Ambassador: The curvy car which was once the icon of Indian roads

From being the vehicle of choice for politicians to bureaucrats to serving as taxis for tourists, the Ambassador, the first ‘Made in India’ car, was once ubiquitous on Indian roads. Will it gain a new lease of life after its sell out to Peugeot? In images
  • The curvy Ambassador once ruled India’s roads and for years was the only car driven by politicians and senior government officials. Popularly known as the ‘Amby’, the car which was designed on Britain’s long-defunct Morris Oxford, rolled off the assembly line in 1957. Arvind Yadav/Hindustan Times.
  • Hindustan Motors, India’s oldest car maker, stopped production of the Ambassador in 2014 citing mounting debt and lack of demand. The decline of the Ambassador started in the late 1960s and early 1970s when it failed to evolve technologically, thanks largely to the protectionist policies followed by the then Congress govt. Ramesh Pathania/Mint.
  • The Ambassadors which was manufactured in the West Bengal town of Uttarpara on the banks of the Hooghly river till 2014, look largely the same as early models. (Above) Kolkata’s iconic yellow Ambassador taxis. Madhu Kapparath/Mint
  • The once ubiquitous car is now mostly seen as rickety “metre-taxis” in Kolkata, struggling to stay afloat in competition against app cabs. Indranil Bhoumik/Mint
  • Painter Nitin Mukul and family with their Ambassador Grand at their family estate in Civil Lines in Delhi. Spurred by liberalization and reforms in 1991, the Indian market saw a flood of vehicles, symbolizing new-found choice and economic freedom. Madhu Kapparath/Mint
  • Designer Manish Arora poses with his black ambassador. Madhu Kapparath/Mint
C.K. Birla group, the owners of Hindustan Motors, has sold its Ambassador car to France’s Peugeot for just Rs80 crore, capping a spectacular downfall for a vehicle once emblematic of the country’s political class.