During a time when cars placed more emphasis on engineering prowess and mechanicals than aesthetics and features, there were ten popular cars that many adults of this generation grew up watching on the roads. These cars are listed below.
The Hindustan Ambassador was the first mass-accepted sedan in India. From bureaucrats to cab drivers, the Ambassador was a crowd favorite. Although it was available with noisy and sluggish engine options, the Ambassador was known for its back seat comfort and plush ride quality.
The Hindustan Contessa was the only hope for Indians to get a muscle car-like appeal reminiscent of popular offerings like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. This four-door saloon was introduced as a more modern alternative to the Ambassador, and even today, its old-school design commands impeccable respect.
The modern-generation people might not appreciate the old-school charm and aura of a Premium Padmini. This Indianized version of the Fiat 1100 was a preferred choice among celebrities in its heyday. Even in its last years of existence, it was the top pick among cab drivers for its comfortable ride quality.
The Maruti 800 started the trend of compact, affordable, and fuel-efficient cars, a formula that was an instant hit among first-time car buyers. The 800 was first introduced in 1983 and remained on sale for almost three decades, being the highest-selling car in the country during its entire lifespan.
Maruti Suzuki Zen
For those who wanted a more youthful and peppy-to-drive alternative over the 800, Maruti Suzuki quickly introduced the Zen to the Indian car market. The compact dimensions and the 1.0-litre petrol engine together were a great match that made it a hoot to drive.
Maruti Suzuki Esteem
The Esteem was Maruti Suzuki’s first attempt to offer a sedan with a touch of elegance and premium appeal. The three-box look of the Esteem was a hit among those who wanted to upgrade from an entry-level compact hatchback or wanted a premium sedan at an affordable price.
Maruti Suzuki Gypsy
The legacy of the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy isn’t hidden from anyone. The tales of its glory and mechanical prowess are relevant even among off-road motoring enthusiasts and men from defense services. The Gypsy was a niche off-roader, offering a proper four-wheel-drive system in compact footprints.
Not many of the current-generation people might have heard about Standard, an Indian brand that stopped its operations in the late 1980s. The Standard 2000 was the most popular offering from this brand. This large station wagon was plagued by an underpowered engine, but it offered an impressive road presence and space and practicality on the inside.
The Tata Estate was Tata Motors’ first attempt at making a station wagon. It was a heavily re-engineered version of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class station wagon, which is evident in the way it looks. The Estate was popular for the great sense of space it offered, though it failed as Indian car buyers were not a fan of station wagons.
The most popular MUV from Tata Motors ever, the Sumo offered the stance of an SUV and the practicality of an MPV. Over the years of its existence, the Tata Sumo was offered in multiple variants, all of which were popular in smaller towns and rural areas for their rugged appeal.