After cricket, cars are the second hot topic of discussion. Well, there are small cars and big cars, legendary cars and to so good cars. And then there are cars that help make Independent India that it is today. These vehicles range from different classes and are from various segments. In no particular order here are a few of our picks.
Hindustan Motors Ambassador
After independence, HM began to manufacture cars based on the ones from Morris Motors. In 1957, India got its first legendary vehicle, HM Ambassador that was based in the Oxford Series of Morris. The first generation of Ambassador was powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine that could churn out a 55hp of power. This HM served Indian till 2013 with a BS4 upgrade, later after which it was discontinued.
In 1964, Premier brought in the Fiat 1100 Delight, the first-ever real competition to the Hindustan Motor’s Ambassador. The 1100D was more modern more fuel-efficient and easier to drive. It became a hit amongst youngsters, celebrities, gents, ladies, and indeed everybody.
Mahindra Thar (first Indian off-roader)
Mahindra began producing Willys CJ3A jeep in 1949. This was the first-ever offroader to be made by the company. CJ3A was a 4-wheel drive offroader that was introduced for the Indian audience. Within a span of 4 years, the CJ3A was upgraded to CJ3B by Willys after it was bought by Kaiser Motors. This generation of CJ was licensed to Mitsibushi in Japan and Mahindra and Mahindra in India.
Maruti Suzuki 800
A car that needs no introduction at all, and if it does, then you know nothing about the Indian automobile industry. One of the longest production cars in India, 800 was the first offering from the company. At that time, the market was dominated by the likes of HM Ambassador and Premier Padmini. Maruti 800 was launched back in 1983 and was discontinued in 2014, 31 years after ruling the roads. This car remained the highest selling car till 2004 only to be defeated by its own sibling, the Alto.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
A long run of more than 30 years is enough to tell how successful the offroading machine, Maruti Gypsy was. The four-wheel-drive car that was based on the Suzuki Jimny as been popular amongst the youth of India. People have been known to love it, especially for its extraordinary offroading capabilities. It has also been famous amongst the rally car racers. The Gypsy can be credited with the vanishing of Premier Padmini in the rally car racing.
Hindustan Motors Contessa
When it comes to talking about cars, one of my favorite types of cars is the muscle ones. The brute force, the elemental stance, and the luxury comfort, all at one place. Carmakers like Ferrari, Ford, and many more are known for building muscle cars around the world. Amongst these brands is Hindustan Motors. India’s very own brand, known for the Ambassador is also known for India’s indigenous muscle car, the Contessa. HM Contessa was India’s first luxury sedan based on the Vauxhall VX series.
What makes you say that a particular car has had an immensely successful run? It is when you still see the first-gen of the car which came out 22 years ago blazing down the highway. Yes, the Hyundai Santro is amongst the few cars in the Indian Market which have had such a phenomenal run. A typical Indian car buyer has always looked for something which could stick around for decades and could still hold utility for them, the Santro sure has been one such name in the Indian Automotive scene.
India was flooded with cars back in the late 1990s. Maruti Suzuki’s WagonR, Hyundai’s Santro, Premier’s Padmini, HM’s Ambassador, and many other cars were rolling on the Indian roads. But something was still missing. Indians wanted more car per car. Tata Motors heard them. And there it was, the Tata Indica. The fully indigenously grown 5-door hatchback that ruled the segment for almost 20 years.
The first LCV from TELCO (Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) was launched in 1988 under the name of Tata mobile 206 pick-up truck. Sierra can be dubbed as a closed version of Tata Telcoline (another name for 206). This Tata was also the first car from the company for private transport. It had to be unique and powerful. Talking about the body, it had a 3-door design. The SUV was a rear-wheel-drive SUV with 4WD as an option too.
So, here were the cars that made Indian what this amazing country it is today. Tell us in the comment section which is your favorite car.
Happy Indipendence Day,