The Hindustan Ambassador is one of the most iconic cars. Though many claim that the iconic sedan started production in 1958, its predecessor, the Landmaster is the original Ambassador. Production of the car was started in 1954 and the series went on till 2014 with only minor changes.

While the Ambassador was based on the Morris Oxford Series III, the Landmaster was based on the Morris Oxford Series II. The car was produced in Uttarpara, Kolkata, West Bengal.

It was known for its spacious rear seat, comfort and ride quality which was exceptional for a car from that period. Many politicians preferred to be chauffeured around in a Hindustan Ambassador and the most common colour for the car was white.

The car won the World’s Best Taxi award by Top Gear UK after it won a race hosted by the show’s former presenter, Richard Hammond. It was by driven by British Touring Car Championship driver Gordon Shedden. Its mighty opponents included a 1997 Fairway Driver London Taxi, a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle from Mexico, a Ford Crown Victoria from the United States, a Toyota HI Ace from South Africa, a Mercedes E-Class from Germany and a Stretched Lincoln Town Car from Russia.

The car holds the world record for a mass produced car for the longest number of years with minimal design changes, on the same assembly line.

HINDUSTAN LANDMASTER

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Image source – Team BHP

The Landmaster was based on a Morris Oxford Series II. It is based on a semi monocoque chassis which was new at that time. Production was started in 1954 and it replaced the Hindustan 14. A new car, in 1954, was priced at INR 10,000. Production of the car went on till 1957.

Specifications

Production1954 – 1957
Body styleSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1489
Number of cylinders4
FuelPetrol
Fuel systemCarburetor
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)49 @ 4200
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)104 @ 2000
Transmission4-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)32.5
Top speed (kmph)112
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)7.9 – 10.1

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR MARK I

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Image source – Team BHP

When the Birlas decided to replace the Landmaster with a brand new model, they looked at the Morris Oxford Series III. The car and the tooling required was brought to India in 1957 and the car was renamed as the Ambassador. The sedan came with minor exterior changes an new interior and dashboard. It also got a new steering wheel.

Specifications

Production1957 – 1963
Body styleSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1489
Number of cylinders4
FuelPetrol
Fuel systemCarburetor
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)49 @ 4200
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)104 @ 2000
Transmission4-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)32.5
Top speed (kmph)112
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)7.9 – 10.1

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR MARK II

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Image source – Team BHP

In 1963, Hindustan Motors came up with the Mark III version of the Ambassador. It got a change in the design of the radiator grille and it looked more like the grille on the famous Morris Mini. On the inside, it got a redesigned dashboard and instrument panel. A few years later, it got a minor facelift.

Specifications

Production1963 – 1975
Body styleSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1489
Number of cylinders4
FuelPetrol
Fuel systemCarburetor
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)50 @ 4200
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)100 @ 3000
Transmission4-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)36.1
Top speed (kmph)110
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)8.2 – 10.5

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR MARK III

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Image source – Cars Ind

For the Mark III Ambassador, Hindustan Motors refreshed its exterior styling a little. The radiator grille was again changed to give the car a modern look. The dashboard was again refreshed. A black recessed mesh dashboard replaced the wooden base with aluminium strip design. The car was available in 2 variants, the standard and the deluxe. The deluxe version had a different instrument cluster. Later, the car also received a change in its windscreen wiper configuration.

Specifications

Production1975 – 1979
Body styleSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1489
Number of cylinders4
FuelPetrol
Fuel systemCarburetor
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)50 @ 4200
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)100 @ 3000
Transmission4-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)37.2
Top speed (kmph)111
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)8.2 – 10.5

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR MARK IV

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Image source – Auta 5P

The Mark IV was a major upgrade for the Ambassador. Launched in 1979, it was the last of the Mark cars. It featured extensive design changes. They included a new slightly modified grille, new park lamps, and new turn indicators. Under the bonnet, you could find a petrol engine or a diesel engine. The Mark IV also became the first diesel engined car in India. A few years later, in 1986, a more powerful petrol engine was launched.

Specifications

VariantPetrolDieselPetrol high compression
Production1979 – 19901979 – 19901986 – 1990
Body styleSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)148914891489
Number of cylinders444
FuelPetrolDieselPetrol
Fuel systemCarburetorDiesel indirect injectionCarburetor
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)50 @ 420040 @ 400055 @ 4400
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)100 @ 300083 @ 2000108 @ 2500
Transmission4-speed manual transmission4-speed manual transmission4-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)33.862.127.5
Top speed (kmph)114105118
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)8.4 – 10.712.3 – 15.68.2 – 10.5

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR NOVA

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Image source – Fav Cars

The Nova was launched in 1990 and it was offered with a petrol engine or a diesel engine. A particular model called the GLX was exported to Europe. It had better safety features to comply with European regulations. In 1993, the Ambassador 1800 iSZ was launched to increase appeal. It was powered by a more powerful Isuzu engine and for the first time in the car’s history, it had a 5-speed gearbox. In 1998, the company launched a more powerful new diesel engine equipped sedan called the Nova 2.0 DSZ Diesel.

