35 years of the Maruti 800. A Car That Changed the Automotive India

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35 years of the Maruti 800. A Car That Changed the Automotive India

Did your life ever revolve around a tiny 4 door car named Maruti Suzuki 800. Did you life ever shuffle around the streets where the humble Maruti 800 stood around the corner in colours of red, white or even blue. You might even have memories of having one in your family and even owning one. Chances are there the humble 800 was your first car. Well on this note, the small Maruti 800 complete 35 years of existence today in the automotive history. Numerous iterations, little changes here and there, 3 facelifts and still the car held up the iconic image of the original 1st generation SS80 which was based on the Suzuki Fronte.

Every single Indian has an attachment to the car, the car was practical and affordable when launched. It was a car which gave the Indians on road movement while being affordable.

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In it’s first generation or more commonly known as the SS80, Maruti 800 was first introduced in India in the year 1983 when on 14th Dec during a grand ceremony. Then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi handed over the keys of India’s first Maruti 800 to Mr. Harpal Singh, who won the lucky draw to be India’s first Maruti 800 owner. On December 14th it marks the 35th birthday of the humble commuter car which laid foundations for the generations to come.

First Owner of Maruti 800
Harpal Singh, a resident of Delhi, First Owner of Maruti 800

Before the Maruti, the Indian market saw the like of the HM ambassodor and the Fiat 1100. Which did sell good but they were not fun to drive. The Maruti Project was a brainchild of Mr. Rajiv Gandhi who was a automotive enthusiast himself. The first model SS80 was based on the 1979 Suzuki Fronte which had a 800 cc F8B engine. All the later models were based on the same platform with the only major change coming 3 years later in 1986.

The Maruti 800 CB72 had some major and much needed changes from the the original SS80. It then continued selling for 11 long years without any problems and with the maruti network growing, people just kept on buying it. 11 years later came the facelift and another variant with a 5 speed gearbox and a fuel injected engine which produced 45 HP, 8 more than than the old CB72.

35 years of the Maruti 800. A Car That Changed the Automotive India

The last of the Maruti 800’s was the 4 speed, 3 cylinder, 796cc car which had fuel injection to meet the new regulations. After this Maruti decided that they will no longer invest to update the 800 to meet the coming government regulations of Euro IV and then soon phased out the legand.

More than 2.7 million examples were sold over its life cycle. It really was the car that put India on wheels and through the pages of automotive history.

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