The Maruti 800 is an iconic car that revolutionized the automotive industry by introducing affordable vehicles, allowing Maruti Suzuki to gain a significant market share. Even today, Maruti Suzuki remains the market leader. The first Maruti 800 went into production in 1983, and after almost four decades, it still holds a special place in the hearts of many. Recently, Maruti Suzuki India paid tribute to the model by restoring and displaying the first-ever model that rolled out from the production line. The fully restored car now proudly sits on display at Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters in Delhi. Here, we have a detailed walkaround video that talks about the story behind India’s first-ever Maruti 800.
The video has been shared by Baiju N Nair on his YouTube channel. In this video, the presenter talks about the story of the hatchback and how it ended up in Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters in Delhi. The video mentions that when Maruti had decided to introduce cars for Indian customers, they spoke with many manufacturers, including Volkswagen. They even had discussions to bring the Jetta to the Indian market, but due to various reasons, it did not happen. It was after that the team visited Japan and came across the SS80, which was manufactured by Suzuki.
Sanjay Gandhi was the managing director of Maruti Udyog, and when the team saw the SS80, they realized that it was a suitable car for Indian conditions and decided to bring it to India. The aim was to introduce a small car that ordinary middle-class people could afford. The Maruti 800 met all the expectations, and the production finally started in 1983. The car received an overwhelming response from customers, and in order to avoid any confusion, the first customer was selected by drawing a raffle. Mr. Harpal Singh, who was an Indian Airlines employee, was the lucky person to take home the first-ever Maruti 800. The keys to India’s first Maruti 800 were handed over by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The demand for the hatchback was so high at that point that people even offered Harpal almost a lakh if he would sell the car to them. It should be noted that the Maruti 800 back then only costed Rs 47,500. The DIA 6479 Maruti 800 was registered under Harpal Singh’s name, and it remained with him until 2010 when he passed away. After Harpal Singh and his wife passed away in 2010 and 2012 respectively, the car was abandoned as his children were not using it anymore.
A few pictures of this car in an abandoned state started surfacing on the internet, which caught the attention of many people. Maruti also came across the pictures and then decided to buy the car back from the then-owners. Maruti Suzuki got the car back to its original form with all the genuine spare parts and components. The car got a new life with all the tedious restoration work. However, due to the age of the car, it is no longer 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. The interior of the car was also restored to its former glory. The car looks brand new in this video.