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My Lady in Black

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White walls from MRF




The Morris logo imported from the U.K. Originally all Landmasters had the "H" logo , "H" for Hindustan.But thats tough to find these days.


It had never occurred to me that BYJ 276 will be mine. When I went to see this car that was offered for sale it was love at first sight. Found almost everything on the 48 year old car original including the side valve engine. These engines are rare to find as many Landmasters got fitted with the OHV Amby engines . Ambassadors were being dieselised and the used petrol engines were available for as low as Rs 2K in the 1980's.

My Landmaster

has been a one-owner car since December 23rd 1955, till 2003. The late

Mr Balamukund Kamathikar, its first owner, who passed away at the age

of 82 years on July 19,2007, was the grandson of Rai Bahadur D.

Laxminarayan. His wife Mrs D. Bahnabai,had been driven in this car till

1984, the year she breathed her last. Mr Balamukund used to be with the car at garages and would attend personally to every repair job. This reflects on the car's condition even today. When Mr Kamathikar was critically ill an article about this car with pictures (sent by me) appeared on the Morris Issis Oxford and Cowley Owners Club journal. I sent a copy to Mr Kamathikar by post not knowing that he was critically ill. He saw that article and was joyous . Very sadly, the very next day he passed away.Such was his link with the Landmaster.

The late D. Laxminarayan, Mr Kamathikar's grandfather was a

philanthropist, who in 1935, had donated about Rs 35 lakhs, a princely

sum in cash those days and tens of acres of land in Nagpur city for the

Nagpur University. In fact, Drs Homi Babha, Raja Ramanna both Chairmen,

Atomic Energy Commission, Govt of India and Bal Gandharva, the

classical singer , have all been driven in this car. When important

cases used to come up, Shri D. N. Sheorey alias Dadasaheb, the then

Advocate General of CP and Berar State, liked to be driven to the court

in this car, as it proved lucky for him.

The day this car was sold, in

2003, Mr Balamukund was so sad that he skipped his meals! He was the

one who kept the car spick and span, all the 48 years!

As the car

was not in regular use for the last few years, it took me some months

to make it road-worthy.  To my very pleasant surprise, Mr Chandrakant

Birla, Chairman, Hindustan Motors, India responded personally to my

request with a very cordial reply. I had sent him a few photographs and a letter citing I bought this car. He was happy that I could buy a

Landmaster in mint condition and sent me a 350 page, Xeroxed workshop

manual of the car, free of cost. The car's British name was Morris

Oxford Series II and is more than 90 % British. Messrs Hindustan

Motors, Calcutta, India, manufactured 11600 Landmasters during April

1954 to March 1957. These were available in grey, green, beige, and

black colours. Only a hundred odd of them may still be roadworthy.


of the post-war British cars of the 1950

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What a wonderful piece history you own anjaan.Thanks for sharing the information. May I make a request please remove the steering wheel grip it doesn't suit this beauty.

For purist like me ,Landmasters Ambassadors mark 1, 2, 3 were really the last pure Morris oxford 2 and 3.From Mark 4 onwards they have lost their soul, their purpose  becoming a symbol of what India shouldn't be.

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Thanks Mr Spock.

The quality deterioration of the Ambassadors started in the 1970's.

The automobile makers blame the price control and licencing regime, but by 1977 the price controls were passe. In fact, the price of the Ambassador was suddenly hiked from Rs 22 K to Rs 30 K in 1977 after the price controls went away.

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The main culprit for all problems in Auto sector is Government.Someone rightly said That" If Automobile was invented in 21st century no Politician in the world will allow it in the hands of Common people"

The price De- regulation came was surprise piece information.On a different note anjaan why do you stock parts? is it that difficult nowadays to obtain them? And through which channels you procure them?Can you shed some light on it?

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Thanks dineshzma116.

Mr Spock the spares are not available during emergencies.Other than a few body parts like the hubcaps, door glasses, windscreens rear and front and some more, there is nothing else this car shares with the newer Ambassadors.

Like very recently, the self activator of my car conked off. I was unable to find one here in the market. The spare one I had bought from Mumbai was Indian made, lightweight ,cheap looking and just did not work properly.

It was only when I went to Kolkata during first week of Jan 2011 that I could lay my hands upon an new, unused, original one made by Lucas England. Now thats fine and working.May be the electrical system of my car has found a long lost friend! smiley1.gif

There are two sources to procure these for most old cars.

One is the scrap market in metros where junked car spares are sold.One has to be lucky enough to find anything useful here.But in Mumbai and Kolkata there are such markets and usually one gets something to keep the car running.

