… and it’s in a colour that you would have probably never seen on a Maruti 800. Here’s a quick story about a 1988 Pista Green Maruti 800 from Hyderabad.
Not every car has to be a museum piece. As long as it has a story attached to it and it keeps the owner happy, it’s all that matters. So the next time you see a car lying neglected in your neighbourhood, do give a second thought!
In an era when buying a car was a privilege for the select
few, owning a Maruti 1000 was so elusive that owners often came under the lens
of the Income Tax Department. The 1000 was perhaps India’s first modern and reliable sedan that spawned the popular
Esteem which went on to dominate Indian roads for the next decade or so.
Call it the lack of options in the market or the
non-existence of aggressive marketing in the pre-liberalisation days, the car
had a simple name which denoted its engine size, the “1000”. Heck, there was no
badge on the car which denoted that name. In fact, some of the earlier models
didn’t have any emblem or badging on the hood or the front grill.
The featured example is a single owner 1992 Maruti 1000. Almost everything on the car is untouched. It is a time capsule of the Indian automotive scene of the early 1990s. After serving its family for over 15 years in and around Mumbai, the car is living a peaceful retired life in the family’s Pune home.
The 1000 got eventually replaced by the more powerful 1.3L Esteem but the 1000 continues to be an important milestone in India’s journey towards modern motoring. Since a lot of cars have since then been “converted” to look like later model Esteems or retrofitted with CNG & LPG kits, it is really difficult to estimate how many of these actually remain on our roads today. Nonetheless, let’s hope more such beautiful cars resurface in the near future.
To an Indian, the Maruti 800 needs no introduction. With
over 2.6 million examples sold in India over a production run spanning 3
decades, this is India’s quintessential people’s car which liberated the
country from the shackles of outdated gas guzzling cars
For the uninitiated, this car featured here is the second
generation Maruti 800 produced in 1995. Based on the Japanese Suzuki Alto /
Fronte (code name SB308), the engineers at Suzuki wouldn’t have thought even in
their wildest dreams that a tiny kei car
designed for the narrow city streets of Japan will become a developing nation’s
most loved car.
Although made in India, every nut and bolt in this car is a shining example of Japanese principles of lasting build and exceptional quality.
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While there is no dearth of 800s in India, it is becoming increasingly
difficult to find pristine and well-maintained examples from the 80s and 90s. Although
interest in these cars has picked up in recent times, it’s high time we
conserved this piece of Indian automotive heritage for the years to come.