The humble Ambassador is the best taxi in the world – so says BBC Top Gear!
It didn’t require Top Gear to say that, I have already known it since I was this much. It is not only the best taxi in the world, it is the best thing on four wheels and that’s not an exaggeration!
It may not have the best looks, but it’s virtually indestructible. It can take twists and turns, bumps and potholes and can carry up to 10 people without whining. That’s the Ambassador.
The successor to the British legend Morris, this “box of steel” is still the preferred “official” vehicle for politicians and police officers of all hues in India and, complete with the red light sitting on top, scores of them are lined up outside Parliament in new Delhi when Indian lawmakers are in session.
Though most of them are falling apart and many have difficulty is staying roadworthy, these ‘yellow cabs’, as they are called in Kolkata, still rule the streets in the taxi business of the metropolis.
The Ambassador was also the only car I knew as a child when we went around sitting at the back of this virtual living room. No other car worth the name existed then and no other vehicle came close. The strangest thing was that every new model of Ambassador looked exactly like the previous one, barring some cosmetic changes on door handles and hinges.
It is still made in very much the same way and is still in the same shape but it is no longer sold to the public.
The government swears by it. The police trust it and, now, Top Gear has endorsed it.
Truly India’s Ambassador!