Been around for what seems like an eon, the Esteem was once the only saloon that Maruti Suzuki India Limited successfully sold. Much before the Baleno, the Kizashi, and the Ciaz, there was the Esteem. Successor to Maruti 1000, the Maruti Esteem was good to drive, widely used in race/rally circles, and has almost achieved a cult status. Finding a mint example in the classifieds won’t be too difficult, so if you, like me, want to invest a few hours in front of a computer screen and calculator trying to work out a way to buy one of these, go ahead and do it. But before that, just to prove that the car catered to a very wide audience, here are five examples that prove so.

Starting with the good ones:

Maroon Owl

Custom maruti esteem side maroon owl

Affectionately called Maroon Owl, the customised Maruti Suzuki Esteem you see in the pictures is a Honda City slaying beast. It’s powered by the same 1.3-litre G-Series engine but has been turbocharged, runs a Race Dynamics ECU, and has a subtle bodykit on it. Featured on Team-BHP, the car could do a quarter mile in early 13s back 2012. But it’s not just about straight line speeds, the car also gets Brembo brakes to ensure it slows down as quickly, while an LSD (Limited Slip Differential) is also installed to take care of traction in corners.

(Photo courtesy: Team-BHP)

Autopsyche’s Esteem Sunbeam

Autopsyche Maruti Esteem Sunbeam front

Before we begin, let’s clarify that the really nice looking body-kitted Esteem is in no way related to Sunbeam, the erstwhile car company from England. Instead, Sunbeam Yellow is the paint that Autopsyche has meticulously applied on the car’s surface. And the car is a 1996 model – beat that! It underwent a full restoration, both aesthetically and mechanically, and was given a bodykit, 15-inch wheels, and a custom interior.

Autopsyche Maruti Esteem Sunbeam


(Photos by Autopsyche)

Stanced 1994 Esteem

Esteem stanced

Going further back in time is this year 1994 Esteem. Although the build is not Indian, the car is similar to what was sold in India. It’s a clean mod, with lowered ride height, wide tyres shod on what look like deep dish wheels. The timelessness of the design is pretty evident, and it’s hard to believe the car is more than two decades old.

Esteem stanced rear


(Images courtesy: Modifikasi)


Esteem based Bugatti Veyron

Maruti Suzuki Esteem based Bugatti Veyron Indi

Replicas might be fun, but they take away the originality of the donor car, which is a misery. Take a look at this Bugatti Veyron replica. Countless hours must have gone behind making it, but sadly, it can neither be as fast as a Veyron nor as charming as the other (above mentioned) Esteems. Having said that, it’s a nicely made example, and it can be a conversation starter, although how you go on to explain why and how it was done is entirely dependent on how good an orator you are.

Maruti Suzuki Esteem based Bugatti Veyron India rear


(Photos from Motorbeam)

Don’t ask why…

Maruti Esteem diesel custom

The car you see in pictures is a 2004 model Esteem Diesel, which was once listed for sale on the online marketplace OLX. As you can see in the pictures, the front end is borrowed from a Lancer while the rear end seems to be custom made. It comes with projector headlamps but no engine mods are listed, thankfully. It’s said to return a fuel economy of 22 kmpl, and should you think of going any faster, the big win at the rear will certainly bog you down.

Maruti Esteem diesel custom rear

(Photos from