Back in the day, Hindustan Contessa defined luxury. The iconic Indian automobile became one of the best cars manufactured in India. Launched in the 1980s, the car was extremely popular for its extravagant design and premium features.
The Hindustan Contessa is gone but not forgotten. This delightful creation that ruled the Indian roads for many decades was not just a car, but a status symbol. It was launched in the year 1984 having air conditioning, power windows, fat bumpers, upgraded headlights and even power steering.
After producing the Ambassador for three decades, Hindustan Motors decided to launch a more modern car. Contessa was primarily based on the Vauxhall Victor--Britain’s most exported car. A lesser-known fact is that it cost HM £1.5 Million to negotiate a license agreement, acquire all the production tools and cast-dies from the discontinued Victor. Alongside the Ambassador, the production line was set up at Uttarpara near Kolkata.
Soon after, it became India's first muscle car, also known as “The Indian Limousine”. Just like the Ambassador, there was only one generation all throughout. However, Contessa produced two iterations. The first version didn’t perform too well and received criticism for its underpowered engine and primitive gearbox. But once Hindustan Motors tied up with Isuzu and started manufacturing their 1.8 L 4ZB1 petrol engine, the second run was immensely successful.
In the Indian market, Contessa distinguished itself with refinement, power and luxury. It was put in use by many rich and influential government officials. Every hero, rich businessmen and even villains arrived in the Hindustan Contessa in numerous classic Bollywood movies to portray luxury like “Khiladi 420”, “Chal Mere Bhai” and “Kismat”.
“Sheer poetry in motion,” mentioned the launching advert of 1984. With a sleek body, plush and spacious interiors, it looked like a dream and rode like a dream too. The remarkable Contessa became a cult classic and continues to have a huge fan base.
At the launch, the car cost Rs.83,437 and the booking amount was Rs.15,000. Cruising down the streets, Contessa was the king among the other cars. The four doored car has luxe interiors and iconic exteriors, with twin headlamps and a black, muscular front grille, long hood, clean surface and straight lines.
Its ability to transcend time is something that we try to emulate with our Vardi collection.
Directions by Harkrishan Alag