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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST
The Fiat SB1100.


Look at this car carefully. If I was to tell you that this fanatical piece here, in actuality, is a Fiat Premier Padmini, would you believe it?

Wouldn't you just sit there, mouth wide open, gaping at the sheer ingenuity of the idea, one that has now become Fiat's most beautiful car ever: the SB1100.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST
This is what it looked like before the makeover...

"Every time I saw a Fiat 1100 D or a Premier Padmini, I would see lines beyond the black-and-yellow exterior," says Bijoy Kumar Y in his book Instant Carma, "I always thought the Padmini was hiding a little red sports car."

'Thinking' about making a sports car is easy; all it takes is some mind-churn. But 'making' a car would you even encourage that thought?

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

But Bijoy and Sanjeev Mestry, managing director, Sanva Motors did just that. They fashioned a sports car from a Padmini with such precision that you'd blink twice if I told you it was hand-made right here in India.

In March 2010, from bare sketches and a lot of paperwork, Project SB1100 began. After months of looking for an old Premier Padmini, one owned by Sudhir Shah in Andheri fit the bill.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

It was taken to Sanva Motors at Thane and put to task. A lot of planning and some more paperwork ensued.

Bit by bit, part by part, the car began to actualise. The idea was to make a sports car, one that not only looked but also felt and behaved like one.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

A few colour schemes were discussed before the flaming red and silver was chosen. A rally spec engine producing 60 to 85bhp was customised.

The car lost the top and the B and C pillars; a space frame was built to maintain lost strength and rigidity. The column shift stayed and a few inches were torn off the waistline.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

In went those red and black leather seats, four-point red seat belts, a sporty steering, bullet mirrors, and a panel with several cute-looking switches for lights and indicators, the tiniest rear-view mirror and much more.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

Many test runs and a few breakdowns later the SB1100 was finally road ready.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

When the team at Sanva Motors' first met the car, she was just another Padmini. But in December, when she went on road for the first time as SB1100 -- she had grown into a true sports car.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

You, me, we have always wanted to be in a sports car of our childhood dreams. But you need to be more than an enthusiast to want to endure the process of making one.

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From Premier Padmini to the lovely SB1100!

Last updated on: February 2, 2011 11:28 IST

One man, his dream, a dedicated team, endless patience and nine months later something old was turned into something original and beautiful and the result is now there for the world to see.