Few people in the world preserve and maintain their cars as well as the Parsis. The Parsis, one of the oldest communities in modern India, particularly those residing in and around Mumbai, are renowned for their impeccable upkeep of vintage cars from a bygone era. Among them is a 1957 Fiat 1100 Elegant owned by father and son duo, Fram and Anosh Dhondy, based in Mumbai.
In a YouTube video by DW Rev – Cars and Mobility, which showcases exceptionally well-preserved vintage cars, we came across a black 1957 Fiat 1100 Elegant. In the video, the current owner, 69-year-old Fram Dhondy, explains how he inherited the car from his father and how his son, Anosh Dhondy, learned to drive in this very Fiat 1100 Elegant.
The video reveals that the 66-year-old Fiat 1100 Elegant is not in its best condition. Although the car is still used as a daily driver by the father and son duo, it is mostly parked outdoors. As a result, signs of rust have appeared on the metallic and chrome parts, such as the headlamp and tail lamp surrounds and front grille. However, despite its age, the Fiat 1100 Elegant still runs smoothly for the most part since it is never left idle for extended periods.
Image credit: Cyrus Dhabar
The video also discloses that this particular Fiat 1100 Elegant surpassed the 9 lakh km mark on its odometer back in 1991, after which the current owners stopped keeping track of the distance covered. Fram also mentions that he has maintained a logbook throughout his ownership of this old Fiat. The logbook contains records of all maintenance and part replacements, including tire changes in the 1970s.
Fram explains why he has never considered parting ways with his beloved Fiat 1100 Elegant. According to him, although he has transitioned to newer generation cars, selling this old Fiat never crossed his mind. Despite some challenges in maintaining the car, Fram believes it has remained extremely reliable over the years. He proudly asserts that he has never experienced a breakdown or required a tow during his drives.
Imported to India and sold by Premier Automobiles Limited in the late 1950s, the Fiat 1100 Elegant features a 1.1-liter, 38 PS petrol engine paired with a 4-speed manual gearbox. While the Fiat 1100 Elegant may be a relic of the past, there are a few passionate car collectors like Fram Dhondy who continue to maintain and even drive these pristine vintage cars.