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Old 26th September 2022, 12:49   #16
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

We used to have a 2006 Wagon R and to date we regret selling it for its poor descendants. Absolutely the best gearbox and engine combo for the city. We also own a 2004 Alto which is probably the one car we will never sell. For a while now I’ve been wondering whether the plonk the 1.1 engine and gearbox into it and get the best of both worlds. You’re right about the handling though. That’s the one thing that was always the Achilles heel of the Spin. The heavy engine block took its toll. Great car to have though. A keeper. Congrats
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Old 26th September 2022, 13:18   #17
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Agree, our WagonR 2006 with LPG was a steal for the price we bought at the time and should have kept it, considering today’s fuel prices. The lack of a good suspension hit sales though. Please advise your friend to get the IND plates. Cops here in Bengaluru have been fining a lot of guys especially 2 wheelers for that.
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Old 26th September 2022, 13:38   #18
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Nice Write up, brought back my memories of Alto Spin 1.1 from early 2000s.

My friend had a new Alto Spin 1.1 back then and since he was still learning, I ended up driving the Alto majority of the time.

We took the Alto for a 2 week trip to Kerala and I managed to overtake everything except a Honda City vtech. It was such a fun car to drive and well planted on the ghat as well.

Regards
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Old 26th September 2022, 13:44   #19
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Excellent write-up Nikhil. This thread brought back wonderful memories. My grandpa had a 2001 VX 1.1 from June 2003 to February 2009. He had bought this car after retirement as he wanted to learn to drive. However, he was unsuccessful in his attempts. So, dad was the person who was using the car most of the time. I used to keep staring at the car for a long time from the balcony whenever I went to my grandparents' place as grandpa wouldn't let me sit in the car unnecessarily.

OT - Does your friend Nirmal own a white 1.1 VX?

Last edited by TurboKat : 26th September 2022 at 14:11.
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Old 26th September 2022, 15:13   #20
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RT13 View Post
We used to have a 2006 Wagon R and to date we regret selling it for its poor descendants. Absolutely the best gearbox and engine combo for the city. We also own a 2004 Alto which is probably the one car we will never sell. For a while now Iíve been wondering whether the plonk the 1.1 engine and gearbox into it and get the best of both worlds. Youíre right about the handling though. Thatís the one thing that was always the Achilles heel of the Spin. The heavy engine block took its toll. Great car to have though. A keeper. Congrats
Had the 2007 Wagon R and pretty much learnt driving on it. The car was a hoot to drive. Sold it in 2012 but that rocket will always have a special place in my heart.
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Old 26th September 2022, 17:06   #21
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Nostalgic thread!

At some point of time, had a 2000 WagonR, a 2000 5 speed 800 and 2003 Alto 1.1 Vxi (not sure if there was an Alto 800 at that time).

Alto 1.1 was the most premium out of these, but lacked practicality as a family car. Fun, yes. Decent handler. Once the 800 version was launched, that felt light and flimsy! compared to the original 1.1.

Looking back today, it wasn't a value for money buy but purely bought by heart for a fun car.
Alto was positioned as a relatively premium product initially, priced same as WagonR but when Maruti couldn't get the numbers they started selling it cheaper with the 800cc version. Not only it lost its 'premium' it made the early adopters realize that it is actually an 800 replacement and not from WagonR segment as it was priced!

Eventually in 2013 we replaced that Alto with another Alto Vxi the K10. While the old 2003 Alto felt better put together, the K10 was more fun to drive. K10 was lighter, more powerful, more spacious but slightly worse handler with soft suspension.

The K10, is still parked downstairs, probably waiting to be replaced by another car to be bought purely by heart like the original 2003 purchase.
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Old 26th September 2022, 17:54   #22
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Wow what a thread, my first memories of being in a car were in an Alto 1.1. My father got one right around the time I was born. I used to love this car to bits. I remember leaning over to just crank the engine at the age of 3/4. The Alto is single-handedly responsible for turning me into a petrolhead. I was so sad when the car got swapped with a Honda City in 2007.
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Old 26th September 2022, 19:00   #23
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Memories revived!
Thank you for the amazing write up.
The Alto 1.1 VXI was the 2nd car in our garage and I have loved travelling in it growing up. The AC, power windows and a rear wiper were such a welcome change from the earlier owned Maruti 800.
What was even more welcome was that this car did not need the clutch to be depressed even in Neutral gear to start the engine. This was a mandate in the Maruti 800.
We held onto it for a good 11years before replacing it with a VW Polo 1.2
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Old 26th September 2022, 23:13   #24
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

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Originally Posted by SainiAvi View Post
Memories revived!
Thank you for the amazing write up.
What was even more welcome was that this car did not need the clutch to be depressed even in Neutral gear to start the engine. This was a mandate in the Maruti 800.
Glad you enjoyed reading the thread
However, to the best of my knowledge, one doesn't need to hold down the clutch in neutral while starting an 800, unless your car had some aftermarket lock fitted to prevent theft back in those days. That was however a feature in the Hyundai Getz and first gen Verna, our Getz had it and a couple of times we thought the battery was down as the driver forgot to press the clutch before starting the car lol.
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Old 26th September 2022, 23:20   #25
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Here are some images of Nirmal's beautiful 1.1 from Coimbatore. The aim for 4213 is to bring it to this condition by the end of the year. It will soon be going in for a full repaint and will receive some fitting alloys

Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!-img20220926wa00151.jpg

Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!-img20220926wa00161.jpg

Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!-img20220926wa0017.jpg
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Old 26th September 2022, 23:35   #26
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Enjoyed reading about your Alto 1.1 L now becoming rare. It was really a class apart much like the Palio GTX 1.6 L and the VW Polo GTi 1.8 L, that were also wolves in sheep's clothing. These were never appreciated by the"average kitna deti hain" class of buyers and hence got sold in miniscule numbers before being discontinued.

