If the Hindustan Ambassador is a synonym for the Indian highway, the Morris Minor is the very soul of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Its different now, but about 25 years ago this gentlemanly and ever so English automobile was the backbone of the city’s taxi industry. 3000 vehicles plyed the crowded bazaars of Pindi and rolled casually through the wide shady boulevards of Islamabad. Sidewalk workshops fashioned homemade spare parts and provided skill employment to tens of thousands Pakistanis. Though the bulk of the cars were, even at that time, at least 30 years old, they were lovingly maintained and detailed. This scene was captured on an open field in the outer suburb of Morgah as the sun set. Taxi drivers wash and polish their beloved 998cc’s in anticipation of a busy night.
So identified with the trade was the Morris that when it came time to make a film called Taxi Driver (set in Lahore, a city with relatively few Minors) the car was chosen to front the movie poster.
In the late winter afternoon light a taxi driver negotiates the fare with a passenger.
Pindi walas are proud not only of ‘hamari gaadi’ (our car) but of their ability to recycle them year in year out by cannibalizing the elderly which sit piled but precious on the streets Bao Mohalla and Gawalmandi.