Remembering 39 years: Maruti Suzuki pays tribute and restores the first ever model of 800 hatchback
The first-ever unit of the iconic hatchback Maruti 800 was restored in its original form and put on display at Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters in Haryana. Maruti 800, which was also dubbed as the original car for the masses, was launched in 1983, exactly 39 years ago. The little hatchback was one of the most successful cars on the Indian roads and enabled more and more people to buy a car, which was a farfetched dream for many in those days.
Paying a tribute to the grand car, Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, said just like India took its first step as an independent nation 75 years ago, Maruti Suzuki launched the first Maruti Suzuki 800 40 years ago. The car is on display at Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters after being restored in its original form.
The launch price of the Maruti 800 was Rs 47,500 and it was manufactured at the Maruti Udyog Limited unit in Haryana, which is now known as Maruti Suzuki India Limited. The first owner was Harpal Singh from New Delhi, who received the car keys from former prime minister Indira Gandhi at the formal inauguration of the production facility in Haryana. Singh possessed this car, registration number DIA 6479, until he died in 2010.
The car was reportedly in a decaying state and was almost abandoned by Singh’s family. A few pictures of the car appeared on the internet, which grabbed the attention of many enthusiasts.
According to several news reports, the company chipped in for the restoration of the car. All original spare parts and components were restored in the car. But the family could not use it any further as the car was no more eligible to be driven on Delhi roads. The company then decided to display the car at its headquarters as its first success story in India.
Maruti 800 was the best-selling car in India till 2004. It was launched in 1983, and in 2010, the company decided to stop production as it wanted to popularise its successor, Maruti Alto. The model was finally phased out on January 18, 2014.
The company reportedly sold more than 27 lakh units in India. The hatchback’s basic design was based on Suzuki Fronte SS80. The first batch was imported as a completely knocked down (CKD) kit.
The model had a 796cc, three-cylinder F8D petrol engine, its peak power was 35 BHP. The engine was extremely sturdy and is still used in cars produced today, after mechanical improvements, as per auto experts. At present, the same engine, which has been aligned with current BS6 emission norms, can be seen in cars like Alto and Omni, though the company has modified it and introduced engines of 47 BHPs and 69 Nm of peak torque.