Nobody can ever forget the Maruti 800, the original car for the masses. Launched back in 1983, this little hatchback from Maruti Suzuki charted the roads of success for the carmaker and enabled more people to afford a car. The original Maruti 800, which was launched in 1983, recently completed 39 years. Owing a tribute to this, the first-ever unit of this little hatchback has been put on display at Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters after being restored in its original form.
75 years ago India took its first step as an independent nation. 40 years ago we did the same with the first Maruti Suzuki 800. We are proud of our little part in putting India on wheels and will keep continuing our journey. pic.twitter.com/zZcJSUE9id
— Shashank Srivastava (@shashankdrives) August 15, 2022
The first-ever Maruti 800 rolled out of Maruti Udyog Limited’s (now renamed as Maruti Suzuki India Limited) production facility in Haryana. The keys of this first unit of the Maruti 800 was handed over to Mr Harpal Singh from New Delhi by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, during her visit to the formal inauguration of the production facility. This car got its registration number DIA 6479, which remained with Harpal Singh till his death in 2010.
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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.
After it gained back its original form with all the genuine spare parts and components, the car was brought to life again. However, due to the age of the car, it is no more eligible to be driven on the roads. Due to this, Maruti Suzuki decided to keep this car for display at its headquarters, showcasing its first-ever marvel in all its glory.
First-gen Maruti 800
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.
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