India’s Iconic Ambassador Is World Taxi Shootout Winner

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India’s Iconic Ambassador Is World Taxi Shootout Winner

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The Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador started life in Britain as the Morris Oxford, but with a quick name change, it went on to become one of India’s most enduring vehicles – HM Ambassador. It may have lost out to the more modern competitors like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda but the good old Ambassador car, that once ruled the roost in India, has just been voted as the world’s best taxi by global automotive programme Top Gear.

In a show, which was aired on the BBC, Top Gear’s executive director Richard Hammond organized a world taxi shootout in which the Ambassador emerged the winner, beating competitors from all over the globe. The competing Ambassador took on taxis from Germany, Britain, South Africa, America, Russia and Mexico and was named the world’s best taxi. The CNG variant wore a WB – 19A – 8219 yellow numberplate. Fancy striped designs ran across the side of the car upon which an Indian flag was painted.

Ambassador Classic


Back in 1948, CK Birla Group firm Hindustan Motors Ltd began the production of the Ambassador at Uttarpara in Hooghly district, West Bengal. Till the arrival of the Maruti in the early 80s, the Ambassador was the status symbol in India. Gradually it lost out to various global competitors when it came to personal usage but continued to be the favourite vehicle for government officials and also in the taxi segment.

In the recent past, its sales in both the segments have shown a decline and in 2012-13, the Ambassador sold a total of just 3,390 units. This fiscal, it has sold only 709 units in the April-June period.

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Hitesh Arora
Hitesh Arora
  • Rahul

    the crap…it is obvious that the top gear crew set that up to make up for upsetting Indian Top Gear Fans during the Top Gear India Special…it wasn’t even a proper competition…the cars in the show down were not at all matched in performance…there is no way the race could’ve been that close(even with all the ramming)…the merc and the new york ford yellow cab were much much better performers when compared to the other cars…they set it up…no doubt…watch it and you will know, why i say so…with creative geniuses like hammond, clarkson and may…and such expert drivers…and a great crew it is not difficult to put together such a show down in a realistic way…

    I am a big fan of top gear(i’ve watched every single episode of the new top gear right from season 1 to season 20)…and the ambi is most definitely a very strong car…and great as a taxi…but it just doesn’t have the performance to match the others in a race…i’d say it would’ve been the 4th fastest or so in a proper race…but happy that Top Gear has done something to appreciate Indian Engineering after calling Indian Roads as one of the most dangerous roads(though true), and making a complete mockery of Indian Rail system and many Indian Traditions on mutliple occassion during the India special(especially Clarkson)…but in the end credited their own nation by saying that the ambi was a car that started of the Morris Oxford III…Dear Clarkson, Hammond and May stop taking the credit for another nation’s product…but thank you for saying the Ambi is the best…

  • Kshitij Kumar


  • Rohan Sahni

    Have a destruction derby race between Taxis from around the world. The winner becomes the “World’s Best Taxi”. Seems Legit.