From Comfy Granny to Chic Chick?
If there is one granny who enjoyed a dream run as an ageless icon for decades it is the Ambassador car. For the generation that was born after the advent of the brash and speedy new kid on the block, Maruti 800 — which ironically also retired aged a modest 30 in 2014 — the venerable Ambassador car has been a somewhat puzzling anachronism. Mostly seen on the streets as yellow cabs or the chauffeur-driven vehicle of choice for government functionaries unburdened by concerns of speed, fuel economy or driving comfort, it must have seemed to them to be an unlikely escapee from an automotive Jurassic Park. While it inspired nostalgia, stories of its hefty capacity to carry large Indian joint families also harked back to when endless traffic jams and long idling times did not necessitate engine-taxing add-ons like air conditioning, power windows and music systems. Nor did its robust steering need to accommodate one-hand driving so that the other could be used to operate mobile phones. It could well be said that the weighty Ambassador car kept much of India on the straight and narrow by its very incapability to be misused thanks to its stolid no-nonsense specifications. However, now that the Ambassador brand has been bought over by Peugeot, there appears to be a strong chance that the matronly saloon will get a chic sleek French makeover. India will definitely be waiting to see its transformation.