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Hindustan Reviews


Hindustan Motors was set up during WW2 in order to produce motor vehicles for the burgeoning Indian middle-classes. Because India was still very much a part of the British Empire, it was inevitable that ambitious industrialists based in India would look back to the homeland to provide the manufacturing technology and facilities. Successfully established, the company’s first product—the Hindustan Ten, based on the Morris Ten Series M—duly entered production in 1942. It marked the beginning of a long-lasting and fruitful relationship between Morris Motors and Hindustan.

During the early 1950s Hindustan extended its arrangement with Morris Motors by commencing production of the Morris Minor. Interestingly renamed the Baby Hindusthan (note the extra h at this point) for local consumption, the Minor would prove to be something of a success. The Morris Oxford II entered production in India in 1957 as the Hindusthan Landmaster, following its withdrawal from the UK market. The exercise was repeated with the Oxford III in 1959.

This arrangement made a lot of sense because the car’s tooling was moved lock, stock and barrel from the UK and it enabled Hindustan to produce the car very much on its own terms. This new model was named Ambassador, and would prove to be the mainstay of Hindustan’s production well into the new millennium. It was during the 1960s that the name reverted to Hindustan. The next new model would not arrive until 1980, when the Contessa (essentially, a localized version of the 1972 Vauxhall Victor FE) went into production after its tooling was sold to Hindustan Motors by General Motors.

Good: A nostalgic reminder of how cars used to be, still very much an Indian workhorse
Bad: The reality of how cars used to be - heavy, cumbersome, rust all too easily and badly built - and how they still are in the case of the Ambassador