A unique category among passenger vehicles is a lesser known one called muscle cars. Not a big hit in India, this began as a fad in the United States of America and went on to become a rage there. It refers to cars that are quite expansive and are very high on performance. Besides, the classic muscle car is one with only two doors.
Muscle vehicles and cars in India are an utter rarity. Given the customer behavior in the country, cars that are too large without having enough space within and higher on performance rather than value do not quite sell here. Nevertheless, there have been a handful of models that fall into this category. Also Checkout SUV Cars in India
The model that comes to mind is Contessa, released by Hindustan Motors. It was a quantum leap in styling and engineering from a company that was more known for its legendary Ambassador. For a car that was being launched in a segment that was not cut out for India, the Contessa was a fair success. Its DNA could be traced back to a GM model called Vauxhall Victor. In the early eighties, during the period that Maruti Suzuki was about to change the face of the Indian automobile industry, this big car was launched into a nascent market in 1983.
As most cars till then were bigger than the future hatchbacks and budget sedans, it did not really stand out like it would in today’s market. The Ambassador, the Premier 118 NE and the Fiat were all sedans but there was something about the dimensions of the Contessa that made it different. The engine that powered it was the same that did duty in the Ambassador – the 1.5 litre BMC before the Isuzu mill was introduced. That was a more respectable 1.8 litre and helped rewrite public opinion about the car being underpowered, till then. Otherwise, the styling outside was catchy and the interiors were plentiful. Relaunched as the Classic, this model went down well with the public and was taken as the ideal solution for chauffeur driven cars. Besides a smooth ride, the features that the Contessa Classic sported were a notch above what was on offer otherwise. Power came to the windows, the steering and the engine too benefited from technology such as fuel injection. Air-conditioning also made an appearance.
With the 2 litre diesel mill introduced, the car did very well till it fell to the juggernaut of more modern and futuristic models launched by Maruti, Tata and the global automobile giants who had, by then, made a presence in India. But if ever any car can be labeled a muscle vehicle or car in India, it has to be Contessa.
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