|Maruti 800: As it looked in 1984|
One of my Uncles, who was financially well off and he recently returned from one of his abroad trips. He end up buying his first car which happened to be India's most sold car then. It was a very small hatch back called Maruti 800. As its engine was an 800 CC 35 BHP, it was called the same. It was such a small car that only four adults could hardly sit in it and an average kid could adjust too on the back seat. Surprisingly it was a breeze to drive, I realized that during this trip of ours. As my cousin who was a damn good driver, was driving it with such panache that he actually enjoyed driving the little on a highway.
As we stayed around 200 KMS from where my uncle had settled. His wife along with her son drove to our place to invite us for the marriage. My Dad and Mom couldn't go immediately hence I was sent with them as the family representative and they promised to join us a week later. I was 15 years old and "Cars" were my favorite topic of discussion, followed by movies and music as they were my high priorities too. Even today the story remains same. Now this trip, I was looking forward to - for quite a while, reason being - first they recently returned from Nigeria and my eldest cousin picked up some damn good movies on VHS on their way back and second obviously the car that they recently bought.
Maruti 800 was initially launched in the year 1984 in India. It was conceptualized and designed by the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi's youngest son Sanjay Gandhi. It was finally produced by Maruti from India in a joint venture with Suzuki Motors Japan hence called Maruti Suzuki in India. The car was criticized big time before its launch, that it will not be capable of driving 4-5 adults to a long distance and would be very risky to drive. But the launch and following success - I guess, even Suzuki had not dreamed of. In no time, it became one of the most successful cars ever made in India, for more then a decade it ruled the sales charts and when their own second car came, In 1994 it became the second car to beat Maruti 800's record. Although not in production anymore. It became the dream come true for almost every Indian family falling in the category of "Middle Class Income Group".
We started quite early in the morning as we had to travel almost 200 Kilometers. We had hardly any luggage hence it fitted the cars small boot quite well. As I sat on the rear seat, the first thing I realized was that it was quite a small car yet had enough space for 5 regular size people to fit in. I was the only one on back and my Aunt sat ahead with her Son as he was quite a rash driver and was famous in our family for over speeding. As soon as we hit the highway, he hit the top gear of his 5 speed car with four forward and one reverse. In no time we crossed 100 KMPH and my Aunt started giving him warnings, to keep it at that and to not to go beyond it. Another thing I loved about that car was - it hardly made any noise or vibrated. For its size, the stability was quite good. My cousin set me up for a number game and had me count the trucks that we overtook, for the first hour till we took the tea break. As per my last count we had overtaken some 90 odd trucks in an hour and half and hit the half way mark of our journey.
As told by my cousin, the car had average pulling power but very good mileage. He was getting more than 20 KMS per liter of petrol and I guess that was quite economical, convenient and faster than traveling in a train. We took a break and he suggested the next stage of the game. Now as we took a tea and snacks break in a roadside dhaba. I had to keep an eye and count the trucks passing through the dhaba on the highway :). We were there for about 25 odd minutes and as we started again we were over taken by some 50 odd trucks. I wasn't happy with the speed we were traveling in because as fast as we traveled, my journey was coming to an end and I just loved going on and on, on the straight highway with nice summer morning breeze hitting us from all the windows rolled down. And I actually never wanted to end it. Not any sooner at least.
|Maruti 800: As it looks today.|