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Old 21st September 2016, 14:23   #46
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

If someone asks me my dream car I'd say him Lambo or a Ferrari or Bugatti but in my mind I know what's my dream car is but I just wouldn't tell them as I know not many people outside team bhp shares the same thoughts and opinions. Upon hearing Zen as my dream car they'd think how boring and old fashioned am I!


But this car is indeed special. It's good enough to look even by today's standards. I love the low slung seats and the tiny all alluminium engine which purrs away to glory!

Around 93 or 94 my maternal uncle had just bought a new Maruti 800 and few months after that Maruti launched the Zen in Indian market. Upon looking at the Zen, my uncle just couldn't resist it's cute looks and immediately put his brand new 800 for sale and got himself the Zen -MH410 from the very first batch. His car was even cuter as it was yellow in color. I remember he used to tell that he had paid a premium for this color.

And the car never disappointed him for the coming 10 years or so for which he kept the car. Odo reading was more than one lakh kms at the time of sale.
I have many fond memories to cherish with this car during my childhood.

Zen is a marvellous little car. Hope I can own one in my life. It's a dream!
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Old 21st September 2016, 15:57   #47
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Samar,

You could have written your experience in 2 lines as
"My relative gave me his unused zen for my college runs. Got the car serviced and its doing fine for my city errands. Here are some pics attached".


But, you wrote an essay of 2000 words and each word, each sentence had the reader captivated from the word GO. Great writing skills.

I could relate to the feeling of contentment and happiness in your words.
During 2002, my roommate had a similar old zen in Ferrari red color. He migrated to US and had left the car behind. It used to be parked the entire month and I used to start it once a month, top up petrol and enjoy during the weekends. Fantastic go-kart like handling.

I still remember, in Nov 2002, we couple of friends had driven the car to Panvel Sri.Datta hotel for misal-pav and during our discussion, one guy said, lets go to Alibaug.

Without batting an eye-lid, we 4 guyz took off in an unknown car, with 500 rs petrol without any documents, without any tool, without knowing about the spare tyre, with floor board full of holes, the car took us to Alibaug and back safely. Speaks of the reliability of the little car even if it was neglected.

P.S thanks for enlightening us on the power mode in Zen. Yes, I too used it quiet frequently @ every red signal.
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Old 21st September 2016, 16:47   #48
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Superbly written review Samar! Totally enjoyed reading it and was captivating from the word "go". Wonderful pics with the colorful background (graffiti walls) as well. Kudos mate and hope the car continues to satisfy you for the years that it will be with you.
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Old 21st September 2016, 19:25   #49
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

You guys will get me into trouble, as I was glancing at all the loving replies, I was grinning from ear to ear, and turning slightly red as well. Everyone on the street would think I was a happy lunatic! Thank you so much all of you for all the kind words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saishivaj View Post

1. It is not an honest machine. :P It gave you the impression of being a small city car but it started out in 1993, if my facts are right, to be a premium offering over the Maruti 800.

2. I am not sure how many here would agree with me, but the Zen is a stable little machine.
Thank you mate, and I agree on both your points!, I have talked about the interiors of the car in today's day and age, and not when it was released along with 800. Secondly, I am a spoilt brat because of the Fiat, I assure you had I transitioned from a Santro to a Zen, the difference would have been apparent, but here its the other way around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post

Do please (just for fun) review the Gypsy and other similar "seat of the pants" cars for our collective enjoyment, will you?

Cheers and all the best!
Thank you so much sir, I have been following your queries on the Gypsy in the 4x4 section, I hope you do get one soon! I still have the picture of my dad's gypsy stuck on a wall in my room.

And I do hope you stick to your Yeti as long as you can. There is no replacement for a car like that currently, and it should serve you well for many years to come!
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Old 21st September 2016, 22:08   #50
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Congrats on your new acquisition. Enjoy your "Zen" experience.

As the previous owner of a non-PS 2001 Zen, the steering feel is great and even though the Fiesta (which succeeded the Zen) came close, I still miss the Zen, at times.
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Old 21st September 2016, 22:20   #51
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

What a great write up!
I have been wanting to pick up a M800 (to relive the 90's) and this thread might just change that.

