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Old 23rd March 2010, 11:01   #1
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The primary aim of me joining Team BHP one week back was to pay my gratitude to my dearest car a 1993 Zen which has completed 150000Km. Yes no typos here.
Some more startling facts

1) It is still my primary car, running 32 km every week day and around 12000Km every year including innumerable highway trips.
2) This car has taken me to most of the tourist places,hill stations and temples in 3 south Indian states of KA,KL and TN.
3) This 17 year old car is 99.9% rattle free.
4) The engine of this car has never been opened at least in7 years of my ownership.
5) The car still starts with a single crank even when it is left unused for say a week.
6) The car can effortlessly cruise at 140KMph.
7) The car never had a highway breakdown in my ownership period.
8) This should be the oldest Zen in Team BHP.

This car has left me wonder whether machines are really lifeless machines or they have a mind of their own and unmatchable loyalty to the owner who treats them well.

So why this tribute now? I have decided not to strain her anymore and she deserves a peaceful retired life. But no way I can part with the car. So decided to relocate her to my native place. She will be taken care there and I can take her for a spin whenever I make a visit. Meanwhile a brand new Polo highline will replace her. Read on...

Way back in 2003, I had just learned driving and was looking for a car for my friend. I had no intention of any purchase since at that time I was working in a Public sector company with very meager salary and could not afford one. We test drove a lot of cars mainly 800 and Zen for him. He was not satisfied with any.
Then one day on his behalf I went to test drive this white 1993 Zen with a second hand dealer on Residency road. The Odometer showed 52,xxx. From outside it looked very clean and it was a lady driven car. I went inside and started the car. Then I realized it was not like any other car which I had test driven. It was a real ZEN (Zero Engine Noise). I was floored by the test drive. So smooth and refined. Then I realized this was one of the early batches of Zen which was having most of the parts imported from Japan. The price quoted was 1.75 lacs. Looked too high to me.
My friend expressed his disinterest. But I could not let it go. So I tried to bring down the price to something which I can afford. But the dealer did not budge for anything less than 1.65 lacs. I was literally floored by the car and even for such a high price I agreed to buy it. Mind you, we had seen many later model Zens before. But none could match this car. So I somehow arranged the finance with heavy interest and brought home this beauty.

Thanks all for the kind words.
@captain slow, I will never sell this car. Also I don't think anyone else who owns one will do so. i will come to servicing part later.
@recshenoy Yes parts including engine are Japanese. FE is a mystery 9-10 in city and 17-20 on highways. The low city mileage i think is due to the road I travel 32 km daily, The old airport road.
Does she look like a 17 year old? Picture taken some where on Mysore-Coorg road.
Attached Thumbnails
1993 Maruti zen MH 410 @ 1,50,000 Km:A tribute-zen.jpg  


Last edited by Dippy : 26th March 2010 at 10:38. Reason: Merging to make a single post
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Old 23rd March 2010, 14:16   #2
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Great Mr. Veteran!

Awaiting more details.....

Congrats on your new buy. Also mention your ownership reviews of Polo.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 14:36   #3
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Ah another toyota Hilux! The first gen zen's/ 1000's and esteem's just keep on going for ever! mine has done 130 thousand KM and even my engine has never been opened till now
I totally agree with you even my esteem has been extremely loyal and been running without any problems just as long as you treat them right.

And congrats on your polo but please don't sell the zen.These cars are rare!

By the way, where do you get your car serviced in Bangalore? I will surely want to give my car there too.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 14:46   #4
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nice to hear about reliable zen.
is it from first set of zens delivered in India? has it got japanese parts!

Quote:
3) This 17 year old car is 99.9% rattle free.
completely agree!

Quote:
5) The car still starts with a single crank even when it is left unused for say a week.
6) The car can effortlessly cruise at 140KMph.
thats great! max we tried on my zen was 130

only problem with zen is bad AC and drop in pick up with A/C.

what FE you get (city and highway) ?

awaiting for pic!
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Old 23rd March 2010, 17:04   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poloman View Post
........Then I realized it was not like any other car which I had test driven. It was a real ZEN (Zero Engine Noise). I was floored by the test drive. So smooth and refined. Then I realized this was one of the early batches of Zen which was having most of the parts imported from Japan....
We have a '99 model carb Zen and it would take a lot of persuasion for me to sell it. I remember when it was released in '93 it was the car to own. I had just got my driver's license and was on the lookout for a zen owner to befriend. When I finally did get to drive one, I was floored. That 5 km has been my most memorable drive so far. Sure, I've driven better cars, but somehow nothing quite equaled the Zen in terms of the 'kick'. Our '99 Zen is not as smooth as the earlier models, but great fun nonetheless.

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........FE is a mystery 9-10 in city and 17-20 on highways. ....
Even our Zen has a lousy city FE. Wonder why. Highway mileage is great though.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 17:24   #6
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I have driven many cars in US and india. But the special feel is missing in every other car i have driven. The gear shift! You have to feel it to believe it. The agility of this car in Bangalore traffic is unmatched. City mileage is one big issue. She drinks 4000Rs worth petrol every month.

Last edited by poloman : 23rd March 2010 at 17:26.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 19:03   #7
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Very Very Strange, I have got a '99 Carb Zen and even the mileage I get is excatly similar. 9-11 kmpl in City and 16-18 kmpl on Highways.

