This Little Red Car might just be One of India’s Future Classics

This Little Red Car might just be One of India’s Future Classics

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run spanning 3 decades, this is India’s quintessential people’s car which liberated the country from the shackles of outdated gas guzzling cars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.

The clean angular lines with curved edges represent a state of transition between the boxy designs of the early 80s and curvy lines of the mid-90s
At 3.3 m in length, the car is really tiny but is spacious enough to accommodate 4 adults. The car here is still on its original St. Germain Red paint (if you leave the repainted driver’s door)
The honeycomb grille was introduced in 1995 as a part of the minor facelift on the 2nd generation
Performance was brisk for its time. Youngsters had a ball at traffic lights seeing their 800 pull away from older, heavier cars
The 796cc 3-cylinder engine is as basic as it gets. There is perhaps no mechanic in India who has never worked on an 800 😊
The dashboard screams the 80s the moment you look at it. The boxy cluster and ultra thin steering wheel to name a few. Thanks to the optional tinted glasses on this car, the dashboard is by and large pristine with minimal fading. Note that tissue box – a period correct accessory
Maruti in the Indian Devnagari (Hindi) script on the steering wheel to add a hint of Indianness to the Japanese car. This script has changed from Roman (English) to Devnagari (Hindi) multiple times during the production of this car from 1983 till 2013
The Greenwheels sticker denotes Maruti cars’ preparedness to accept unleaded fuel for the then introduced catalytic converters in the exhaust system
The clean look continues to the rear. Original dealer stickers have been added to give it an authentic period look.
Check out this cool video of the same car shot by Saurabh Pawar

Can’t view the video? Click here to view it on YouTube

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.

MotorBlabber would like to thank Nikhil Wagle for the awesome pictures. The 800 featured here is a part of the Classic Maruti Enthusiasts (CME) Club.

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