Specifications

VariantNova PetrolNova DieselNova 1800 iSZNova 2.0 DSZ Diesel
Production1990 – 19991990 – 19991993 – 19991998 – 1999
Body styleSedanSedanSedanSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeCompression ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1489148918171995
Number of cylinders4444
FuelPetrolDieselPetrolDiesel
Fuel systemCarburetorDiesel indirect injectionCarburetorDiesel indirect injection
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)54 @ 440035 @ 400073 @ 500055 @ 4500
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)108 @ 250075 @ 2000130 @ 3000108 @ 2500
Transmission4-speed manual transmission4-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)28.379.916.328.2
Top speed (kmph)118103135119
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)8.2 – 10.512.4 – 15.99.912.3 – 15.6

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR CLASSIC

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Image source – Fav cars

In 1999, the factory that produces the Ambassador underwent a renovation. Along with that, the car also got a few major upgrades like new equipment. The sedan got a redesigned dashboard, new seats, new door handles and the major changes was that the gear lever was shifted from the steering column to the floor. The car got tweaked suspension and better disc brakes. The previous cars were known for their poor brakes. The car also got power steering.

Specifications

VariantsClassic 1.5L DSLClassic 1.8L CNGClassic 2.0L DSZClassic 1.8L MPFIClassic 1.8L MPFI
Production1999 – 20111999 – 20111999 – 20112003 – 20072007 – 2011
Body styleSedanSedanSedanSedanSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeCompression ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)14891817199518171817
Number of cylinders44444
FuelDieselCNGDieselPetrolPetrol
Fuel systemDiesel indirect injectionCNG installationDiesel indirect injectionIndirect injectionIndirect injection
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)36 @ 400054 @ 460050 @ 420074 @ 500070 @ 4800
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)73 @ 2250103 @ 3000106 @ 2200135 @ 3000134 @ 2250
Transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)7225.829.315.817.2
Top speed (kmph)104122119137134
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)13.2 – 16.815.512.4 – 15.911.712.1

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR GRAND

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Image source – Best Cars Info

When the Grand was launched in 2003, the manufacturer claimed that the car had 137 changes compared to its predecessor. It got a body coloured bumper and refreshed interiors. The suspension was upgraded with anti roll bars and the brakes were also upgraded. Equipment list included a factory fitted music system and an optional sun roof.

Specifications

VariantsGrand 1.5L DSLGrand 1.8L CNGGrand 1.8L MPFIGrand 2.0L DSZGrand 1.8L MPFI
Production2003 – 20142003 – 20112003 – 20072003 – 20142007 – 2011
Body styleSedanSedanSedanSedanSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeCompression ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)14891817181719951817
Number of cylinders44444
FuelDieselCNGPetrolDieselPetrol
Fuel systemDiesel indirect injectionCNG installationIndirect injectionDiesel indirect injectionIndirect injection
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)36 @ 400054 @ 460074 @ 500050 @ 420070 @ 4800
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)73 @ 2250103 @ 3000135 @ 3000106 @ 2200134 @ 2250
Transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)7225.815.829.317.2
Top speed (kmph)104122137119134
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)13.2 – 16.815.511.712.4 – 15.912.1

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR AVIGO

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Image source – Best Cars Info

The Avigo featured a radical change to its design. Most of the panels were left untouched. The main changes were to the lights and other small cosmetic touches that made the Avigo look different. On the inside, the car got a dual-tone interior with a completely redesigned dashboard that had a classic retro theme. The car also got a 6 CD Kenwood audio system and an air-conditioning system. It was more expensive than the Ambassador Grand.

Specifications

VariantsAvigo 1.5L DSLAvigo 1.8L CNGAvigo 1.8L MPFIAvigo 2.0L DSZ
Production2004 – 20072004 – 20072004 – 20072004 – 2007
Body styleSedanSedanSedanSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeCompression ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1489181718171995
Number of cylinders4444
FuelDieselCNGPetrolDiesel
Fuel systemDiesel indirect injectionCNG installationIndirect injectionDiesel indirect injection
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)36 @ 400054 @ 460074 @ 500050 @ 4200
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)73 @ 2250103 @ 3000135 @ 3000106 @ 2200
Transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)7225.815.829.3
Top speed (kmph)104122137119
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)13.2 – 16.815.511.712.4 – 15.9

HINDUSTAN AMBASSADOR ENCORE

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Image source – Rediff

This is the final encore, the final edition. This model was launched in 2013. It was similar to the Ambassador Grand. The only change was that it used BS4 engines. It looked similar to the Grand. Though it was officially launched in 2013, BS4 versions were available from 2011. Hindustan Motors suspended production of the Ambassador in 2014 due to falling sales.

Specifications

VariantsEncore 1.8L CNG BS-IVEncore 1.8L LPG BS-IVEncore 1.8L MPFI BS-IVEncore 1.5L Diesel BS-IV
Production2011 – 20142011 – 20142011 – 20142013 – 2014
Body styleSedanSedanSedanSedan
Engine typeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-strokeSpark ignition 4-stroke
Displacement (cc)1817181718171489
Number of cylinders4444
FuelCNGLPGPetrolDiesel
Fuel systemCNG installationLPG installationIndirect injectionDiesel indirect injection
Maximum power output (Hp @ rpm)56 @ 4600 – 480065 @ 4600 – 470071 @ 480049 @ 4000
Maximum torque (Nm @ rpm)115 @ 1800 – 2000129.5 @ 2000134.2 @ 2250112.5 @ 2000
Transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission5-speed manual transmission
DriveRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheelsRear wheels
0-100 kmph acceleration (s)24.119.117.430
Top speed (kmph)123131135118
Fuel efficiency (kmpl)16.29.81211.8 – 15

Information source – Wikipedia and Automobile Catalog