AL Intercentury Luxura spotted testing in Chennai again

One space in the crowded automotive spectrum which still does not have too many players jostling for space is the luxury inter-city bus segment. Volvo, by virtue of being the first and until very recently the only entrant into that lucrative segment has monopolized it completely. Strangely, Tata and Ashok Leyland, the two Indian majors have not been able to launch a fitting model that could compete with the mighty Volvos. The Intercentury Luxura from Ashok Leyland, with its body built by Irizar-TVS, which was expected to take the fight to the Volvos long back has still not seen the light of the day completely for some reasons.
This isn't the first time we are seeing the Intercentury Luxura being tested in Chennai. We had a post a few months back when a dark-tinted white Luxura was attracting attention in one of the arterial roads in Chennai. Here it is again, seen in the GST Road, presumably undergoing final rounds of testing. Owing to its age, the exterior design is nothing to write home about, especially when its vying for passengers from Volvo and Mercedes-Benz. It would be better if Ashok Leyland can slightly spruce up the design before launch. Sadly, just like in previous spotting, the dark tinted glasses made sure that the interiors remain hidden.
With Ashok Leyland still choosing to be tight-lipped about its launch date, the Volvos can continue unabated for some more time with absolutely no competition to speak of, even on paper.


Travelogue #2 - Chennai to Vellore Sripuram

The hectic mechanical life that we all live and are pretty much used to for 5, or in some cases 6 days a week, makes that odd day or two at the end of each week extra special. While its true that most people would like to stay in the cozy comfort of their drawing room sofas, the explorers amongst us would love to take a short spin to a nearby popular destination to make the weekend refreshing.

If that place is close enough so that we can be back on the same day, its good. If it happens to be calm, serene and beautiful so that its pleasing to both our heart and our mind, its an added pleasure. If it also happens to be a place of worship, it just makes it all the more easier for us to convince people and plan a visit. All the above and something more is what the Sri Narayani Peedam, more popularly known as Golden Temple at Thirumalaikodi near Vellore signifies.

Its close enough from both Chennai and Bangalore, the two hot spots of activity in South India, its beautiful, its incredibly well maintained and peaceful and above all it oozes with spirituality. Mobile phones and cameras are strictly not allowed and so you are allowed to capture the beauty only in your eyes. The star shaped pathway with inscriptions on both sides depicting the virtues of life acts as a perfect backdrop.

But the real thing is just about to come. The sanctum-sanctorum, both the exterior and interior of which are completely made out of gold foils glows and shines in the sunlight in all its resplendent glory. People say that its actually much more beautiful in the evenings with all the lights focusing on it. Visit the place to experience it and I swear that its images will stay in your eyes and mind not only on the day of the visit but forever.


  • Total No of Days - 1 (14.11.2010)
  • Vehicle Make & Model: Hyundai Santro Xing
  • Odometer Start Reading - 55128 km
  • Odometer End Reading - 55417 km
  • Total Distance Traveled - 289 km
  • Total Quantity of Fuel filled - 20 l
  • Average Fuel Consumption - 14.45 km/l
  • Net Worth of Fuel filled - 1204.40 Rs
  • Destinations Covered - Thirumalaikodi (Golden Temple)
  • Route Followed: Chennai-Sriperumbudur-Kanchipuram-Vellore-Thirumalaikodi



London's all-new Routemaster unveiled

You have to hand it over to the citizens of the West for the way in which they take pride and ownership over anything vintage and classic. The above statement is inclusive of public transport also, the prime examples being the London Bus and the London Taxi, both of which enjoys a cult following across the world, more so in UK. After decades of service, they have become symbols of London so much so, that the itinerary of most of the tourists visiting London would have a planned trip in the London Bus (actually called the Routemaster) as a standard fixture.

It seems that one of the election manifestos of the current Mayor of London, Mr. Boris Johnson was the reintroduction of the Routemaster in a modern yet classic avatar. True to his words, the Mayor recently unveiled the full-size mock-up of the all-new Routemaster at the London Transport Museum. To be made by Wright Bus, a UK based coach-maker and all set to enter service in 2012, these new double-decker buses will fill the void left by the classic Routemasters once they were stopped from service in 2005 and confined to do duty on a couple of heritage routes in the city in limited numbers.

