30 years !

The earliest car themed movie I could find was the 1913 movie –Speed Kings, based on automobile racing. If there is anything earlier than that please let me know. There was a movie called Speed in 1935 that was also based on auto racing which was pretty popular then.

All time popular cars and movies they appeared in:

  • The Bond movie Goldfinger (1964) was the first movie the Ford Mustang appeared in (it was launched in 1964 as well). Also this was the first movie the Bond car was set as the Aston Martin DB5. The same car now owned by Spielberg appears in 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can.
  • The Herbie Series is probably the most loved series with the VW Beetle Show up in 5 movies from 1968 till 2005.
  • The DeLorean in the Back to the Future series shows up in 3 movies from 19855 to 1990.
  • The Mustang Fastback “Eleanor” shows up in two movies of the same name Gone in Sixty Seconds from 1974 & 2000. The second GISS movie seems to be the first of many car themed movies that were released after 2000.
  • Ford Mustang:  Bullit(1986),Gone in 60 Seconds(1974),Gone in 60 Seconds(2000),Fast & Furious Tokyo Drift(2006), I Am Legend( 2007), Death Race (2008)
  • Mini Cooper: Italian Job(1969),Italian Job(2001) & Bourne Identity(2002).
  • Ford Gran Torino: Charlies Angels : Fullthrottle (2004) , Starsky & Hutch (2004) and Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino (2009), Fast and Furious (2009) has a 1972 Gran Torino Sport.
  • Pontiac GTO:  Two Lane Blacktop(1971),Bullit(1986), XXX(2002). The Last Ride(2004) a TV movie featured the GTO “Judge” and also had the latest iteration of the Pontiac GTO.
  • Chevrolet Corvette: 1970 Corvetter in Death Race 2000(1973), 1973 Stingray in Corvette Summer (1978)
  • Chevrolet Camaro:  Transformers (2007) had the 1977 and 2009 Camaros, 2 Fast 2 Furious(2003) had a 1969 Camaro, 2009 Fast and Furious has a 1973 Camaro.
  • Dodge Charger: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry(1974),The Fast and the Furious (2001),Dukes of Hazzard(2005) – “The General Lee”
  •  Dodge Challenger: Vanishing Point(1971), 2 Fast 2 Furious(2003)
  • Scary Cars: Modified 1971 Lincoln Continental in The Car(1977), 1958 Plymouth Fury in Christine(1983) , 1954 Buick Roadmaster in From a Buick 8(Upcoming movie for 2009). 
  • Upcoming Car Themed movies for 2009 and beyond are:
    • From a Buick 8 ( Horror movie based on a scarily good Stephen King book expected in 2009)
    • Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen (The transformers sequel expected around June 2009)
    • Cars II (The sequel to Pixar Cars expected in 2012)
    • The Limit( A movie on Grand Prix racing with Toby Maguire expected in 2012)

    (Do check up on www.carsplusmovies.com for more updates. Its a great site with tonnes of car movie related links. I got the above list from there.)

    Download: You can download my list of movies as a free PDF file download. Do take a look and let me know if you come across any good car themed movie I may have missed from the list. Also do pass on the pdf to your friends who may be interested.



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Indian Market – New Vehicles Available (Part 1)

I have always been curious about the mass of information available in Auto magazines and the Internet on the various vehicle brands, models, variants, body-styles and price segments currently available in India.  I realized there was a lot of reference material available but nothing consolidated in one place. So I went about collecting as much as I could. So here it goes- My study on new vehicle types currently available for a buyer in the Indian market and primarily focused on Chennai. Most prices used are Chennai ex-showroom prices with some vehicles using a Mumbai price. I spent some time trying to categorize the vehicles by their price brackets and found it wasn’t easy to do but here’s my shot at it. 

A Maruti 800
Image via Wikipedia

 I call the various groups “segments” just to minimize confusion and they start at A with the cheapest and smallest vehicles with the least number of features and move through B, C and D where the cost , size and feature list increases.Beyond a price of 25 Lakhs I have called the segment as a “Z” segment which comprises the true luxury vehicles available in India.

The ASegment starts off currently with the Maruti 800 – but soon I will have to update it with the Tata Nano.

This grouping will be used all through my subsequent posts. Have a look at the following graph for the starting price points for the various segments and a more detailed sub section as well.