The Alto 1.1 L was however discontinued owing to the cannibalisation phobia that would put Wagon R sales on the defensive, as sensed by Maruti, its Almighty maker. Maruti also feared that the Maruti 800 five speed will eat into the sales of its then newly launched Alto 0.8 L. Hence, unplanned launches of better performing variants and the cannibalisation phobia sadly overwhelmed Maruti during those years.

For a change rather than getting influenced through archaic mindsets, Maruti would have done better just by seeing the huge technical specifications lists from the developed countries of a single car model, with more and powerful power plants, fitted for variants as options.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 26th September 2022 at 23:37.
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Old 26th September 2022, 23:45   #27
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

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Originally Posted by BeemerBug_06 View Post
Here are some images of Nirmal's beautiful 1.1 from Coimbatore. The aim for 4213 is to bring it to this condition by the end of the year. It will soon be going in for a full repaint and will receive some fitting alloys
The car looks smoking hot. Eagerly waiting for the version 2.0 of 4213.
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Old 27th September 2022, 08:22   #28
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

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Originally Posted by BeemerBug_06 View Post
Glad you enjoyed reading the thread
However, to the best of my knowledge, one doesn't need to hold down the clutch in neutral while starting an 800, unless your car had some aftermarket lock fitted to prevent theft back in those days. That was however a feature in the Hyundai Getz and first gen Verna, our Getz had it and a couple of times we thought the battery was down as the driver forgot to press the clutch before starting the car lol.
Oh maybe I missed something there. I'll see if my Dad remembers anything
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Old 27th September 2022, 10:25   #29
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Excellent write up

I remember taking a short ride in a friend's VXi and the first thing I noticed was the car pulling 3 people, up a flyover, with AC on, silently and effortlessly!

Later when I drove the F10D on the WagonR it was clear that it was a league above the F8B/C/D that I had driven till that point and honestly even the K10B I drive now.
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Old 27th September 2022, 23:30   #30
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Re: Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!

Thank you for this wonderful thread.

Brought back lots of memories. Excuse me while I pour it out here.

I had a VX 1.1 for more than 13 years from 2001. And it was literally a pocket rocket considering its' size. Coming from a M800, this felt a more modern car. Wow, digital trip meter! Wow, back lit speedometer and oh, wow, a tachometer ! Internally adjustable (manual) ORVMs were a luxury after years of asking your co- passenger to 'kindly' adjust the passenger side mirror for you. I had retrofitted one in my erstwhile 8 double 'O'.

Our highways were not too wide during those years and this was the perfect car for those quick overtakes in short gaps. I used to grin wickedly as I used to watch cars three to ten times the price of the car not able to keep up on the highways. They had the pace, but they didn't have the space. Ok, I'm sounding cheeky now, but thats' how it was then. It was a time when I was still young and a 'not so sedate' driver. I shudder to think now of the speeds I did on that car.

It was after my son was born that I started slowing down. This became a city only car and long trips were only in my dad's Accord. The Alto had no airbags at that time. A kerb weight of around 750kg meant the tires were barely touching tarmac at high speeds. I have had quite a bit of my fare share of scary moments on panic braking in that car. I have unwittingly done a power slide on this once. This was when I had to brake hard while making a turn at a junction. I had to avoid hitting a bike that jumped a red light. The rear started moving out and I had to opposite lock and accelerate. Fortunately the front found traction and I straightened out. The biker must have said some extra prayers that day. As for a guy on the roadside, he gave me a thumbs up, thinking it was an intentional power slide when actually, I had my heart in my mouth. It also reminded me to change the tyres ASAP. Since then I am obsessive about changing tyres before they are fully worn out.

My car was the initial VX 1.1 model without the 'i'. Which means that there is no electric power steering (SPIN in Maruti speak). Because of the heavier engine up front, the steering was very tedious at parking speeds. The smaller steering wheel only compounded the problem. But this was a boon at higher speeds. It gave good road feedback which is critical if you are an enthusiast. At that age, I didn't find this a problem. I doubt I will be able to drive it now without a visit to my Physiotherapist.

As a proud Indian, I have carried up to 9 passengers in this car (including 2 kids) and this thing pulled up inclines quite well with such loads (albeit with some downshifting and effort). The gearbox in this was not as smooth as the Zen or Esteem, but it did its' business well.

Like most of the Maruti engines of its' time this was a workhorse and is quite remarkable for something at its' price point. I did a Vahan search of my erstwhile Alto and I am happy to say that it still seems to be running. The present owner seems to have renewed its' insurance till next year. The age of the car as mentioned is 21 years and 2 months ! I don't know the condition of the car now. But hows' that for something that had cost just around three and half lakhs on road.

I struggled to find some good photos, and sadly these are all I could recover from my hard drive.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!-291208_1753.jpg

Thats' her in her middle years with my wife and son. Only mod is the alloy wheels. They definitely improve the looks. I am now missing the golden years of sunfilms.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!-20130614_174037.jpg

This sad photo was taken for an insurance claim after a small shunt with a truck. By this time, I was fighting the upgrade itch and started playing with the car to pacify myself. Apart from that 'over the top' spoiler, rain visors and upgraded upholstery; this had a K&N drop down filter and free flow exhaust. Notice, no sunfilms.

Maruti Suzuki Alto 1.1 - The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing!-20141117_102020.jpg

In the end, this is the very last photo of her before she was sent off to her new home.
It was sold off to be replaced by another hot hatch - was bought by a neighbour in Thrissur for his wife.
It was an emotional moment as the car was with me through my college years, through my initial professional struggles, my marriage and the birth of my son.

I am glad she is still around and hope she is being well taken care of.
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