The new Routemaster stays true to its predecessor and lives up to the heritage of its brand. It has been modeled after the classic original with modern yet retro styling cues bringing in much needed style and flair in an extremely good-looking package. The standout feature will be an open platform at the rear of the bus thus allowing passengers to really get a 'Hop-On Hop-Off' experience. The circular LED headlights look wow while the rear design looks less convincing. Any which way it is, the new Routemaster will reignite the passion and pride of Londoners for which the old buses were so famous for.

Image Source: Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org) & Wright Bus (www.wrightbus.com)


Land Rover produces and donates 1 Millionth Range Rover

It requires some guts apart from loads of commitment and hard work to try and do something which has not been done before. And, if you succeed in the attempt, you stand a very good chance of your creation becoming iconic and legendary. Land Rover managed to do just that when, for the first time ever, it blended ultimate luxury with extreme off-road capabilities into a single package in the form of Range Rover. But, even Land Rover would not have guessed that the Range Rover would come this far.

Having pioneered the luxury SUV, the Range Rover, for a whooping 40 years, has literally ruled the segment with no real competition to speak of. On Nov-4-2010, the 1 Millionth Range Rover was built at Land Rover's Solihull Plant and the company celebrated the event by donating the vehicle to Help for Heroes, a charity organization. The model which did the honors was a top-of-the-line Range Rover Vogue Autobiography Edition which will be auctioned off and the proceedings donated to the above said organization.

At a time when, barring a few, most of the automotive designs are becoming dated and being refreshed almost every year or so, the mighty Rangie has continued for so long with very few changes in its basic shape. That speaks volumes about the timeless, classic and unmistakable design it is endowed with. Starting from the first-generation Classic in 1970 through the second-generation model in 1994 to the third-generation model in 2001, the Range Rover has maintained its top virtue of combining the best of both worlds - uncompromising luxury and off-road ability.

The Range Rover line-up is all set to be joined by the stunning new Evoque in 2011. It only adds to the excitement that this feat is achieved by Land Rover under the ownership of our very own Tata.


2011 Indian GP Countdown begins

People seem to be really crazy at times. Take for instance those who would love to own and drive super-fast sports cars but are against Formula 1 racing. ‘What an irony?’ you would think, but, they have their own set of so-called logic and reasons. The prime reason is that it’s a total waste of precious fuel. This being said, I don’t see anyone conserving and consciously saving every drop of fuel that they could. The other most commonly heard reason is that it’s not men-dependent but machine-dependent and hence not fit to be classified as a sport. I bet those who said this statement would not have watched the still fresh-in-memory 2009 Belgian GP where Kimi Raikkonen and Luca Badoer drove similar-speced Ferraris, but finished first and last, the latter, with all due respect to him, also enjoying an incident-free race like the former but still finished where he did.

Any which way it is, India, after years of speculation of whether it will or it won’t, has finally joined the list of nations hosting an F1 race and the 2011 Indian Grand Prix is all set to burn the adrenaline rush of many die-hard F1 fans in the sub-continent, myself included. Amidst increasing doubts of whether its going to go the 2010 CWG way, which by the way, much to the shock and surprise of the entire world, started and ended in a spectacularly grand manner, the inaugural Indian F1 race is scheduled on October-30-2011 at the Greater Noida circuit near Delhi, being developed by the Jaypee Group. With the addition of India along with the new for 2010 Korea, the 2011 F1 calendar now stands extended to an unprecedented and historically long 20 rounds.

The fact that the 2010 F1 season, being proclaimed by many as one of the best F1 seasons ever, is headed towards a thrilling and dramatic finish with 5 drivers still in contention for the championship with just 2 races to go will only add to the excitement and enthusiasm of the fans and organizers alike. We can only hope and wish that the organizers get everything ready on time unlike this year’s Korean Grand Prix, the presence of which in the 2010 F1 calendar was confirmed just two weeks before the actual event happened on October-24-2010. Here begins the countdown to make my dream of watching Ferraris, McLarens, RedBulls and Force Indias live in action come true.