I love cars! I love them beyond everything. It does not really matter whether they are Ferraris or Mahindras. I just love the idea of a car. It is so much more than a ton of steel, plastic and glass over 4 wheels! It is just a romantic experience for a car lover to own any car.
Indians got the first taste of this experience in a big way in 1983 when the Maruti-800 was launched.
The one pictured above was the first model of the legendary car. It was small, good looking, utilitarian and did the job. Most of the other cars were the bulky Ambassadors by Hindustan Motors. The 800 was the perfect Indian car.
Then came the upgrade in design.
My family had this one. The thing about 800s is, that it was the most common first car. It was the cheapest, most practical, most economical to run and not really ugly; basically a proper value for money buy. Which is the most important quality that any Indian looks for, in anything, in everything.
Then came another major upgrade in design for this workhorse.
This was to keep up with all the major launches from the likes of Hyundai and Tata.
Somewhere around this time Maruti also launched the Alto. This was basically to hedge against the people who were growing out of their first cars (which more often than not were 800s) and moving on to other manufacturers.
This was not only more contemporary in terms of design, it was also more powerful, better equipped and a little more car for the little more money you paid. Once this was launched, rumour mills started working that this was the replacement to the over worked 800.
The 800 was never just a car, except maybe now. It was a dream. It was an aspiration for the Indian middle class. Let us not getting into an economics lesson and analyse why it did well for so long, others will do that. This car is a part of our culture and history now as Suzuki plans to phase it out
in India. One of the major reason for doing this of course is that the dream of the Indian has evolved now.
At the same time it is also time for those who could not even dream of an 800 to start dreaming.
But this is not the space to talk about it. Today I reserve a permanent parking space for the first Indian dream.
I love this car! The original design the most. It was epic!