The modern Indian road may have made many new friends coming off Maruti, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota families, but what was once a pride of these roads- the Hindustan Ambassador, which is rarely to be seen nowadays- has been tagged ‘the world’s best taxi’ by global automotive program Top Gear. In a BBC-aired show, Top Gear’s executive director Richard Hammond hosted a world taxi shootout in which Ambassador emerged almost indestructible, beating competitors spanning all over the globe. UK-based motor museum Beaulieu, where the ‘World of Top Gear’ featuring auto-mobiles are on showcase, issued the statement- “The winner was India’s virtually indestructible Hindustan Ambassador.” It’s so tough that it could probably be back in service tomorrow, it added.
The Hindustan Ambassador came to life in Britain as the Morris Oxford, but a quick name change ensured it becoming one of India’s most enduring vehicles. It was in 1948 when CK Birla Group firm Hindustan Motors Ltd commenced the production of the Ambassador at Uttarpara in Hooghly district, West Bengal. The Ambassador remained the ultimate status symbol till the time when Maruti made an entrance in the early 80s. Though it lost out to several global brands, it continued to make a mark as THE favourite vehicle for government officials, and even in the taxi segment.