For every person born in India the 1980s and 1990s, the Maruti 800 is just more than a car. After some time, we are catching up with the Automobile of the Week Section and we decided to feature an automobile with significance to history. This time, we look into the history of the first Maruti 800, the heartthrob of Indian cars.
The First Maruti 800 Was Made in India
The Maruti 800 was one of the first cars to be completely assembled in India. The car gets its name from the 800 cc engine, the same capacity which is still used by the company in its best-selling ‘Alto 800’ model. The keys of the first Maruti 800 were handed over to Harpal Singh, a resident of Delhi by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India on the 14th of December 1983.
The first Maruti 800 rolled out from the company’s Gurgaon Factory. Maruti Suzuki was also the first company to launch the county’s first MUV, the Maruti Omni, which is still being produced today. The Maruti 800 could be just a car for a common man, but, to the automobile industry in India, it was an icon. Many Indians flocked to a buy a car for themselves and this was probably their only option.
Seeing this as an opportunity, other manufacturers began to enter India and they started manufacturing automobiles that were suited to the needs of Indian customers. The Maruti 800 again paved the way for the growth of the automobile industry in India.
Harpal Singh’s Bond with the First Maruti 800
Singh had to sell his Fiat to buy the first Maruti 800. But he was so in love with the 800 that he never wanted to part with it till his death. He was advised to by the Zen, which was an advanced version of the 800, but somehow, Singh never wanted to change his car.
The first Maruti 800 bore the registration number DIA 6479 and it was running perfectly throughout its life, even on long trips. However, Harpal’s family members also mentioned that he took great care of the car.
The Fate of the First Maruti 800
The production of the Maruti 800 was completely stopped in February 2014. The first Maruti 800 now lies rusting in front of Harpal Singh’s Green Park residence in Delhi. The car is unclaimed by anyone after both Harpal and his wife died. His daughters live with their husbands and they are also not interested in owning the car.
There is no proper information about the state of the first Maruti 800 at the moment, but according to NDTV Car and Bike, the family thinks that it should be considered as a National Treasure.
Has the Maruti 800 been of significance to you? Share your most favorite Maruti 800 memory with us.