First, a quick refresher. The legendary cars that stole our hearts but left us we have here are the Hindustan Ambassador, Tata Sierra, HIndustan Contessa, Maruti 800, Maruti Omni, Maruti Gypsy and Zen. Phew – four of them are from Maruti! Tells us how much Maruti dominated our automotive market.
Hindustan Ambassador – coming back!
The Hindustan Ambassador – The King of Indian roads! Back in the day, it was a common sight in every city – from being a family sedan, to a VIP ride, to even a taxi. It was based on the Hindustan Landmaster and was made from 1956 to 2014. Since sales went down and production stopped, the Ambassador has become a legendary car. But lately, it’s been making a comeback due to the wave of nostalgia. Rumor has it that it might make a return as an electric vehicle, with digital renders circulating on the internet.
Also read: Forgotten Tata cars and SUVs: from Sierra to Bolt
We ourselves have published several of these renders and much speculation. But as of now, it is almost a certainty that work on a new Ambassador is going on. The Hind Motor Financial Corporation of India (HMFCI) and Peugeot have started working on the design and the engine of the Ambassador. Unless something surprising happens, we are now on track for an Ambassador re-birth!
Hindustan Contessa – Not much chance, so far
The Hindustan Motors was not just a family car maker! They also made a muscle car for car enthusiasts. The Contessa was produced from 1984 to 2002 and was a major player in the movie scene, becoming a symbol of style both on and off the screen. It was priced between Rs. 4.84 lakh and Rs. 5.42 lakh. Unfortunately, sales started to drop when more fuel-efficient models from other brands entered the Indian market.
We have so far seen no concrete news on a rebirth for the Contessa in India. Trademark has been filed for the Contessa name by the same guys above, but that’s it. There is no official word on the Contessa yet. We think that it might be a few years away, if at all.
Tata Sierra – Coming back, and HOW!
The Tata Sierra – India’s first real SUV! It was based on the Tata Telcoline and had the same front and engine. The Sierra was made for the average consumer, and it was one of Tata’s early attempts at personal transportation. With its unique three-door design and Alpine windows in the back, the Sierra was truly one of a kind. At the 2020 AutoExpo, Tata revealed a new electric concept car – a modern take on the beloved Sierra.
And the Sierra is now confirmed. It would first appear as an EV – the Sierra.EV but would also be available with an ICE powertrain. The Sierra.EV made its almost production version appearance during the recently concluded 2023 Auto Expo. The audience was thrilled, and so were automobile enthusiasts and journalists. The new Sierra would appear on Indian roads in 2024
Maruti Gypsy – Not coming back, but the Jimny is already here!
Let’s talk about another iconic SUV – the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy! This little guy was the go-to for everyone from the armed forces (for patrolling) to off-roading enthusiasts. Its lightweight 4×4 design and high and low gears made it ready for anything. Sadly, civilian production of the Gypsy stopped in 2018, but it’s still going strong for the military.
Maruti revealed the 5-door Jimny for India at the 2023 Auto Expo. The Gypsy is not coming back, yes. But its spiritual successor, the Jimny, definitely is. It may even be used by the army, if rumours are to be believed. The Jimny is far, far modern than the bare-bones Gypsy and bookings are going strong for the Jimny, at the rate of around 1000 a day!
Maruti 800 – Nope
The Maruti Suzuki 800 – the people’s car of India! Based on Suzuki’s trusty 800cc F8B engine, it was in production from 1983 until 2014. This city car was a real contender against the Hindustan Ambassador and Premier Padmini. In the 90s, it became a pop-culture phenomenon, with movies even centering around it. For many working-class families in India, the Maruti Suzuki 800 was the first car they ever owned.
The Maruti 800 was a game-changer in the Indian automotive industry. Its affordability, fuel efficiency, and reliability made it accessible to a huge segment of the population. It was small enough to navigate through busy city streets but spacious enough to comfortably fit a family of four. The Maruti 800 was more than just a car, it was a symbol of upward mobility and a step towards a better life for many Indians. It’s no wonder why this little car holds a special place in the hearts of so many people.
Suzuki Zen – Nope!
The Suzuki Zen was a hot hatch that packed a punch with its G10B engine. Racers loved modifying it to make even more power, over 100 PS. The handling was like a go-kart, super responsive and a blast to drive. Sadly, it got replaced by the Estilo, but the original Zen will always be remembered for its fun factor.
Maruti Suzuki’s second car was a follow-up to the 800, using the same engine. It started out as the Maruti Suzuki Van, then got a name change. This iconic van was everywhere, from movies to taxis to ambulances. It even carried cargo. Despite attempts to make it eco-friendly, it got replaced by the Eeco and eventually discontinued. It’d be cool to see an electric version of this versatile vehicle.
Maruti Omni – Nope again.
Maruti Suzuki’s second car was a follow-up to the 800, using the same engine. It started out as the Maruti Suzuki Van, then got a name change. This iconic van was everywhere, from movies to taxis to ambulances. It even carried cargo. Despite attempts to make it eco-friendly, it got replaced by the Eeco and eventually discontinued. It’d be cool to see an electric version of this versatile vehicle. Some artists created renders, but that’s about it. We doubt if a car like this will pass crash tests of today easily either.
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