PS: You mentioned that you write occasionally for an auto journal. I am curious to read them. Can you share?
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Old 21st September 2016, 22:31   #52
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

That was a great, great read! Thanks for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Queryanalyzer View Post

PS: You mentioned that you write occasionally for an auto journal. I am curious to read them. Can you share?
+1 to that. If you can write this beautifully about the zen, I am quite curious to read your other automotive articles.
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Old 22nd September 2016, 00:51   #53
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Damn, can you write! A thoroughly enjoyable and fun read! Nice pics as well! Took me back to the days when we brought home our first car - the 800.

The Zen, along with a lot of the other no-nonsense 90s cars, is a gem. Sure, they don't have ABS and wont embrace you with pillows when you crash, but the purity they provide is still sublime. Heck, if I wasn't a bit of a safety nut, I would buy the old Baleno, or Esteem with my eyes closed!

And yes, I don't really know if its the manufacturers who make a car seem a lot more capable than it is, or whether owners have become really overambitious with their car's capabilities nowadays, but everyone now wants to take their little built-for-city tin can and head out on the highways. I don't find anything wrong with that, but the problem comes when these puny, flimsy cars try to play hero, keeping up with much faster cars. Kwids, KUVs, Nanos being driven at 100!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samar117 View Post

It surprises me even to this day how car people can make such a strong connection with something that is Steel, Oil and Rubber. These pieces of transportation gain as much place in your heart and soul as a mate, girlfriend, boyfriend, significant other. And that is what Sally is to me.
You know when you go to a coffee shop with your really close friend and spend hours there, not utter a single word, and yet feel completely at peace and ease with the others company. Likewise when I park Sally everyday and look back, there really isn't much to say.

I simply nod. And so does She.
Couldn't have put it any better. :')
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Old 22nd September 2016, 06:58   #54
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samar117 View Post
Thank you so much sir, I have been following your queries on the Gypsy in the 4x4 section, I hope you do get one soon! I still have the picture of my dad's gypsy stuck on a wall in my room.

And I do hope you stick to your Yeti as long as you can. There is no replacement for a car like that currently, and it should serve you well for many years to come!
Please do share links to your other Automotive Articles. I would love to read them.

I also am hoping to get myself a Gypsy (the Wife appears to be extremely skeptical but hey..) Ive always loved the Gypsy and have indeed owned two in the past. But would want the 1.3Mpfi now (or maybe I will just settle for a 1.3 Carb model.)

And Yes, Grace of God I also would like to hang on to the dear old Yeti for as long as it is practically possible. As you rightly said, there isn't a worthy replacement in sight yet and being a pretty tough sort of vehicle, which is built very well, it should last for quite a while to come, especially given my low running.
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Old 22nd September 2016, 09:08   #55
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Wow, Samar. A very beautifully penned down post straight from your heart.

It reminds me of our family Zen ('99 LX carb), on which I learnt driving and man, did the steering work up my arms. Those were the days when this was a sort of a luxury hatch, only to plunge into ignonimity later by the horrid estillo.

Though you have stated its dated looks as a con, I think it still looks fabulous, much better than what we currently have in that segment. I hope you enjoy it to the fullest for the next two years and hopefully after that too, provided the NGT comes to its senses.
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Old 22nd September 2016, 18:53   #56
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

@samar it really was an absolute pleasure to read about your point of view on one of the best cars ever made with a touch of humor. I am sure your life with Sally is definitely going to be one that is enjoyable. Like someone mentioned here, the good old M800 has to be the car that just had the stuff you need in a car. Nothing fancy and everything was made to function. But the Zen was truly a great car and was offered as a premium hatchback.

Makes me think I should pen down something about an M800 MPFI 5-Speed pocket rocket I purchased couple of weeks ago. But trust me I would never be able to make it as interesting as the way you shared your experience with Sally and how you met her. I am sure there's more to come
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Old 22nd September 2016, 21:30   #57
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Wow! What a fantastic report! I read it twice, start to end and it brought back all the wonderful memories of the 90's flooding. Back in those days, I remember; the Zen was one of "the" cars to have. As school going kids, we were always dreaming of getting the Zen when we grew up. It was a breath of fresh air, in the sea of Padmini's and Ambassadors. Though, the A/C sapped the power, it was still a fun to drive car. Something different from the Maruti 800. The engine at nearly ~2L kms in your car, is a testimony, how; back in the good old days, everything was made so nicely and was so reliable even though it was spartan.

