- HM Contessa. Image credits : Wikipedia

The Prestigious Muscle Car of India - Hindustan Contessa

Get to know about one of the few legendary classics from Indian Car Market

3w ago


Muscle Car! The name itself feels like a poetry to the ears of a Car Guy. We know a lot of Classic Muscle Cars and the rich history behind them.

We have a problem in India that there a few number of Car enthusiasts. If a car guy wants to talk about any new car or some car trend, he has to find a right person first to talk. But Indian Car Industry has proven from time to time that it can give some quality cars to the Indian Car guys that would keep drooling over. One such example is and many Car guys from India would agree that Hindustan Motor Company did a very great job to introduce Contessa for us!

Contessa was produced by Hindustan Motors from 1984 to 2002. It was such a time in India, when Contessa was launched, a very few common folks could afford a car for their luxury. But Contessa became a very popular choice for politicians, celebrities, industrialists as well as rich folks in India. Hindustan Motors were successful to produce a car which sold a lot even after their previous superstar car Ambassador which reigned for about 3 decades.

Contessa was inspired by Vauxhall VX series ( produced between 1976 and 1978). She was powered by 1.5 L BMC B-series petrol engine (which also powered the Ambassador) producing 50 HP and making Contessa run at max speed of 125kmph ( 78mph) and a compatible four-speed manual transmission gearbox. Another variant produced 54HP. It had a large wheelbase and weighed 1200kg (2600lb) giving it a classic American Muscle look. Near the end of the decade HM had shaken hands with Japanese company Isuzu and introduced another variant with a 1.8 L 4ZB1 petrol engine which produced 75 HP and increased the speed of Contessa to 160kmph (99mph). A new five-speed manual transmission gearbox was also introduced. This new variant was called Contessa Classic.

1.8 L Contessa Classic. Image credits : Wikimedia.org

1.8 L Contessa Classic. Image credits : Wikimedia.org

After that HM started producing 2.0 L Isuzu 4FC1 diesel engine and another turbodiesel engine which powered Contessa Diesel. Towards the end of production of Contessa in 2002, she had 3 variants - 1.8 GLX (petrol), 2.0 GLX (diesel) and 2.0 TD (Turbodiesel) engines.

2.0 L Diesel HM Contessa. Image credits : Wikimedia.org

2.0 L Diesel HM Contessa. Image credits : Wikimedia.org

Now HM Contessa has became one of the most rarest cars we see in India. In my life of 20 years, I had a fortune to see an actual HM Contessa only once. I was just walking to my college 3 years back and there she was standing outside a garage, looking like the perfect thing in universe crafted by Michael Angelo himself making me stop in my tracks only to look at her, awestruck, giving a Classic Chevy Impala vibes. That was the day I saw a legendary, most admired, almost lost Indian classic car.

This was my first and humble attempt to write an article on DriveTribe. Please share your recommendations and views regarding the same in comment section.

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