Think of automobiles on the road, and your mind goes to some of the iconic vehicles that have held public attention and awe for the longest time. International legends may come and go, but our own desi automobile market has been filled with some of the best four wheelers that have held people’s awe. Here are 6 of the most iconic cars of all time on Indian roads:
Hindustan Motors rolled out the Ambassador in the 1950s. Undoubtedly fully deserving of the epithet of The King of Indian Roads, the car holds many childhood memories within even till date. It was, for the longest time, the official car of the governments, the official vehicle that ferried VIPs back and forth, and the ubiquitous taxi.
It wound down in numbers by 2000, with the turn of the new millennium, and its production has now been temporarily suspended.
- The Premier Padmini, or the Fiat 110 Delight
This was another biggie back in the day. Manufactured in India from 1964 to 2000 by Premier Automobiles Limited, the car was named Premier Padmini after a 14th Century Rajput Princess. It was based on the Fiat 1200 GranLuce Berlina, and debuted in India in 1964 with a 1089 cc four cylinder Petrol Engine.
A product of India’s collaboration with Japan, the Maruti Suzuki was a compact family car that revolutionised travel on four wheelers. It transformed the Indian automobile industry by creating a whole new economical transport system. With 31 years of operation, the Maruti 800 had the second largest production run, and sold close to 3,000,0000.
Hindustan Motors crafted the Contessa after the iconic GM Vauxhall Victor FE and rolled it out for the masses in 1984, in a bid to offer an upmarket product that would stand tall with its predecessor, the Ambassador. The luxury vehicle, as it was seen as, had a 49bhp 1.5 L BMC B-Series engine under the hood – which was the same as the engine that powered the Ambassador. It was discontinued in 2002.
Taking over from the Maruti Suzuki 800, the Santro was something of an elevated and a squarer version of the 8000. It was introduced worldwide as Hyundai Atos in 1997, but in India, entered as Santro, as the first offering to India’s automobile market from Hyundai. It was an instant hit, and offered full value for money. By 1999, it became the second largest automobile manufacturer, and crossed the 1mn mark in sales by the end of 2006.
The first generation of the Honda City in Indian markets was the world’s third generation from Honda’s factories. It was a charmer right away, winning hearts in the mid-size sedan segment. However, the petrol-only engine without versions for diesel made it difficult to sustain itself until 2014, when the diesel market became a new avenue for its exploration.
Although it is accepted and known that the Innova is the new Qualis, considering that Toyota decided to replace its line of Qualis cars with Innovas, the Qualis is still something most people enjoyed – what with its comfort, quality engine and stellar multi-purpose value.