60-year-old S. Gurusamy, an AAI employee, has always held a torch for the almost-extinct model

The classy Ambassador, always a reminder of old Madras, has been virtually disowned. But, enter the rear of the airport premises, and six large Ambassadors warmly greet you.

With a gleaming smile and a pat for his first Amby, 60-year-old S. Gurusamy, an employee of Airports Authority of India who resides in a small room on the premises, begins narrating the tale of his love for his six Ambassadors.

“Most people now want to invest in land or houses. But as for me, I have always wanted only ambassadors,” he says.

Twenty-five years ago, when one of his relatives desperately tried to get him married, he imposed a condition — he would marry a girl only if she brought an Ambassador car along with her — if only to ward off any proposals. “I knew it was too expensive and no one could afford it. That was when I took a vow to own an Ambassador someday,” he says.

In 2000, after saving for several years, he took a flight to Mangalore to buy his first ever Ambassador from a retired bank employee. “It was a 1972 model in blue with a petrol engine and I paid Rs. 25, 000 for it,” he adds.

Two years later, when an acquaintance was eager to sell his Ambassador, Mr. Gurusamy decided to buy it for Rs. 1,35,000. He took a loan, and to pay it off, he used the car to ferry pilots to the city. Then, one after another, he bought four more of his favourite cars. While a few of them are not in great condition, he says he can repair them in no time.

“My father worked in a rice mill in Nagapattinam, earning Re. 1 a day, and it used to be struggle for eight of us to live on that. Since I’m not married, I don’t have any expenses and want to invest everything on my favourite Ambys. I have to spend only Rs. 100 as against the other sedans,” Mr. Gurusamy adds.

He now has another 22 months of service left, after which he plans to retain two of his cars and sell the rest. “When I die, those two Ambassadors should be sold off and that money could be used for my funeral,” he says, emotional till the last about his favourite ride.

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