As E&T news reported last week, Indian car-maker Hindustan Motors has announced the end of production of the Ambassador, India’s trademark vehicle which has barely changed since its introduction in 1958.
Hindustan Motos said weak demand and financial difficulties had been the main reason behind the decision.
The Ambassador, though now considered completely Indian, was modelled on the Morris Oxford III manufactured by Morris Motors, an Oxford-based company, between 1956 and 1959. The brand’s decline can be traced back to the 1980s when global automakers started setting up dealerships in India, offering cars with advanced design and better technology.
Kavitha Srinivasa, our Bangalore-based blogger who regularly writes her View From India column for E&T online, remembers the Ambassador fondly in a recent post:
The very thought of an Ambassador Car evokes nostalgic memories and a sense of belonging and dignity. That’s because bureaucrats and political bigwigs have been chauffeured in a white Ambassador with a red beacon on top. It has been a symbol of power. The iconic car has also been sought after by the armed forces.
A chauffeur driven Ambassador Car always stood out in the traffic. It’s understandable why it was called the king of Indian roads. After all, it was a status symbol. While the Ambassador remained a VIP car, it also evolved into a large family car, in this case, joint families. That’s because of its roomy interiors and boot space which made it ideal for long drives and outstation trips. The car was the final choice for rough terrains and came much before sports utility vehicles (SUVs) hit the Indian roads.
I’ve had many such pleasant drives. As a large extended family, we drove out of the city in the Ambassador during the Eighties. Come Sundays, and it was time for a picnic…
Read Kavitha’s rose-tinted Amby recollections in full on the E&T website.