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Old 14th August 2020, 13:38   #1
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Default An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Ambassador, an emotion!

The saddening news of Ambassador's (Amby) production being stopped by Hindustan Motors, led me to jot this down.

My oldest memories as a kid who was taken out on his first drive by his dad lurks around the grand old Ambassador - 1968 Mark II. Incidentally, my most nostalgic childhood photograph has me portrayed sitting on the bonnet of my dad's white Amby. I, as a kid, used to sit on my dad's lap and insisted on taking control of the steering. With my little arms, stretched all out to reach the steering wheel and ABC pedals and with a sense of pride, ostensibly, drove it. No wonder, I learned driving on an Amby itself. I forgot when had I ignored the very first item in my wish-list - to own an Amby. I deliberately used the word "own", because, anyone with money can buy a car or bike; but only a passionate buyer can own few things like an Amby or a Bullet.

If you ask any veteran driver from last generation about the versatility of an Amby, the first thing he will point out, for sure, is its load carrying capacity and ease of repair. I remember going to marriages with extended family stuffed in our car. As I remember, it used to be eleven people at times. Also, you might have seen, at least once, Amby plying, mostly on airport roads, with open dickey carrying huge loads like a refrigerator. The next thing will obviously be its ability to be taken for an off-road ride. Yeah, Ambys did that considerably well without the 4x4 mechanism. The ground clearance was ideal for most of the country roads in India. Our Amby, while on a family trip, had met with a gross accident - a head on collision with a Jeep - following which we sold it. One should remember that Indians had not heard of safety features such as seat-belts or air-bags in the 80s. It is worth to mention that none of my family (neither did the passengers in the Jeep) sustained any serious injury. I'm pretty sure that my family had survived such an accident only because of the all metal build of Amby. Cars in those days used to have solid-metallic bumpers at the front and rear. And for that matter, none of the so called middle class family car sold in India today will stand up to that mark of solid build, read it strength, set by the Amby. Most of the mechanics with basic tools could repair an Amby. It was a blessing when compared to the hassles (read procedure/formalities) at the ASCs these days. Spare parts were available at all local parts shops unlike exclusive dealerships of these days.

No fan of Amby can forgive Hindustan Motors, the manufacturer of our Amby for letting it die. HM, if had revitalized the Amby with latest technology in its mechanicals could have prolonged its life. I'm sure that if they could infuse life into Amby and bring it back to the middle class Indian customer, it will out sell all those small coffins with wheels that major manufacturers in India are selling.

I am crossing my fingers and waiting for HM to relaunch an all new Amby with a better and powerful engine, an improved braking system, a better heat-insulated interior, a more agile suspension, mechanicals that do not squeak when revved hard, a better HVAC system, a futuristic dashboard and the very old spring-loaded cushioned sofa-style back seat, while retaining the original body-style. Have you ever noticed the fact, that the chrome accent, that today's cars carry (to have a premium look), most fitted on a white or black Amby? Yes; if not, take a look at those Ambys driven around in Indian capital cities carrying the who is who of our defense establishments and governments. No Tom, Dick and Harry (read Merc, Audi and BMW) can equal the Amby when it comes to equate the (political power or aristocratic lineage) status in the minds of ordinary Indians.

Itís a very simple and ordinary car. And thatís the beauty about it.

P.S.: It's my first post in TBHP.
Requesting moderator to move it to appropriate forum, if this doesn't belong here.
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Old 14th August 2020, 17:05   #2
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Default re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Good thread. Amby was an easy and fuss free vehicle. Like you mentioned, any mechanic with a simple tool kit could open and repair it. Also, it had the cheapest and most easily available spares. But in my honest opinion, I don't think it has the following or the muscle (read specs) to get a re-launch and still make it to the list of discussed brands in India. Many people who like it wouldn't invest in it. I personally have a few memories with the Amby but if you ask me whether I would buy it? - probably not!
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Old 14th August 2020, 18:02   #3
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Default re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkunnithan View Post

I am crossing my fingers and waiting for HM to relaunch an all new Amby with a better and powerful engine, an improved braking system, a better heat-insulated interior, a more agile suspension, mechanicals that do not squeak when revved hard, a better HVAC system, a futuristic dashboard and the very old spring-loaded cushioned sofa-style back seat, while retaining the original body-style.
Unnithane,
Welcome to the forum!
I can very much relate to your emotions.
I've acquired a Nova recently. Doing it up in Coimbatore.
Octavia 1.9tdi engine (with turbo, intercooler et all), disc brakes all around, got an old Opel Astra for pittance, using it as the donor most electricals (Power windows, Power steering, dashboard and controls - A/C and stuff), custom panhard rods to balance out the suspension, Gypsy wheels, green tinted glass, and its going to be black.

Last edited by jeeva : 14th August 2020 at 18:03.
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Old 14th August 2020, 19:19   #4
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Default re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkunnithan
I am crossing my fingers and waiting for HM to relaunch an all new Amby
Welcome to the forum, an excellent tribute to Ambassador! Loved your write up!

