The Ambassador has been around forever. It was the ultimate government car, used even by Prime Ministers, all the down to district collectors. It lives on in our memories as our vacation car, wedding car, local taxi. And it may come again in the next few years, from Peugeot who now owns the brand.
Not really a performance car, not really a luxury car. But the design, the shape captivated Indians. FInally we had an option, a choice - other than Premier Padmini and Ambassador. The Contessa promised luxury and power, and it did - by the standards of the 80s. It is still beloved as a 'muscle' car by some enthusiasts in India.
If Contessa was luxury, Standard 2000 promised super luxury and performance. Well, it promised. It did not deliver. For a short period, the Standard 2000 was the car every enthusiast dreamed of. It was slow, painful to maintain - and while much loved, is far better as a dream car than a car to own!
The Premier Padmini lived on, for a very long time. It was the young family's car, the single guy's car, and the taxi that every Mumbai rode around in for almost 3 decades! The Premier Padmini is still running around India, owned by devoted enthusiasts.
The car that put India on the road. Automobiles were democratised, thanks to the little Maruti 800. Suddenly, cars became a dream that can be achieved in real life. The tiny car made every middle-class Indian of the 1980s dream of owning one - and lakhs of them did. Most of us learned driving in a Maruti 800, after all! The 800 is still visible on the road occasionally.