A Y U S H

08 Nov 2012 292 views
 
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photoblog image Ambassador of Kolkata

Ambassador of Kolkata

I recently got back from a trip to Kolkata in India. I will feature some snaps from this trip and will start off with this trio of Ambassador taxis. Manufactured by the Hindustan Motors, this bowler hat shaped car is ubiquitous on the expressways, streets and unpaved ruts all over the country. Looks have not evolved much over the decades but simple, rugged construction and reliable service made it a firm favourite. How wildly popular this car used to be can be judged by the saying that any mechanic in the country is familiar with its engine layout and mechanisms like the back of his hand and any garage you go to is bound to have its spare parts. Lately with the economic liberalization of India, auto makers from other parts of the world have set up operations and HM finds itself hugely challenged.

 

PS: This image is unsaturated, save the yellows, to draw attention to the cars. 

Ambassador of Kolkata

I recently got back from a trip to Kolkata in India. I will feature some snaps from this trip and will start off with this trio of Ambassador taxis. Manufactured by the Hindustan Motors, this bowler hat shaped car is ubiquitous on the expressways, streets and unpaved ruts all over the country. Looks have not evolved much over the decades but simple, rugged construction and reliable service made it a firm favourite. How wildly popular this car used to be can be judged by the saying that any mechanic in the country is familiar with its engine layout and mechanisms like the back of his hand and any garage you go to is bound to have its spare parts. Lately with the economic liberalization of India, auto makers from other parts of the world have set up operations and HM finds itself hugely challenged.

 

PS: This image is unsaturated, save the yellows, to draw attention to the cars. 

comments (15)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 8 Nov 2012, 00:48
Great opener, Ayush, and I am looking forward to this series.

Earlier this year I was in Kolkata, and can attest that the Ambassador is still a common sight...the cabs are either yellow or white, but the yellow ones are the legitimate, licenced taxis. If you are interested, there is a gallery of my images at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/112193852814997284666/India20121KolkataFirstVisit
Ayush Basu: Thanks for the comment. I do intend to regularly post, now that I am back. Thanks for the link to your amazing pictures.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 8 Nov 2012, 06:14
This has your "stamp" about it, Ayush - look forward to the rest
Ayush Basu: Thank you very much Lisl
They started life as a Morris Oxford here in the 1950s as i recall. There was an attempt to sell them here a few years back but I never actually saw one on the road
Ayush Basu: It has a completely Indian character now. It has served as the vehicle of choice for government, taxis for several Indian metro and family cars. Thanks for the comment
My experiences of traffic in down-town Kolkata was quite amazing. Manic driving by all sorts of vehicles ... rickshaws included going in every direction at once, huge lumbering colourful buses, the noise of horns was continuous and most taxis I saw had minor dents and scratches. But it all seemed to work pretty well.
Ayush Basu: I agree. Its probably similar in some other Asian capitals
  • Chris
  • England
  • 8 Nov 2012, 08:45
It definitely looks like a solid 1950s design
Ayush Basu: And is too. Thank you very much for the visit.
Love this composition Ayush, and the symmetry, depth and light - great capture!
Ayush Basu: Thanks for the comment Fred
Three for the price of one. Nice shot Ayush and look forward to your other pics
Ayush Basu: smile Thanks for the comment
I like how you've captured the three of them staggered in a row like that, Ayush. I usually associate yellow cabs with NYC; nice to see that colour used in other cities, as well.
Ayush Basu: Thank you very much. I think both are somewhat iconic and recognizable faces of their respective cities.
Welcome back Ayush, I look forward to your view of India, always a fascinating place from what I see on television. Bill is correct about the origin of these cars, I guess there are hundreds of them, and also in India they still make the old style Royal Enfield motorcycles which of course were also originally from the U.K.
Ayush Basu: You are very correct and I am a bit surprised you knew that bit about the Enfield too. I love the sound of the Enfield smile
Nicely shot: in formation!
Ayush Basu: Thanks for the comment Martin
Nice shot, Ayush.
Ayush Basu: Thank you very much Tom
i like the way that you framed them in perfect formation Ayush... they sound like they are worth their weight in gold for reliability....petersmile
Ayush Basu: You may be right but they are actually one of the cheaper cars out there smile Thanks for the comment
Welcome back Ayush! I love how you've presented this - the yellow pops!
  • Anupam
  • Netherlands
  • 10 Nov 2012, 00:13
Nice yellow cabs...awesome click
very nice! cool old cars!

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