Unfortunately HM cannot relaunch Amby as the brand was sold to Peugeot. I hope atleast Peugeot revives it with all new Electric Ambassador. Here is the news article on HM selling Ambassador brand name to Peugeot. News Article

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeva View Post

I've acquired a Nova recently. Doing it up in Coimbatore.
Octavia 1.9tdi engine (with turbo, intercooler et all), disc brakes all around, got an old Opel Astra for pittance, using it as the donor most electricals (Power windows, Power steering, dashboard and controls - A/C and stuff), custom panhard rods to balance out the suspension, Gypsy wheels, green tinted glass, and its going to be black.

Wow, I can't wait to see the final output! If possible can you please start a thread with all the work in progress and final output after it is done? I'm a huge fan of such builds and I'm sure all BHP'ians will enjoy it.

There are many videos of old Ambys and Fiats getting restored these days on Youtube, I've been watching these videos recently, hope few of these will help in your build process.

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Old 14th August 2020, 20:13   #5
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Default re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Welcome to the forum bkunnithan. This is a nostalgic thread for me as I have been brought up around Ambassadors. In fact I was planning to look for a black Ambassador with the Isuzu 1.8 engine once I go back to India. I have told a few people to keep a lookout for me. But I am sure it will be terribly hard to find.

Here is a picture of me when I was 3 years old with our Mark 2 Ambassador WMA 92 -

An ode to the HM Ambassador!-img_20170911_202138.jpg

Last edited by BlackPearl : 14th August 2020 at 20:14. Reason: Typo.
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Old 14th August 2020, 22:01   #6
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Thank you BlackPearl
An ode to the HM Ambassador!-img20200814wa0015.jpg
Couldn't hold back posting my picture after seeing your's.
I was just 2 when she became part of family.
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Old 14th August 2020, 22:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeva View Post
Unnithane,
Welcome to the forum!
I can very much relate to your emotions.
I've acquired a Nova recently. Doing it up in Coimbatore.
Octavia 1.9tdi engine (with turbo, intercooler et all), disc brakes all around, got an old Opel Astra for pittance, using it as the donor most electricals (Power windows, Power steering, dashboard and controls - A/C and stuff), custom panhard rods to balance out the suspension, Gypsy wheels, green tinted glass, and its going to be black.
O wow!! can't wait to see her come to life.
Expecting a detailed write-up/video story on her.
Thank you jeevetta

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteSierra View Post
Welcome to the forum, an excellent tribute to Ambassador! Loved your write up!

Unfortunately HM cannot relaunch Amby as the brand was sold to Peugeot. I hope atleast Peugeot revives it with all new Electric Ambassador. Here is the news article on HM selling Ambassador brand name to Peugeot. News Article
Thank you WhiteSierra.
Actually, this was written in 2016 when I first tried to become a tbhp member.
Obviously, this must be the first post from me.
I purposefully didn't add the Peugeot story hoping that another Amby lover would contribute and make the thread interactive.
I am glad you did it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
Good thread. Amby was an easy and fuss free vehicle. Like you mentioned, any mechanic with a simple tool kit could open and repair it. Also, it had the cheapest and most easily available spares. But in my honest opinion, I don't think it has the following or the muscle (read specs) to get a re-launch and still make it to the list of discussed brands in India. Many people who like it wouldn't invest in it. I personally have a few memories with the Amby but if you ask me whether I would buy it? - probably not!
Thank you Raghu.
Oh that was too blunt!
Although what you said is the practical point of view, there is an emotional side to it. IMHO bullet is a piece of trash as a product. But, well, we know what it is - a passion. I would buy an Amby, if Peugeot comes up with an attractive version. But, I love to taste what Jeeva is cooking.

More info...
1962 - 1975 HM Ambassador Mk II
(derived from Morris Oxford Series III)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bkunnithan View Post
Ambassador, an emotion!

My oldest memories as a kid who was taken out on his first drive by his dad lurks around the grand old Ambassador - 1968 Mark II.
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Size:  69.2 KB

An ode to the HM Ambassador!-hindustan-ambassador-1964-mark-2.jpg

Specifications:
Style: 4-Door Sedan
Transmission: 4-Speed Manual RWD
Engine: BMC Austin B-series 1491CC Petrol
Power: 50 hp Torque: 100 Nm Top speed: 119 kmph
Length: 4361 mm Width: 1651 mm Height: 1603 mm Wheelbase: 2464 mm Curb weight: 1120 kg

Last edited by BlackPearl : 15th August 2020 at 01:57. Reason: Merged the posts. Thanks.
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Old 16th August 2020, 10:45   #8
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Lovely thread! Back in the day, we used to drool over the Ambassador 1.8L Isuzu Petrol. If I had the bandwidth for a 10-car garage, I wouldn't mind owning one in white with nice rims, just for the nostalgia & history of the car. Heck of a backseat too.

An example like this is so desirable:
An ode to the HM Ambassador!-back-tail.jpg
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Old 16th August 2020, 12:47   #9
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Though I never ever drove an Amby, I have tremendous fond memories of the one which my maternal grandfather owned. As a kid, for me the most hi-tech feature was the chrome horn ring on the steering wheel. (it probably stood out, because the Premier Padminis of those times had only a press button at the centre).
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Many a trips still remain in my memory, where I would argue and fight with my elder brother on who would sit in the driver's lap (either my grandfather or one of my uncles)
Sigh!
Good times.

