Given that the Hindustan Ambassador is (was, actually) the ultimate living automotive fossils (built with limited changes from 1957-2014), it’s regrettable that we have not done them justice with a proper write up. But it’s going to have to wait, as I’m sitting in my van in Port Orford and the cell internet connection is slow. Well, that and the fact that it’s 9:30 at night and I’ve been outside all day.
So we’ll have to pay tribute to these two spotted and shot by Nathan Williams in London in an abbreviated way. The fact that they’re back in the UK is of course fitting, as the Ambassador is of course a 1955 Morris Oxford Series III whose tooling was sent to India in 1957, where it was put to good use cranking out almost one million Ambassadors for almost 60 years.
Actually, Roger Carr covered a fair bit of the Oxford’s transformation into the Ambassador and its evolution in his thorough Oxford CC. In a nutshell, the Ambassador soldiered along solely with the Oxford’s 1489 cc B-Series BMC engine for some decades, augmented eventually by a diesel version (with 37 hp) and then in 1979 with a much zippier Isuzu 1.8 L SOHC four. And eventually Isuzu diesels, bot NA and turbocharged rounded out the power train options. But the venerable 1.5 L B-Series was still available until not many years before the end of production.
This pink one looks to be from the 80s or 90s; I can’t readily tell. And it’s been decorated in the style that is popular in India, especially with truckers.
It’s even got plastic flowers on its bumper; the Indian version of 5 mph safety bumpers?
Ambassadors are now very collectible, and the early ones with their gas motors have become somewhat rare. Not many are still at work as taxis; even less so as private cars. These two clearly show the future of the Ambassador. Get ’em while they’re still relatively cheap.