Today, India is celebrating its 75th Republic Day, marking its independence from the British Raj. In the last 75 years, we have come a long way. Every year, this special day in Indian history is celebrated with parades in the country’s capital, Delhi. At the moment, the Indian government’s fleet utilizes many bulletproof, high-end luxury cars. However, things were different back in the 1990s. Recently, we stumbled upon an old Republic Day parade video from 1995, showing the legendary Tata SUVs, including the Tata Sierra, Sumo, and the Estate MPV, being a part of the parade.
1995 Republic Day Parade
The video of the 1995 Republic Day parade has been posted on YouTube by Bichu N.S. Originally, the 1995 Republic Day Parade was telecasted on Doordarshan. In this footage, a convoy comprising Maruti Gypsy and Hindustan Ambassador sedans can be seen being driven in sequence on the Rajpath. The Maruti Gypsy primarily served the security forces, and the Hindustan Ambassador was used by politicians and government officials. The video then shows the moment when a convoy, including the Tata Sumo, Tata Sierra, and Hindustan Ambassador, enters Rajpath.
For those who may not be aware, the Tata Sierra played a significant role as the chosen vehicle for then-Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao. As the convoy progressed towards Amar Jawan Jyoti, Special Protection Group (SPG) officers were seen on the Tata Sumo, responsible for safeguarding the Prime Minister and immediate family members of the PM. The Sierra’s unique three-door configuration meant that the Prime Minister had to exit from the co-passenger side door. The video vividly shows an SPG commando stepping out, inspecting the surroundings, and assisting the Prime Minister.
The Tata Sierra, one of the first SUVs from the brand, stood out as a pioneering figure in the history of SUVs manufactured and sold in India. It emerged as a unique and advanced model, well ahead of its time. Its main characteristic feature was its three-door design and an expansive glass area that sheltered the rear passengers. The Sierra was based on Tata’s popular Tatamobile pickup truck and boasted features during its era, such as power windows, air conditioning, power steering, and more.
Under the bonnet, the Tata Sierra came equipped with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine sourced from Peugeot. Initially, it produced 63 bhp. However, in 1997, a turbocharger was introduced, boosting power figures to 90 bhp, coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox. Despite its impracticality, the Sierra left a lasting impression in the country.
Tata Sumo and Estate
As for the Tata Sumo, the legendary boxy SUV, it was launched back in 1994. It came equipped with the same engine as the Tata Sierra and Telcoline, which was a 2.0-litre 63 bhp producing diesel engine. Apart from this, in the video, we also saw the iconic Tata Estate. The Estate was JRD Tata’s vision, and he launched it in 1992 at the Pune plant of Tata Motors.
Like other Tata automobiles, the Tata Estate included a number of notable features. It came equipped with power windows, power steering, and a tachometer, offering a level of sophistication not commonly found in Indian cars of that time. The Tata Estate came powered by a Peugeot-sourced 1.9-litre diesel engine producing 68 PS of maximum power and 118 Nm of peak torque. It only came mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The car was a lot ahead of its time.