Friday, February 18, 2011

Bombay Fiat: 1969 Premier Padmini

For the Fiat fan who thought he had everything....

The Premier Padmini was made under license in Bombay (now Mumbai) India by Premier Automobiles Limited. The car is essentially a Fiat 1100D, utilizing a 1098cc 4 cylinder motor. It is something of a cult car in India, having had a remarkable production run that stretched from the 1950's well through 1997. Like another cultural icon the London Taxi, the Padmini serves prominently in cab fleets throughout India even today. Indeed one has to ask...could there be more old Fiats on the road in Bangalore than Bologna?

Talk about a fish out of water- this Padmini popped up on Chicago Craigslist touting a complete restoration in India in 2008. It features aftermarket air conditioning (a great idea for India) and heat (a great idea for Illinois) and has been craftily converted from column shift to a more modern looking floor shift unit. The car was used just once since arriving on these shores (probably the exact moment that fantasy ownership met reality driveability) and will have to have its carb and fuel tank cleaned of varnished fuel. If everything checks out on the car, the asking price of $4500 is not out of line...and those that crave a relatively rare 1100 should try their Fiat with a bit of curry.

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