The Hindustan Ambassador is the automotive equivalent of the Taj Mahal. For nearly six decades since its introduction in the late Fifties, the Ambassador has been as much of an icon in India as any landmark. Sadly though, Hindustan Motors’ inability to modernise it over the years meant it failed to stand up to the challenge posed by the onslaught of much more refined international models in post-liberalisation India.
If there was anyone in India who could have helped Hindustan Motors take the fight to the newbies, at least in terms of design, it was Dilip Chhabria, inarguably the country’s best known car customiser. In fact, his super luxury, V12-powered concept car dubbed Ambierod whipped up a frenzy among Amby fans when it was revealed in 2008. However, none of the concepts materialised and the beloved Ambassador died a quiet death in 2014. Since production ceased, the ‘King of Indian roads’ has been reduced to being taxis in a handful of cities, with even ministers and bureaucrats ditching it for posher rides.
Now, Dilip Chhabria’s DC2 Design has released images of a new concept based on the Ambassador. Digitally visualised as an electric car, the concept Amby manages to look modern and decidedly upscale, with hints of Rolls-Royce styling, especially out back. However, it also manages to keep the Ambassador’s historical styling elements intact, such as the prominent horizontal grille, the undulating bonnet with a nose bulge, and the rounded roof.
Based on the Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was first made in the UK from 1956 to 1959, and later the Hindustan Ambassador became the first-ever car to be manufactured in India. In 2017, the PSA Group acquired the Ambassador brand, as part of a deal with then owners CK Birla Group.