The next is to contact spare dealers who have older, unsold inventories of unused spares and manage to still stock them. They charge astronomical prices sometimes.Like the one in Kolkata says he sells carburettors for the mid-1950's Dodge Kingsway's for Rs 40 K. And believe me this spare dealer is very reasonable as compared to others.

anjan_c20072011-01-25 17:11:21

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What a history Anjan!!! Awesome machine. Even I am getting attracted towards vintages, lets see when I am going to own one.


@ACIans, In chennai, I am seeing lots of vintage stuffs dumped in roads. Is there any way to bring it back to life. Yesterday I saw a car in very bad condition which looked like a bug from back but slightly different in front.


OT- My sincere hope is, the upcoming Amby CS should not look like this one, as Once a Vintage, always a vintage.



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Thanks creativebala.Nice to know that you too are likely to get a vintage sometime soon.Chennai  is a metro so there should be no problems with repairs and spares availability to some extent.

Try and get some car that sold in greater numbers in India during its heydays, as the spares will be easier to come by.

Rare cars have a greater charisma but getting spares is problematic.

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Old cars let alone vintage cars are difficult to maintain. it requires a certain degree of love , affection , inclination to maintain these cars. Hats off to  people like Anjaan who through dedication( I will not flatter you with more words!) , helps people like me and this generation to taste a sample of Bygone era.Thanks this is the least I can say to appreciate the work done by You

Changing tracks, Does your car have those trafficators or turn indicators and can you please post a picture of it with the car.

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True Mr Spock. One must devote enough spare time to keep these in fine fettle.Or else the decay is generally much faster than new cars.

No my car does not have trafficators. Some Landmasters (earliest ones 1954-55) had those kind of semaphore trafficators.


Even the earliest Ambassadors had these from 1958-60.Mine has twin coil bulbs that act as trafficators.


This Ambassador has semaphores located between the two doors on its B pillar.

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@Anjaan - could you post some pictures of indicator system of your car - It would make it clear for me.

Another thing I want to ask you do you feel that the current crop Ambassadors and your car have interior volume differences - I feel that the new Ambassadors are short in Space in the rear - Strange!

Please could You throw some light on this issue.

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Mr Spock the indicators are operated with the knob at the steering centre with the Morris logo.

As regards interior space I do not observe any difference between the Amby and this car.The front seat legspace looks more spacious apparently because the dash does not protrude as much as the Ambassadors.

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Creativebala@ Chennai peoples are not knowing the value of vintage cars. Too i have seen many rare/old days cars at the roadside dusts without using.

Also last day i saw one Amby 1960-70"s model. TMX registered, I tried to catch the fella by overtaking, how miracle he has gone till 120kmph speed. Wondered , the power/acceleration of  that car really taught me manything regarding our old skool days of  india. :)

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The lady in Black has been giving me trouble free drives since the past

few months. Touchwood! It did very well at the recent The Hitavada and

JCI organised Vintage Car Rally on 13/02/2011.The only thing I did not like about

the rally this time was that it was routed along a bypass Ring Road for

several (may be 6kms or so) kms of the total 40 km run. We passed

several trucks and trailers.Rallies normally criss-cross through city

thorough fares so that people are able to see the beauties.

Thereafter the CIVAA static display of vintage and classic cars was

organised on 20/02/2011 during the Rotary walkathon.

As I had stated, the self starter activator had given me lots of worries

just a few months back. I could get a new one from Kolkata which is of

original Lucas make. The self starter is now doing its job well.

The one fitted to the car is also an original piece but has been badly

handled by an electrician. This guy told me to get rid of this

complicated self starting system and install the Ambassador's.

I told him that this is there doing its duty since 55 plus years and it

is simple to change it over to the Ambys within a few hours. No way


I have now handed over this one for repairs to CIVAA founder member and

Guinness Record holder Mr Iqbal Ahmed a few days back.Incidentally, Mr

Iqbal has made the miniature working model of the Benz 1886.

The activator as it was before handing over to Iqbalbhai with all the Mseal stuff:


I will post a picture of this spare after the repair job is done.

anjan_c20072011-04-05 17:39:34

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For purist like me ,Landmasters Ambassadors mark 1, 2, 3 were really the

last pure Morris oxford 2 and 3.From Mark 4 onwards they have lost

their soul, their purpose  becoming a symbol of what India shouldn't be.


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Your car looks amazing ,there is a charm of owning a classic even if it a pain to maintain . You have a lot of patience to keep your beauty in pristine condition .


PS: Why don't you get an exterior detailing package for vintage cars from 3M . It is sure to make the paint finish more shiny and the sealent will hold the shine well.

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