Two iconic cars: Premier Padmini and Hindustan Motors Ambassador

Thursday 07 November 2013, 10:52 AM by

In the Indian car market, Premier and Hindustan Motors have shared a decade old rivalry. These two car companies have been operational in India since 1960's and at that time were counted among the few Indian manufacturers. Talking the iconic cars into concern, Premier Automobiles Limited manufactured Padmini while Hindustan Motors produced Ambassador model. Both the cars of their respective companies offered a stiff competition to each other and this continued for years till Premier Padmini was discontinued.

Two iconic cars: Premier Padmini and Hindustan Motors Ambassador  |
Two iconic cars: Premier Padmini and Hindustan Motors Ambassador

Padmini made inroads in India during 1964 under license from Fiat and was initially marketed as Fiat 1100 Delight until 1973, when it was renamed to Padmini. At that time, Padmini was equipped with a 4-cylinder 1089 cc having a compression ratio of 7.8:1. The engine produced 40 bhp of peak power at 4800 rpm alongside the maximum torque of 71 Nm at 3000 rpm and with this, the car was capable of attaining a top speed of 115 kmph. This engine was paired with a four-speed manual transmission that further transferred the power to its rear wheels.

Manufactured at the Kurla facility of the company, in Mumbai, Padmini was among the luxurious cars that one could afford at that time. Since its inception till discontinuation, Padmini had undergone several upgrades. In 1973, Padmini was marketed as Premier President while later on the company renamed it. During the decade of 1970's, Premier Padmini achieved immense popularity amongst youth and celebrities owing to its modern appearance combined with its fuel efficient engine.

On the other hand, the history of Hindustan Motors Ambassador dates back to 1958. During the initial stages of launch, Ambassador did not perform well in India but slowly and steadily it was able to catch the attention of Indian buyers. The car still continues to feature in the product line-up of Hindustan Motors and is actively used by government officials and taxi operators in India. Since its introduction, the car gone through several updates that are mechanical as well as cosmetic in nature. At present, Ambassador is manufactured at the Uttarpara plant of Hindustan Motors.

Two iconic cars: Premier Padmini and Hindustan Motors Ambassador

At the time of launch, Ambassador was powered by OHV 4-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine but this engine was later on replaced by the powerful 1.8-litre unit supplied by Isuzu. With this engine, the car of Hindustan Motors become one of the fastest production car to feature in India at that time. Currently, Hindustan Motors Ambassador is offered in 5 engine options, namely 1.5 DSZ, 1.8 Petrol, 1.8 CNG, 1.8 LPG and 2.0 DSZ. It is also available in BSIII and BSIV variants. Talking about specifications, the 1.5-litre DSZ variant gives away 35.5 bhp of maximum power and 72 Nm of torque. While the petrol trim is equipped with 4-cylinder MPFI engine that churns out 71 bhp of power and 134 Nm of torque. The other variants like 1.8-litre CNG and LPG are mainly targeted at taxi unions and are available in BS III and BS IV models. The car is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission that is synchromeshed with overdrive.

The rivalry shared between Premier Padmini and Hindustan Motors Ambassador was quite prevalent during 1970's. At that time, both the cars had build a loyal customer base in India and were actively vying to gain a considerable market share. However, the rivalry died down when Premier Automobiles decided to discontinue Padmini in 2001. While Hindustan Motors Ambassador still continues to feature in the product line-up of the company in India. In the recent time, the demand of the vehicle has declined by a fair bit but still it is majorly liked by fleet operators across the country.