Snapshot – The Maruti Suzuki Zen was born in 1993, and the hatchback remained in production for 13 long years, before it was replaced by a gargoyle called the Zen Estilo. The original Zen, which featured a Jellybean design, was an instant hit. The only other hatchback option at that time was the boxy Maruti 800, and younger buyers who wanted something trendier took to the Zen like fish to water.
Sporty to drive, with a rev happy petrol motor and a slick 5 speed manual gearbox, the Zen was an enthusiast’s delight in a country where hot hatches simply didn’t exist. The tuner and enthusiast brigade soon caught on an Zen hatchbacks with Esteem and Baleno engines begun ruling the drag strip. Modified Zens were the vogue too. Here are five tastefully modified Maruti Suzuki Zen hatchbacks.
Red Rooster Racing Modified Maruti Zen Carbon
The story goes like this. Maruti Suzuki used to export the Zen to Poland. Sometime in 2003, just before the automaker’s pulled the car off production, it was stuck with around 600 units of the three door Zen, meant for the Polish market. This car was sold in India as the Zen Carbon and Zen Steel editions. Both editions got a limited run of 300 cars each. One such car ended up getting the Red Rooster treatment, replete with a BMC conical free flow filter and free flow exhaust. Camshafts have come off an Esteem 1.3’s engine while the rear suspension has been modified for better handling. The car also sees a flurry of visual modifications starting with a black and orange paint job on the outside, while the interiors follow a similar theme. The alloy wheels and upsized tyres are other changes on the car.
Aquarius Blue Maruti Zen Steel
The Maruti Suzuki Zen Steel has received an Aquarius Blue paint job, which was made famous in India by the Ford Fiesta 1.6S. This paint job is just the tip of the iceberg, for the car has seen slew of changes. In terms of mechanicals, Camshafts sourced from the Esteem 1.3, iridium spark plugs, a free flow 4-2-1 exhaust and a free flow K&N conical air filter make this Zen 3 door faster than the rest of its ilk. Four auxiliary lights grace the front end, giving the Zen Steel a mean, muscular look. The car rides on tall, 15 inch rims, shod with meaty 195 section tyres. The modifications are carried over to the interiors, which see a blue and white scheme, replete with a sportier steering wheel and drilled pedals.
SpeedSport’s Three Door Maruti Zen
When a Rally Ace meets a 3 door Maruti Zen, with a tuner called SpeedSport involved, this is what happens. The Zen Carbon 3 Door has been given the yellow and black treatment and the interiors get a new steering, gear knob and the customary drilled pedals. The car rides on 13 inch alloy wheels and 185 section tyres. From here on, it’s pure overdose. The 1 liter-3 cylinder MPFI all-aluminium petrol motor of the car makes a humble 58 Bhp-78 Nm. This motor is dumped and in its place, this Zen features the G13B motor, which is essentially a 1.3 liter MPFI petrol unit with 100 Bhp of peak power and 112 Nm of peak torque. To make things even more interesting, racing camshafts, a custom intake manifold, a free flow exhaust with custom headers and a standalone ECU make this engine make good power right from 1,500 rpm to its redline of 8,000 rpm. Two words to sum it all up – Pocket Rocket.
Maruti Suzuki E-Zen
E-Zen means a Zen that features the 1.3 liter naturally aspirated motor from the Esteem. This engine may or may not be modified. In stock form, the Zen’s 1 liter MPFI petrol motor puts out 58 Bhp-78 Nm. While swapped for the Esteem’s 1.3 liter unit, this engine makes 85 Bhp-110 Nm, which is an almighty increase, especially considering the fact that the stock Zen Steel just weighs under 750 kilograms. Merely adding the MPFI engine to the Zen boosts the power to weight ratio to over 100 Bhp/Ton, and the engine is a straight swap too. The E-Zen in your picture runs camshafts and the throttle body from a Baleno, a Green Cotton free flow air filter and a custom exhaust from Raj Hingorani. These changes are said to have pushed up power even higher, to an estimated 90-97 Bhp. Upsized tyres on taller alloy wheels complete the exterior changes. On the inside, changes are fewer but tastefully executed.
Minimally Modified Maruti Zen Steel
The Zen Steel was launched with a silver paint job. So, the first modification here is a white paint job. The other exterior detailing changes include bumper air winglets, two large auxiliary lamps, a chequered flag sticker on the roof, a matt grey wrap on the hatch lid and white colour alloy wheels on wider rubber. On the inside, most of the stock interiors of the Zen Steel have been retained, while a Momo steering wheel, a Sparco gear knob and drilled pedals are the main changes. In terms of performance modifications, the car gets a free flow 4X1 exhaust from exhaust specialist Raj Hingorani while the cylinder head gets the ‘Somender’ groove to boost low end torque.