People from all over the country had geared up to make our 70th year of Independence a grand one. A number of people’s two-wheelers and four-wheelers have donned the country’s flags as a sign of their patriotism. August 15 has always been celebrated with a lot of pride and enthusiasm. With each passing year, our country gets more and more sophisticated and technologically evolved, especially in the field of auto industry. With this in mind, let us take some time to look at some of the iconic classics that have rolled onto the streets from auto manufacturing factories in India.
The Hindustan Motors Ambassador began its journey in the year 1957. The car was launched with an initial price tag of Rs.16,000 and this amount grew to about Rs.5.22 lakh by the year 2014. The car was initially called the King of Indian Roads, Amby or Ambassador. The rugged look and working of the car was based on the old Morris Oxford Series III. The car comes with a lot of cabin space and is quite popular among government officials and big Indian families. This was the go-to car for a number of government officials and politicians. Production of the Ambassador officially seized in the year 2014.
The Maruti 800 was the second largest commercial vehicle that was manufactured in India. The car was a revolutionary four-wheeler that made it very affordable to travel from one place to another. The car was quite inexpensive, easy to maintain, convenient, and quite economical. The car entered the Indian markets 32 years ago and has been a popular model among the people. The production of the Maruti 800 was stopped in January 2014. The car was priced at Rs.50,000 when it was launched in 1983 and a total of 29,50,000 units have been sold ever since.
Premier Padmini (Fiat 1100 Delight):
The Ambassador was an iconic model that was popular among the masses. The only other vehicle that comes close is the Premier Padmini which is also known as the Fiat 1100 Delight. The car entered the Indian markets in 1973 and was manufactured and produced until the year 1998. The car was popular among common folk and was used for families to commute from one place to another. But the car entered the Indian market only after it became a big part of the large arsenal of Bombay taxis. These taxis still run on the streets of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay.
This car was introduced into the global market as the Hyundai Atos was released as the Hyundai Santro in the year 1997. The car was the company’s first offering that was made in the Indian automobile market. The Hyundai Santro was an immediate hit among the people as the car was priced very well to make it affordable to a large group of buyers. Another aspect that played a vital role in the car’s rise to fame were the features that were provided with the car at its pricing. Hyundai had stopped production of the car in 2014 but the company has plans of reviving the Santro name in the country.
Tata Motors had promised the people in India that the company would roll out the cheapest car in the world. The “cheapest car” nametag didn’t do much for the car as well as its maker. Nano’s sales saw a downward spiral over the course of time and this prompted the company to come out with special editions of the vehicle. The car also received a CNG kit and a power-steering option. In the year 2015, Tata Motors scrapped the “cheapest car” nametag and came out with the GenX Nano which was the next generation model of the four-wheeler. The car comes with an updated engine, new interiors, a bigger fuel tank, and an openable boot along with other notable changes.
The Bajaj Chetak had the nation in a buying frenzy. With a “Humara Bajaj’ tagline, the bike proved to be dependable apart from being affordable. The popularity of the Chetak grew to such an extent that people had to wait for years to own a Chetak of their own. Bajaj Auto had stated that the company would exit from the scooter segment to focus on motorcycles only. Sources have confirmed that the company plans on re-entering the scooter market after it re-registered the brand name of the Chetak.
Ideal Jawa Limited were responsible for bringing the Yezdi Roadking to the Indian auto market. The bike runs on a two-stroke, 250cc single cylinder engine with a 4-speed gearbox. The bike was manufactured in Mysore, Karnataka. The Yezdi Roadking was one of the most popular bikes that were used on Indian roads in the 1980s. The Yezdi also won a number of Indian road races and rallies. Production of the vehicle was in full swing between 1978 and 1996 but the company could not compete with its Japanese rivals, Kawasaki and Yamaha. The bike also had a twin exhaust system coupled with a semi-automatic clutch.
Royal Enfield Bullet:
The 350cc version of the Royal Enfield Bullet is still, to this day, a popular bike among the people of India. The Indian government placed an order of 800 350cc Royal Enfield Bullets in the year 1955. This order made Madras Motors in India and Redditch Company to join hands on this venture to form Enfield India. Enfield India were in involved in selling tooling equipment in the year 1957. Even though Royal Enfield UK ceased to exist in 1971, the production of the Bullet 350 did not stop there. Popularity of the bike rose to such a level that the bike was being exported out of the country by the 1980s.
This bike was a major hit among the youth of the country in the 80s. The RX100 ran on a 98cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine and was launched in India in the year 1985. Production of this bike continued till 2006. The bike was known for its nimbleness and acceleration. Even though the bike was quite popular in the country, Yamaha had to phase the RX100 out of the market due to stricter emissions laws that were adopted by India.
The Yamaha RD350 was sold over a period of 6 years in India. The RD350 is quite possibly one of the most cherished motorcycles by a number of bike-enthusiast circles. “RD” actually stands for “Race Developed” but was sold as the Rajdoot 350 by the India Escorts Group. The RD350 was manufactured and sold in India between 1983 and 1989. The Yamaha RD350 was one of the first motorcycles which came with a twin cylinder, air-cooled, 347cc two-stroke engine with a 6-speed gearbox.
A number of these vehicles are not manufactured anymore for various reasons. But bike enthusiasts tend to go to very corner of the country to purchase one of these iconic vehicles of India. These cars and bikes symbolize the country’s history and heritage. The era where these vehicles have stemmed from has passed, but for some of these vehicles, it’s popularity only seems to keep growing.