City Vs Highway is a great gap. Most of the cars have less gap. Wonder why ZEN so different!
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Old 23rd March 2010, 19:26   #8
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that's good usage of a very good car. used jem hunter heh!! Car looks tidy.
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Old 23rd March 2010, 19:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poloman View Post
3) This 17 year old car is 99.9% rattle free.
Wow are you serious. My 2000 Carb Zen has rattles on the front left door even after 2 fixes.

Thats a superbly maintained Zen. Congrats (even though its pretty late for partying).

Quote:
Originally Posted by devrajman View Post
Very Very Strange, I have got a '99 Carb Zen and even the mileage I get is excatly similar. 9-11 kmpl in City and 16-18 kmpl on Highways.

City Vs Highway is a great gap. Most of the cars have less gap. Wonder why ZEN so different!
My Zen gives me 12 KMpl (with 100% AC) in city and 15 KMpl (with 100% AC) in highways. Dont worry about the difference my other ride, a Petrol Elantra gives me 7.5 kmpl in city (100% AC) and 15 Kmpl (100% AC with sustained speed of above 120KM/hr) in highways. Most opf the carsbehave this way. One of my firends City ZX gives 10 in City and 17 in highways. Its all depends on the way you drive and the traffic conditions. So dont worry and wnjoy your ownership.
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Old 24th March 2010, 10:40   #10
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Congrats on maintaining the car so well .Yes ,the Zen has been one of the best cars that I have driven till date.Having owned a mpfi version which did close to 1.2L kms in 7 years ,I can vouch for its bullet proof reliability.Never has it let me down on any of my drives .And, I remember one incident where SUVs were stranded on the flooded Hosur road in Bangalore ,but i managed to come out this stretch with water almost at headlight levels.I know it was reckless to have attempted that ,but still the car got me out it.

I finally sold the car as I wasnt sure if I would be returning back to India :(.

The last i heard is that the new owner has driven close to 70k kms in the last one year and hasnt faced any issues till date
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Old 24th March 2010, 11:07   #11
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@speedsatya, the problem is no one believes you when you say a 17 year old car can match today's modern cars in the driving pleasure.

The initial hiccups.
After two days of ownership the car stalled on the busy JC road at around 8pm. But there was a small garage nearby and they diagnosed the problem to fuel pump not working. They did not have the full know how to diagnose the issue. So someone they put a bottle of Petrol inside the bonnet connected to a hose coming from carburetor. Car came alive and was delivered to my home in that condition. Next day I called a friendly mechanic and he diagnosed the issue to a blown out fuse. This was the only breakdown the car had in the full seven years of ownership.

The only Major accident
After 2 months of purchase I did a trip to my home town in Kerala. I and my friend were returning to Bangalore from Kozhikode and I was driving the car. We reached Richmond road and those days Richmond road was a two way. I did a blind overtake manoeuvre and the car crashed to a divider which suddenly came up. I managed to control the car. The major damage was limited to the lower arm and the right side fender. The car was barely drivable due to the lower arm damage. Somehow took the Car to RNS Yeshwantpur and the final bill came to around 10K.

From then on it has been a trouble free ownership. I never track the money spend on her. Still it may be close to 60-70K including the body works, alloys and BS GIII rubber.

Last edited by poloman : 24th March 2010 at 11:12.
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Old 24th March 2010, 11:22   #12
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Well, poloman what a mileage clocked with the carb ZEN. And how did you take it upto 140. Mine refused to go above 120. It certainly had an OOMPH factor those days and the facelifted and the Estilo versions miserably failed to live up to its glory. BTW, Happy mile crunching with the baby Volkswagon.
I also drive a '99 carb Zen and find that the gearshifts are much better than some of the contemporary Marutis.
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Old 24th March 2010, 11:29   #13
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As far as I'm considered, ZEN is the Best hatchback(above 1liter) ever manufacured in India.
I owned a ZEN too, It was a very beautiful car indeed to drive with quick acceleration.
Only a true ZEN lover will understand the value of this car.

Believe it or not My car used to give me 12kmpl in city & 19+ kmpl on highway with sedate driving. The lowest mileage i ever got in my zen on highway was 15kmpl with speeds in excess of 120kmph.

Carb Zen & Carb Esteem engine sound are music to my ears, when in traffic if I see any ZEN I sometime roll down my windows of my present car just to hear the HISSING sound of the ZEN ...

Only negative of zen was low ground clearence.

Quote:
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And how did you take it upto 140. Mine refused to go above 120.
Zen can touch 150kmph. You can check my gallery for the same

Last edited by sushrutha : 24th March 2010 at 11:34.
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Old 24th March 2010, 11:42   #14
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Congrats!!!

My brother has a 97 model zen, everytime I drive his vehicle I realize how much of fun this vehicle gives.. This is a timeless classic.

The simple mechanical s can be attributed to its reliability. The 97 model has better plastics than the mpfi ones.
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Old 24th March 2010, 11:54   #15
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Utopian, The max speed depends a lot on the tyres and alignment. Only after addition of alloys and G3 tyres the car started giving these kind of top speed. The acceleration is superb mainly due to low weight I think. When I test drove a i20 immediately after Zen, I felt like driving a lorry.

Last edited by poloman : 24th March 2010 at 11:57.
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