If there’s something we purists like to do is to complain about modern EVs and reminisce about the good ol’ days. Back when cars weren’t packed with the comforts of a hotel room or electronics of a supercomputer when icons like the Mahindra Thar and the Tata Safari were looked at with awe as they passed by you. While the two did make a comeback in modern times, we’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane to find the top six of the most iconic cars that ought to make a comeback soon. 

6) Premier Padmini

Premier Padmini

“How do you go toe-to-toe against the icon that was the Hindustan Ambassador?” is what the folks at Premier Automobiles Limited would’ve thought back in the day. First, take the Fiat 1100 Delight and replace its moniker with a 14th-century Rajput princess. The result was a compact looking sedan, which was reliable and rock-solid under all circumstances. 

Powering the ‘Pad’ or the ‘Fiat’ which it’s popularly known as, was a Fiat 1089cc, 4-cylinder petrol engine which churned out 40 PS and 71 Nm of torque. During its hay-day, many iconic names such as Rajnikanth, Aamir Khan and others kept this beauty in their garages. 

5) Maruti Suzuki Gypsy 

Maruti Suzuki Gypsy

Back in the 80s, India needed a no-nonsense, go-anywhere vehicle which was reliable. The answer came in the form of Maruti Gypsy, which was based on the long-wheelbase, second-gen Maruti Jimny. The off-road vehicle came with barebones specifications and no creature comforts, which is what made it easy to work on. Not surprising then, the Gypsy went on to become of the most popular cars in Indian automobile history, used by police officials, the army and a lot of off-road enthusiasts. Maruti did launch a modern-day version of the Jimny, but it’s yet to arrive on our shores. 

4) Tata Sierra

Tata Sierra

In a nutshell, the Tata Sierra was what high-end luxury SUVs are now. Based on the Tata Telcoline (a pick-up originally launched in 1988), the Sierra came with features such as power steering, power windows and the iconic rear window. No wonder, back then, owning a Sierra was a status symbol. 

The good news is, Tata does plan on bringing back the Sierra. But this time around, in an all-electric form. Unveiled at the Auto Expo 2020, the SUV features modern-day looks and features of today like a touchscreen infotainment system, multi-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof, digital cluster and more. Tata also claims the Sierra EV will come with a range of 500km. 

3) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo

Those of us who grew up in the 90s remember the fandom the Mitsubishi Lancer enjoyed. From the get-go, it looked mean, lean and ready to burn up the road. It even had the credentials to do so with a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, which produced 294PS of power and 366Nm of torque. Sadly, 10 generations later the Evo was put to rest in 2015, with the Evo X being the last production model. However, rumours are floating around that Mitsubishi may revive the Lancer badge soon. Till then, let’s keep our fingers crossed. 

2) Hindustan Motors Contessa

Hindustan Motors Contessa

Hindustan Motors knew it was going to take something special to replace the iconic Ambassador. Lo and behold, comes the Contessa. Not only did it manage to live up to the expectations but also created a space for itself among the community. Dubbed as the “muscle car of its time” the Contessa was quintessentially the car Don Corleone would’ve driven if he were in Mumbai. 

For the Contessa, Hindustan Motors took inspiration from the Vauxhall Victor and packed the muscle car with a 1.5-litre BMC B-series engine, which made 50PS of power. It remained on our roads for 25 years, being a popular choice for many government officials. 

1) Hindustan Motors Ambassador 

Hindustan Motors Ambassador 

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a made-in-India car? A Tata? A Mahindra? No. For most of us, it was the Hindustan Motors Ambassador. The legendary car became the face of the nation, adored by both the public and the bureaucrats. It was the official ride of many presidents and prime ministers, for decades. 

Based on the Morris Oxford series III model, the ‘King of the road’ was India’s first diesel car. It was powered by a 1489cc, four-cylinder engine, which made 36PS of power and 72.9Nm of torque. Over 900,000 units of the car were made during its production, each with a claimed lifespan of 50 years. Sadly, with the rise in popularity of Maruti Suzuki, the Ambassador couldn’t keep up with modern-day needs, and thus was discontinued in May 2014, after a run of 56 years. 

However, the PSA Group which owns global brands like Peugeot, Citroen, acquired the Ambassador brand from Hindustan Motors in 2017, for Rs 80 crore. Could this mean we could see the icon coming back in a new avatar? We sure hope so.