Besides the iconic Ambassador, Hindustan Motors also produced another well-known vehicle, the Contessa, which was once a favourite sedan of many Indian auto buyers
First launched in 1984, the HM Contessa was regarded as one of the best vehicles to have been manufactured by the company until it was discontinued in 2002. It was called the “The Indian Limousine” or “The First Indian Muscle Car”. The Contessa was a car with such great modification potentialities that many of its modified versions have been created and numerous related video have also been published. You may have read a lot about the customized Contessas, but how many of you know what it actually looked like? In fact, the original version of the Contessa was developed based on the Vauxhall VX series car of 1976, which explains for its so strange appearance at that time.
The video shows two HM Contessas. While the first one receives some changes, it is in good condition. On the other hand, the second one is almost kept intact but is in very poor condition.
Available with four colour options: Black, Red, Blue and White, the HM Contessa had a bold stance and some muscular elements like the wide black grille and the long hood, which gave it an aggressive and classy appearance. The vehicle came with rectangular headlights or twin pod circular headlamps as the two options you were free to choose from. The straight lines and flat panels made everyone utter “Oh, so brute!” when looking at the vehicle. Moreover, it was also equipped with power windows which were considered to be a novelty back then. It had a cargo space of 600 litres, which is quite ample, even according to modern standards.
The HM Contessa has an aggressive and classyexterior design
Inside the cabin of the HM Contessa was an impressive list of features which included a wooden dashboard, a driving wheel with an HM logo, powerful air conditioners, a basic audio system, central locking system, plush carpeting, antislip jacquard seat coverings and central armrest. The cabin of the first Contessa has been altered with new seats along with new upholstery, new air conditioning system, etc. The second car lets us have a more clear idea of what the car actually looked like.
The HM Contessa features a premium cabin which is replete with luxurious features
As regards the performance, the HM Contessa is powered by both petrol and diesel options. The former is a 1.8L 1.8 L 4ZB1 petrol motor with four cylinders which can deliver 85 hp of maximum power and 135 Nm of peak torque. The latter is a 2.0 L Isuzu 4FC1 diesel unit, also with 4 cylinders, which is good for 55 hp against 107 Nm. The transmission duties on both of the two variants are implemented by a 5-speed MT gearbox.
The HM Contessa was powered by multiple engine options, which include both petrol and diesel units
Priced at about Rs. 4.84 lakh to Rs. 5.42 lakh (Ex-showroom, Delhi), which was quite expensive then, the Contessa was considered to be as a premium luxury sedan in the Indian auto market at that time. The vehicle targeted at the buyers who were looking for something better than the normal Padmini and the Ambassador. Deserving this high price, the Contessa offered a luxurious cabin with premium features.
Unfortunately enough, the popularity of the vehicle began to fade away by the turn of the decade since better and more affordable alternatives with more decent mileage were introduced by newer automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Tata and Hyundai, etc.. Although the Contessa has been shelved, it remains to be one of the most memorable vehicles among the Indian auto enthusiasts and still fetches a good price in the used car market.