Found & bought my family’s Ambassador: Plan to restore & ship it to US

I learnt to drive in this 1986 car. Sadly, it was sold in 2006 after my uncle tragically passed away. I had vowed to find it and restore it.

BHPian AmbyLSX recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello TeamBHP,

Iโ€™m excited to share a personal project that I’ve been chasing for years, and I could really use your expertise.

Quick intro

I’m based in the U.S. but my roots are in Ooty and Coimbatore, India. I learned to drive in a 1986 Ambassador with my uncle. Sadly, the car was sold in 2006 after he tragically passed away, but I vowed to find it and restore it. Fast forward to today, I’ve finally located and purchased that very Ambassador. It’s currently at my family home in Coimbatore, and I’ve attached a photo for reference.

I’m committed to restoring the car to its original condition and am open to shipping it anywhere within India to ensure top-quality work. Do you have recommendations on specialists or shops I should reach out to?

As a thank you for any advice you can offer, I’m more than happy to assist anyone here with automotive parts or expertise from the U.S., as I’m an enthusiast who also races (spec miata, WRL endurance series).

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

Restoring an Ambassador, Padmini, Mahindra Jeep or similar vehicles is a relatively simple exercise. Parts still aren’t that tough to find, there is ample jugaad possible & the cars are mechanically very simple. Be sure to only go for top-quality labour & endless dollops of rust-proof treatment (use Wurth products).

I like the work Viraat does at his garage in Delhi. He is also BHPian Viraat13.

You must go through the restoration threads of Ambassadors & Landmasters for additional tips & advice.

You are very lucky that the USA has made it possible to import cars over 25-years old.

Here’s what BHPian justin.das had to say about the matter:

Which Engine and GB is your car running On? Diesel or Petrol? Try contacting Being Vintage. Location : Trivandrum , Kerala

Here’s what BHPian dhanushs had to say about the matter:

First of all, congratulations on getting back the very same car. You are extremely lucky that an Amby today is not scrapped. Even my F-I-L had an amby which he wanted to keep for long, but ended up scrapping it.

As for restoring, I would advise you to spend the same amount of effort you put into tracking the car and buying it, into finding out a good garage. Let Team-BHP be a good start for that.

Also, note that most times restorations mostly focus on the cosmetic element as that’s what shows the money’s worth. However, please go that extra mile to even engineer the car to mechanical perfection. Only then you will have the cake and can eat it too.

Here’s what BHPian sandeepmdas had to say about the matter:

I learnt to drive in a 1980 Amby Mark 3 in 1986, in Kerala. In those days, Coimbatore was considered as the best place in India to “dieselize” and air-condition the Amby. In fact, immediately after my driving lessons, the Mark 3 petrol was converted to Matador Diesel, a King (or National) AC was fitted, radiator was changed, the front bench seat was replaced with 2 bucket seats, column-shift gear lever was replaced with “platform gear”, a Pioneer Stereo cassette player was fitted and all glasses were changed to tinted ones. Repainted and also treated with some MRF anti-rust product. There were two proud decals in the boot when she returned: Power Brake and A/c No Hand Signal Only to be sold in 1990, due to bad times.

Everything was done in Coimbatore, all the above. Where have gone all those expert “mestris” and master mechanics? I don’t know about the current situation in Coimbatore, but I sincerely hope some of those legendary workshops are still there.

Here’s what BHPian Geo_Ipe had to say about the matter:

As someone who has used a 1979 Ambassador in the recent past, I’ll be able to throw some light here.

Working on the Ambassador isn’t too difficult yet, I had 3 different mechanics who were competent in what they did in Vellore, a smaller town than Coimbatore.

Mechanical restoration will depend on what engine + gearbox the car has. A lot of 80’s Ambassadors currently have the Matador diesel, which is quite an efficient and easy-to-maintain motor. If your car has the original column shifter, you’ll need a mechanic who has worked on those before, which are available aplenty in Coimbatore.

As far as the exterior trims & cosmetics are concerned, you’ll have to do a lot of hunting for original parts like the Mark 4 specific grille, steering wheel etc. Sellers are already quoting exorbitant prices for these items and once they know you’re an NRI, they’ll most definitely try to rip you off further!

I’m not sure if you’re planning to be in Coimbatore for the restoration process or if you’re planning to execute the whole thing remotely from the US. If the latter is the case, you may be better off approaching shops which specialise in these matters, instead of asking someone to do mechanic hopping. Waiting for more pictures and the list of work to be done on the car, so that people can advise you better.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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