Mumbai: It’s the end of the road for Mumbai’s iconic Premier Padmini taxi. The iconic Indo-Italian model vehicle was more famous than the pizza in Mumbai, at a time the city was called Bombay. There were around 65000 Padminis piled on Mumbai roads in the mid-1990s but the production of the vehicle stopped in 2000. Today only 50-60 cars are sputtering around the city on the road to its end.
The car was introduced in 1964 as the Fiat 1100 Delight. The following year, it was named Premier President. Later in 1974, it was renamed Premier Padmini, after the legendary Queen of India, Padmini.
The compact kaali- peeli cab ruled the roads of Mumbai for almost three decades. It has also been featured in countless Bollywood movies. The Premier Padmini was also a major attraction for the foreign tourists. The people loved the vehicle for its spacious and comfortable seatings and the nostalgic feeling it evoked in its passengers.
The authorities of Mumbai opted for Padmini over the famous Ambassador car in the 1960s. The Ambassador was widely famous and well-liked in Delhi and Kolkata in the 70s and 80s.
“Padmini is an iconic car because for so long it was the only vehicle used by taxi operators here in Mumbai. It must have been the largest fleet in the world,” said AL Quadros, a taxi union leader in Mumbai.
“The Padmini was chosen over the Ambassador because it was small and attractive. It was nice to drive and you could park it anywhere easily. It was comfortable and people liked it,” added the taxi union leader.
Now the road has finally come to an end for the Premier Padmini. After ruling the roads of Mumbai for decades, it will be taken off the roads in June of next year.