With the advent of the Indian automotive industry, many global players entered the scene. But it was not the same case a while ago. I am talking about the time when even Maruti Suzuki was not here. The time after independence! So, let’s take a look at 6 such imported cars in India that introduced Indians to modern automobiles.
India was at war with China in the year 1962. The army required a vehicle to be able to course through the rough terrains. And this is when the government decided to source 3500 Nissan Patrol Jonga from Japan. Then, in 1965, the Indian Army and Nissan had a deal of building the Jonga exclusively for the army. The company also sold around 100 of them to the general public. Indian Cricket Team’s former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni owns one of the Jongas.
A Detailed Look: Jonga | A Nissan Patrol made for the Indian Army
Fiat Millecento 1100
From a single look, you might mistake it with the Premier Padmini. Well, that’s due to the fact that Fiat’s 1100D, the successor of Millecento, was sold as Premier Padmini. Millecento too was imported by Premier in 1954. Fun Fact: The Millecento was known as ‘Dukkar Fiat’ which means Pig Fiat due to the rear end! The Millecento in the image has been modified by the owner but still, it carries the silhouette of the yesteryears.
Well, this actually came into the country before India’s independence. It is one of the few cars that the elite masses used for their use. Showcasing the luxury feel, Packard was meant to ooze the royal aura of elite owners this ride. You might see some of these at a vintage car rally or show now. this particular one has been restored to its glory by its owners.
The Japanese carmaker has been prominent in India since its inception with the launch of the Honda City sedan. Honda has always named their cars in accordance with their musical theme. Concerto is one of them. It was imported before Indians ever saw the Honda City being built in the country. It was not meant to be a luxury car, yet it had a good amount of features. And by features, this is what I mean: power windows, AC, central locking, power steering and more features that were not at all common at that time.
Honda Civic Shuttle
As far as I recall, the Civic is a sedan, right? Well, it was not always the same. Civic has come a long way from a hatchback, wagon and now a sedan. This particular Shuttle was a station wagon from Honda that came into existence in the 1980s. According to Carlicious, this is one of the 3 Civic Shuttles in India. With a 3-speed automatic, this car surely would have been a fun-to-drive car in its time.
Although Toyota was late to the party in India, many car importers started importing Toyotas in India and Starlet was one of them. The economy hatchback was prominent in European countries but never came to India. If it would have been here, Maruti 800 would surely have faced some danger.
And this is our first part of cars that came to India through a different route (The Silk Road of Imports) and introduced Indians to the global automotive standards. Do you know such cars? Do let us know in the comments section below.