You've penned down the whole experience beautifully. Wish you all the best and enjoy her till you can!!
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Old 23rd September 2016, 18:13   #58
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

@Mods - Give this guy a regular column in the forum. He's a natural reader magnet.

Seriously awesome stuff, Samar. Got sucked into the story. Have some fond memories with the Zen as well. My uncle had a light green Zen which I used to ogle on in my teens. It used to be an absolute looker and he used to maintain it like gold. The initial photos with the good ol' Maruti key and the interior pics brought back a flurry of memories of me getting into his car and acting like I was driving it Thanks for making my Friday. Please share details of the other forum where you post reviews - would definitely want to subscribe.
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Old 24th September 2016, 12:02   #59
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samar117 View Post

Sally is honest.

This attribute might seem weird but hear me out. In my mind certain cars would embrace what they are come what may, and the Zen is one example of that. It is a cheap, built to cost city car. And it acts that way. The doors are thin, the engine is small, size is compact. It's like if you took it to the highway, she would look back and say Hey I'm not meant for this, and YOU know that. Another car which comes to mind is the WagonR. Heck even the name has wagon in it. It's a spacious city car and that's about it. Why are you expecting it to carve corners? Isn't it telling you in all honesty what it's capable of?
And cars like these are a dying breed. It seems the world has been taken over by imposters, wearing plastic claddings and pretending that they can off-road.
THIS!!
This makes complete sense. You should see the abominable impostors around (I am looking at you Brezza and the BR-V, Whats up with the Brrrrrssss?). Some cars absolutely have no (street?) cred and are all just claddings and lifted suspensions.

Some of the honest cars I know - Alto, WagonR, Toyotas (Etios, Corolla, Fortuner), Punto, Lodgy etc.

Fake cars - Dzire, Brezza, BR-V, Mobilio, Kwid, etc.
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Old 25th September 2016, 01:14   #60
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Default Re: Cheap Thrills: My pre-owned '03 Maruti Zen VXi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samar117 View Post
[
Sally is honest.

This attribute might seem weird but hear me out. In my mind certain cars would embrace what they are come what may, and the Zen is one example of that. It is a cheap, built to cost city car. And it acts that way. The doors are thin, the engine is small, size is compact. It's like if you took it to the highway, she would look back and say Hey I'm not meant for this, and YOU know that. Another car which comes to mind is the WagonR. Heck even the name has wagon in it. It's a spacious city car and that's about it. Why are you expecting it to carve corners? Isn't it telling you in all honesty what it's capable of?
And cars like these are a dying breed. It seems the world has been taken over by imposters, wearing plastic claddings and pretending that they can off-road.


The 800 may have brought personal transportation to the masses. But it was the Zen that brought fun to them.

And even now, here in 2016, for someone who's never had a Zen in their family, for someone who never liked low seating, it has come to mean so much.
Think of the Zen as that comfortable old cotton pant or boxer that you wear at home. It doesn't matter if it's discolored or torn, you know you are the most comfortable in them, no matter how good that pant from Zara looks on you. All of it's faults and all of it's virtues meld together so that you don't notice them anymore.

It surprises me even to this day how car people can make such a strong connection with something that is Steel, Oil and Rubber. These pieces of transportation gain as much place in your heart and soul as a mate, girlfriend, boyfriend, significant other. And that is what Sally is to me.
You know when you go to a coffee shop with your really close friend and spend hours there, not utter a single word, and yet feel completely at peace and ease with the others company. Likewise when I park Sally everyday and look back, there really isn't much to say.

I simply nod. And so does She.
You. Sir, are a great writer. Someone who connects with his keyboard as he connects with his car.

I felt as if it was written by a version of me. I am amazed

Meet Roadrunner
All the 90's, brilliant engine, balanced chassis, feather light, revs to hell and back, lots of fun. Ohh, i'm not letting her go anytime soon.
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