The Maruti 800 has nothing short of a legendary status in India. With all due credit, it is the car that has made Maruti Suzuki the giant it is today. The car was introduced in 1983 and was the highest selling car in India till 2010 when production was stopped.
In a timespan of 27 years, more than 27 lakh units of the Maruti 800 were sold. It was quite literally the car that put India on wheels. One would imagine that the first Maruti 800 sold in 1983 would have been preserved in mint condition at a museum or maybe even at one of Maruti Suzuki's production facilities. But you would be wrong.
Pictures of the very first Maruti 800 sold to a customer were doing the rounds on various social media platforms a few months ago and it was in a saddening state. The car was left to rot outside the owner's residence in Delhi.
Now though there is some good news, the car is being restored at a Maruti Suzuki authorised service centre. This car is special not just because it was the first ever Maruti 800 to be delivered to a customer, but it was because the then prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi who handed over the keys of this car to its owner Harpal Singh.
Harpal Singh then maintained the car very well till his demise in 2010 after which the car lay on the roadside in neglect for nearly nine years. Now though, the car with the registration number DIA 6479 has been spotted in almost mint condition at one of the Maruti Suzuki authorised service stations.
It is still unclear whether it is Harpal Singh's family which undertook the restoration or if the car has been bought by someone else and then restored. One thing is clear though - the car was restored piece-by-piece.
The Maruti 800 in question is a 27-year-old car and parts for the same are not readily available. Even if Maruti Suzuki tries to source parts, it would have to be done one-by-one. One has to keep in mind that the Maruti 800 was discontinued in 2010 and nine years have passed since.
The older Maruti 800 was powered by a carburettor-fueled 798cc, liquid-cooled, 3-cyclinder engine. It produced a maximum power output of just under 33bhp and Maruti Suzuki over the years improved the engine. In the latter years of its production, it featured electronic fuel-injection, making it more fuel-efficient and less polluting.
Thoughts On First-Ever Maruti 800 Restored
The Maruti 800 is one of the most important cars in the Indian automotive industry. Yes, cars like the HM Ambassador, Premier Padmini, etc existed. But the Maruti 800 came along with its low cost, high efficiency and nimble performance and changed the way Indians look at cars.
In that context, this car with the registration number DIA 6479 is very important as it was the first Maruti 800 to be delivered to a customer. It is great to see it restored and back in its former glory.