The iconic Hindustan Ambassador is set to be revived with a new report claiming that the new Ambassador is only 2 years away from hitting the roads.
The new report by the Times of India states that the new Ambassador, which is now owned by French carmaker Peugeot, will arrive in India in two years time. The newspaper claims that a joint venture between the Hind Motor Financial Corporation of India and Peugeot is working on the new Ambassador specifically the new design for the iconic car and the engine that will power the resurrected classic.
Speaking to the Times of India, Hindustan Motors director Uttam Bose stated that mechanical and design work for the new engine had reached an advanced stage and that work was underway to bring out the new look Ambassador 2.0.
The Ambassador was one the king of the Indian roads but the lack of any design changes and upgrades as well as the rise of more affordable mass-market cars from Maruti Suzuki and other carmakers meant that what was once considered India’s national car fell by the wayside. Le’s take a look into the history books and see how the first Amby came to rule the roads of India.
The first-ever car to wear the Ambassador badge was based on the 1956 Morris Oxford Series III. In 1957, Hindustan Motors signed an agreement with the British Motor Corporation to manufacture the Morris Oxford Series III. The company had earlier sold Morris Oxford Series II cars as the Hindustan Landmaster. The first-gen Hindustan Ambassador was in production from 1957 to 1962. Till 1959, the Ambassador used a 1,476cc side-valve petrol engine till it was replaced by a British Motor Corporation 1,489cc overhead-valve engine.
The second-gen Hindustan Ambassador was introduced in 1962. This new-gen Mark II Ambassador featured a new grille similar to the one found on the Morris Mini and a tweaked interior with a redesigned dash and instrument cluster. This model also spawned a short lived estate version in the 1970s with production ending in 1975.
The third-gen Hindustan Ambassador hit the streets of India in 1975 with a revised front end. This model was only available till 1979. For the 1977 and 1978 model years, the Ambassador Mark III was offered with a more powerful 1,760cc four-cylinder Morris engine that allowed the car to be fitted with an air conditioning system.
In 1979, the fourth-gen Ambassador Mark IV was launched in the country. This new Ambassador was the first diesel powered car for the Indian market though this model was at first reserved only for government officials and taxis. It was at the tail end of the Mark IV Ambassador’s life that Maruti Suzuki 800 was first introduced, a car along with other compact cars that eventually rang the death knell for the Amby.
In 1990, the fifth-gen Ambassador Nova was launched in India. Like the previous Mark IV car, the new Amby was offered with both petrol and diesel engine options. In 1992, Hindustan Motors introduced the Ambassador 1800 ISZ, which featured a 1,817cc Isuzu engine mated to a floor-mounted 5-speed manual gearbox. In 1998, this 1800 ISZ model gained the Classic name and was later on in its offered with engines ranging from 1.5 to 2.0-litres that ran on either petrol/CNG or diesel.
In 2003, the Ambassador Grand made its way onto the Indian roads and was followed a year later by the Avigo which featured quite a radical design change (at least with regards to the Ambassador lineup). In 2011, the introduction of new BS-IV norms saw the 1.5-litre diesel version get cut.
Hindustan Motors bought back a revised BS-IV compliant version of the engine in 2013’s Ambassador Encore. However, by that time, the writing was on the wall, with sales declining rapidly from 20,000 units annually in the 90s to just 2,000 units in 2014, Hindustan Motors pulled the plug on the Ambassador. In 2017, the Ambassador brand was sold to Peugeot for Rs 80 crore.
Thoughts On The New Ambassador
The new Ambassador promises to be a revival of what was once the king of India’s roads. Let’s hope this time with a bit of French design flair and ingenuity, the Amby finally makes its way back onto the roads it once ruled for good.