First it was the Ambassador which went off the roads and now, it looks like it’s the turn of the Premier Padmini, which are mainly the kaali-peeli taxis in Mumbai.
The Premier Padmini was first made by Premier Auto, under licence from Fiat. It had a plant in Kurla and was the undisputed market leader in taxi fleet in the city. Production has been stopped and with the Govt diktat that taxis over 25 years old would not be allowed to ply on the roads, surely but slowly, the Padmini has reached the end of the road. Even now, we find very few of these taxis and most, being very old, are in a bad state and our immediate reaction is to look for a better, new generation taxi.
So if you are missing these taxis and want to take a ride down nostalgia lane, go to the Taj Mahal hotel. There is a month long exhibition by artist Anjali Gidwani, titled Padmini. It is not a boring display of car parts or something like an auto show; the exhibition is more about the bygone era and tells us the story of those times – of the cars and the drivers.
Well, these Padmini’s are not yet a part of any vintage collection as we still see some of them around. But it surely will become a classic after a couple of years.