With due apologies to Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen
I'd sit on his lap in that big old Amby
And steer as we drove through town
He'd tousle my hair
And say, "grandson, take a good look around"
This is your hometown


Whatever happened to the revived Ambassador Classic?
I was hoping that would breath in some life in the iconic brand.

Last edited by RedTerrano : 16th August 2020 at 13:13.
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Old 16th August 2020, 13:29   #10
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Thanks bkunnithan for starting this wonderful thread. There are many people of this generation whose childhood has been around Ambassadors. Well I am no different in this, my father loved the Ambassador very much and he had owned many of them in his lifetime. Hence, my childhood has always revolved around them starting with the 1976 made Mark III to the Nova the last one owned by my father. Till today, whenever I visit Kolkata I prefer to take the Yellow Ambassadors for cab service rather than the modern OLA/Uber service. Your thread has helped getting back the memories with the beloved Amby.

Thanks and Cheers.

Few pics of me as a kid with the Ambassador
Attached Thumbnails
An ode to the HM Ambassador!-ba6210a7a39d46649bb1686e704ef421.jpeg  

An ode to the HM Ambassador!-d27f3bffe071418a9adcfd9186dabfe0.jpeg  

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Old 16th August 2020, 13:31   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkunnithan View Post

Thank you Raghu.
Oh that was too blunt!
Although what you said is the practical point of view, there is an emotional side to it. IMHO bullet is a piece of trash as a product. But, well, we know what it is - a passion. I would buy an Amby, if Peugeot comes up with an attractive version. But, I love to taste what Jeeva is cooking.
I apologize for that. I did not mean to be blunt. I totally agree with your point, the only concern is, a nice product if not marketed in the right way leads to the product being left in memories only. Examples are the Amby, Contessa and of course the likes of Linea and Punto. Peugeot bringing in the Amby would be something to look forward to.
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Old 16th August 2020, 19:31   #12
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

A bit off topic, but have any of you ever felt that the 3rd gen Dzire is just a reincarnation of the Amby! Me can't simply get it out of my head. Every time I see the Dzire (which is very frequent) I see an Amby.

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See what I mean!

Last edited by GTO : 17th August 2020 at 08:20. Reason: Member doesn't want his personal picture re-used
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Old 16th August 2020, 20:25   #13
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkunnithan View Post
The saddening news of Ambassador's (Amby) production being stopped by Hindustan Motors, led me to jot this down.
.....
It's my first post in TBHP.
Requesting moderator to move it to appropriate forum, if this doesn't belong here.
First of all, welcome to TeamBHP, bkunnithan! We do have quite a fan following for the mighty Ambassador here on TeamBHP. I myself am a proud owner of a 1979 Mark 4, with a Matador diesel engine and column shifter! Do check out some other Amby related threads as well:

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/post-...e-gallery.html (Landmaster And Ambassador Picture Gallery)

https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shift...rs-kerala.html (Ambrockz - HM Ambassador lovers from Kerala)
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Old 18th August 2020, 11:06   #14
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Nice nostalgic thread, am sure all of us here will some sweet memories of Amby. As a child, we used to sometimes be ferried in Amby (usual was Matador, another charm of 80s) when the regular Matador breakdown (Dont think Force motors own that trademark and thats why they discontinued). They used to squeeze in kids from matador to Amby without much of inconvenience to us, so spacious it was.

Another thought that comes to my mind was the car options discussed in 80s. Choices were limited Amby the top choice, esp in non metros, Contessa or Standard 2000 if you are rich, Premier if you want a change. Interestingly the enthusiasts used to improvise with Matador engine mounted on Amby, which was like achievement for a Amby owner. This was before Amby launched with 1800cc Isuzu engine.
Still remeber my last few trips in Amby, the last one being from airport to home, the back seat of Amby is indeed a benchmark in comfort.
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Old 18th August 2020, 11:14   #15
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Default Re: An ode to the HM Ambassador!

Thanks for the write up bkunnithan. It is truly the CAR for many Indians. I knew an elderly man who'd only be driven in his ambassador even though he had access to an Innova and Safari in his garage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkunnithan View Post
I am crossing my fingers and waiting for HM to relaunch an all new Amby with a better and powerful engine, an improved braking system, a better heat-insulated interior, a more agile suspension, mechanicals that do not squeak when revved hard, a better HVAC system, a futuristic dashboard and the very old spring-loaded cushioned sofa-style back seat, while retaining the original body-style.
Somehow, there just isn't a market for retro looking cars like how there is a market for retro looking motorcycles. A "modern" ambassador would look just like a Honda City/Hyundai Verna/Toyota Yaris/Maruti Ciaz due to tightening safety and emissions norms.

We've still got Enfields, Triumphs, and Harleys which are a throwback to the bygone era.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cents View Post
A bit off topic, but have any of you ever felt that the 3rd gen Dzire is just a reincarnation of the Amby!
Now that you mention it....
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