Words: Ouseph Chacko
Photography: Gaurav S Thombre
I’ve never met Bob, but apparently he’s a very nice guy. A while ago, he was in India on a project and fell in love with the Hindustan Ambassador; more specifically, he fell in love with the shape. Bob is British, you see, and I think he liked that the Ambassador finds its roots in the Morris Oxford which was, ages ago, made in the ’Ole Blighty. Bob didn’t like one thing –the Ambassador’s wheezy engine and, so, began his hunt for someone nutty enough to turn a dinosaur into a faster dinosaur. That’s when he met Karanraj Shah of KS Motorsports. I’ve known Karan for a while now and I’ve driven his Mitsubishi Evos, and I know he’s a bit unhinged in a nice way. He loves taking on unlikely projects, so Bobs idea of a 300bhp Ambassador was right up his street.
Finding a donor Ambassador Grand wasn’t too hard (plenty of those around, aye?) and work began in earnest. It’s not an easy job transplanting 280bhp into an old car and Karan decided the nicest way to do it was to give it a heart transplant and new muscles to keep the 200bhp upgrade on the road. He looked around and found a 1994 Nissan Sylvia S13 and, interestingly, its wheelbase was almost identical to the Ambassador – a few modifications were all that was needed to make the driveline fit in the Ambassador’s shell. New engine mounts were fabricated and the 2-litre turbo petrol four cylinder SR20 DET engine was dropped into the Amby’s vast engine bay.
The challenge then was to ditch the Ambassador’s leaf springs and somehow make the Sylvia’s suspension bits fit under the body shell. The Ambassador doesn’t have mounts for modern suspension struts, so KS Motorsports fabricated entire box sections that fit under the old body and serve as supports for the new suspension, drivetrain and axles.