India's blast from the past is on its last legs

Politicians were Ambassador fans.

One ember of the old British Motor Corp. that had been smoldering for decades is now in danger of being extinguished for good. News out of India seems to spell the end of production of the Hindustan Ambassador -- the Amby, as it is affectionately known in India.

The car is a near exact copy of the 1956 Morris Oxford III. Hindustan Motors began manufacturing its version of the mid-sized Morris in 1957 and made just minor cosmetic changes to preserve the car's classic looks.

Sales were a steady 20,000 per year until the mid-1980s but recently have dropped to just a few thousand units. The company says it is out of cash and can't update the car or continue production.

The Ambassador is held in high regard in India and was once the favorite car of the nation's politicians. The car long outlived the brand that spawned it, as the last Morris-badged car was built in 1984.