India’s first Maruti 800 fully restored and displayed at Maruti Suzuki Headquarters

Maruti 800 was an iconic car. It started an era of affordable vehicles that allowed Maruti Suzuki to leap forward in the market share. Maruti Suzuki remains way ahead of the others in terms of market share. The first Maruti 800, which went into production in 1983 completed about 40 years in existence. Maruti Suzuki India paid a tribute to the model by getting back the first-ever model that rolled out from the production line. It has been restored completely and now proudly sits on the display of Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters in Delhi.

The first-ever Maruti 800 went into production at Maruti Udyog Limited in Gurgaon, Haryana. The first-ever owner of the car Mr Harpal Singh received the keys from then prime minister of India Mrs Indira Gandhi. The car was handed over to the customer at the factory itself. With a registration number of DIA 6479, the car remained with Mr Harpal Singh till 2010 when he passed away.

India’s first Maruti 800 fully restored and displayed at Maruti Suzuki Headquarters

After Singh’s demise in 2010, the car remained unattended outside his home for a long time, due to which it started decaying. A few pictures of this car in an abandoned state started surfacing on the internet, which caught the attention of many people. The then owners of the car took it to a service station to get it repaired but were not much interested in letting it go. However, the pictures of this Maruti 800 caught the attention of Maruti Suzuki too, which helped in the restoration of the car.

India’s first Maruti 800 fully restored and displayed at Maruti Suzuki Headquarters

Maruti Suzuki got the car to its original form with all the genuine spare parts and components. A car got a new life with all the tedious restoration work. However, due to the age of the car, it is no more eligible to be driven on the roads. Maruti Suzuki decided to keep this car for display at its headquarters, showcasing its first-ever marvel in all its glory.

Maruti SS80/800

India’s first Maruti 800 fully restored and displayed at Maruti Suzuki Headquarters

This first-gen Maruti 800, popularly known as SS80, had a three-cylinder, carbureted, 796cc engine, which later received fuel injection technology in its later upgrade. The Maruti 800 remained on sale with updates to the same 796cc F8D petrol engine till 2014, when Maruti Suzuki finally decided to end its production. This F8D engine is still going strong in the current BS6 emission norms under the hood of the present-day Alto. However, to ensure that it meets all the required emission norms, it has received extensive changes to its internal components.

The Maruti 800 used to outsell the Alto – its replacement – for many years when both cars sold side by side. The cheaper Maruti 800 had an immense brand recall and was much preferred in semi-urban and rural areas of India even though the Alto was more powerful, looked more contemporary and offered more features.

The Maruti 800’s strong sales even after Alto’s debut prompted the automaker to cull production of the former to popularize the latter. So, in 2010, Maruti stopped producing the 800, and finally, the Alto took over the status as  India’s best-selling car – a status that belonged to the 800 for years.

Shantonil Nag

Shantonil brings a refined blend of expertise and enthusiasm to motoring journalism at With a career spanning over 11 years, he anchors Cartoq's insightful car reviews and test drives. His journalistic journey began as a correspondent at, where he honed his skills in content writing and scripting car reviews. Later, as Senior Editor for, his expanded role included curating and structuring web content. At, his expanded role includes assisting the video team to create high-quality car reviews. (Full bio)