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Old 27th April 2009, 13:43   #1
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Default Zen and the Art of Buying your First Car

Pun unintended, of course!

Buying your first car is always a tough choice. It’s quite easy though to give out advice to friends who want to buy one. I decided to narrow down on what I could really afford, as opposed to what I could really buy. I could buy an Opel Astra or that ‘dream’ Tata Sierra, but I wouldn’t be able to maintain it as a daily driver.

Buying more than you want is a problem. But I couldn’t afford to make that mistake. The initial purchase budget being limited to a shade lower than one lakh, I had also decided that it had to be a Maruti. Marutis are like cockroaches – they are present everywhere, hardly require any maintenance, spares are easily available (nothing to do with the cockroach theory) and are easily disposable.

My mind began to wander when I saw classifieds such as:
97 Maruthi Esteem, 3rd owner, Excellent Maintenance, 90000kms, Rs.1,15,000 only.
Three previous owners is deterrent enough for me, but the idea of owning an Esteem appealed to me.

I also considered the Fiat Palio 1.6 GTX, Fiat Uno (petrol/diesel), Maruti Gypsy, Maruti 1000, pre 1998 Esteem, and a pre 1998 Zen. I had told myself that I will be partial to an old shape Maruti 800 (the model after the SS80). I wanted the old shape Marutis for the one particular reason that they looked like a design. The later ones came across as afterthoughts. Sure, it doesn’t affect the way a car runs, but I was particular.

Amidst all this confusion, I called a friend who runs a used car dealership. He casually mentioned a 1997 Zen, Single owner (two on paper), done about 67,000kms, asking for close to a lakh. I went that evening to his place, with no intention of buying the car. The bodywork looked nice, the car had not taken any major shunts, and the interiors smelt clean. The engine sounded healthy, and the gearshift was a bit notchy, but felt positive. The previous owner was an old lady and she never bothered to fit a stereo. The car was easy to drive in spite of no power steering.

It was pretty much what I had wanted. White car, black bumpers (for the sleeper look), unmolested, and ran on a healthy engine. And finally, this particular model of Zen still has fan following. I finally owned a cult car. Actually, I finally owned a car!
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Old 27th April 2009, 13:47   #2
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congrats!
the front grill is from a later model .
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Old 27th April 2009, 14:10   #3
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Congratulations on your first car! I know how valuable the feeling is.

Very interestingly named thread. You're going all Robert Pirsig on your car, it seems. Also, 67K kms in 12 years is not a bad deal at all.

Do post a detailed ownership review.
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Old 27th April 2009, 22:47   #4
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Thanks guys.

The grill is from the original model, but is a fake after market replacement. I ll wait for this one to give way before I put on the original one. But AFAIK, this is what the original Zen grill looks like. Pls show me a pic of you feel otherwise.


yeah, 67K in 12 years, and car was always serviced at an authorised service centre.
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Old 30th May 2009, 18:57   #5
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Congratulations.
Now time to hunt for that esteem engine
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Old 30th May 2009, 20:56   #6
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Is this is the original ZEN with the MH 410 engine? The 1995-1997 MH 410 were the best cars ever made by MUL.
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Old 30th May 2009, 21:23   #7
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Congrats! Seems to be a well maintained car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_trooper View Post
Thanks guys.

The grill is from the original model, but is a fake after market replacement. I ll wait for this one to give way before I put on the original one. But AFAIK, this is what the original Zen grill looks like. Pls show me a pic of you feel otherwise.
This is not the original grill for the 97 model zen.AFAIK this type of grill with Suzuki logo is present in zen from 2000 model onwards.

Last edited by stable rock : 30th May 2009 at 21:24.
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Old 30th May 2009, 21:35   #8
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Aha! A somewhat similar story as mine, same budget, same choice. Ive got a 97 red zen now. Got it for a decent price with alloy wheels and basic ICE. It took me 3 whole months to hunt down the car. I took into consideration, palios, esteems, zens, opels, etc. But I always had a sodt corner for a zen. Will post pics of my car soon. The only work on the car so far are, the fuel pump went kaput one day, so fixed an electronic fuel pump temporarily and the engine is a little weak, probably needs an overhaul. I seriously considered an esteem swap but the quotes are going way above 30k sadly.
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Old 30th May 2009, 22:19   #9
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Hi Friends
Even I own the original MH 410 Zen.I'm the first owner and still we have that car.It's driven around 80000 kms.Got it completly painted a couple of days ago.Will post the pictures soon.

Ford Fiesta ZXI ABS Tdci 2006 (sold)
Chevy Spark (2009)
M. Zen (1997)
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Old 5th June 2009, 12:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.V.R View Post
Is this is the original ZEN with the MH 410 engine? The 1995-1997 MH 410 were the best cars ever made by MUL.
Yes, original MH410. Strangely, I've heard the above line many times earlier. Feels good every single time.
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Old 5th June 2009, 13:59   #11
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the car looks immaculate for a 12 yr old baby. Nice find. Congratulations.
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Old 5th June 2009, 17:29   #12
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Congrats trooper on your first car. Zen is an awesome car to drive and learn the tricks of city driving in.

Happy motoring!
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Old 5th June 2009, 17:36   #13
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Congratulations. First car is always special and has a very significant emotional attachment, no matter what you go on to own after that. Have fun and drive safe.
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Old 5th June 2009, 18:05   #14
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Congrats, get the grill painted and if you plan to change tyres, fit 155/65 R 13 instead of stock 145/70
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Old 5th June 2009, 18:43   #15
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@the_trooper

Congrats man.
She looks really nice.

Couple of suggestions.
  • Paint bumpers white.
  • Get "new" style ORVM.
  • Paint grill (leave the mesh black/grey and paint the sides.)
  • Wider rubber 155/70 or 165/65
As siddartha mentioned its not the OEM grill for 97 model.
I'd say it is from 1999/2000.

I'm sure you'll enjoy.
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