Maruti Suzuki embarked on its journey in India with the iconic 800 hatchback. It was the first “Made in India” hatchback, and even today, there are many well-kept examples of this hatchback in different parts of the country. Besides the Maruti 800, the manufacturer also launched the Omni and the Gypsy, which is a legendary 4×4 SUV. Maruti even ventured into the sedan segment with the Maruti 1000, later replaced by the Maruti Esteem in 1994. Finding an Esteem on the road is quite rare, as it was discontinued in 2007. Here, we have the story of a son who decided to restore his father’s Maruti Esteem, as it was his last wish.
The story of this Esteem restoration was shared by Sohan Bala on Team-Bhp. The person who shared this story mentions that his father and grandfather were automobile enthusiasts who used to work for Hindustan Motors. Before purchasing the Esteem in 1995, they owned a Maruti Omni, their first car, and then a Premier Padmini. They bought the Maruti Esteem in Metallic Maroon shade, and since then, the car has remained in the family.
With modern cars flooding the market, the family bought a Volkswagen Polo. The Esteem was still being used by his father, but due to his age, he found it difficult to use it within the city and considered buying a small used car. He even searched for some, but one day, he spoke to Sohan about completely restoring the car. The AC in this 28-year-old car was not working. Sadly, in 2020, during the lockdown, his father passed away.
The project was put on hold for a year, and the son decided to fulfill his father’s last wish by restoring the car to its original condition. Since this was a Type 1 Maruti Esteem from 1995, finding parts and replacements was the major challenge. He took the car to a nearby workshop, and they started making a list of things that needed to be sourced and replaced. The son got in touch with Maruti dealerships and service centers to find parts. After receiving rejections from many shops, he began to get results.
He even wrote emails to Maruti to obtain the required parts. The bumper, headlamps, tail lamps, tailgate garnish, and reverse lamp were all replaced with OEM products. He also removed all the weather strips around the windows and other panels to prevent future issues. The lockdown and local restrictions during the restoration work were causing problems as they affected the logistics of the ordered parts.
The car was completely stripped, and they even obtained the original paint code for the Esteem from a Maruti dealer. The floor mats were all removed to check for rust, and surprisingly, there weren’t many issues. Once the body panels were all sanded down, the car was taken to the paint booth for a complete paint job. Meanwhile, the engine overhaul was carried out. The carburetor had issues, so after extensive searching, he found a repair kit online. The steering box, clutch assembly, front lower arms, alternator bearing, all cables, and engine belts were also replaced as part of the project.
The stock RC12 AC kit in the Esteem was not working. They couldn’t source a new AC unit from Maruti, and while searching for one, they received a call from a scrapyard about an Esteem MPFI that had been driven into the scrapyard. The owner rushed there with a technician to check the parts and found the AC kit in perfect condition. The owner even had the upholstery in the car redone at a small shop near his place. All the interior panels were either redone or replaced. Once again, lockdown and restrictions were major problems.
It took them more than five months to actually complete this project. The owner even ordered new rims for the Esteem. After all the work was finished, the owner took the car for test runs and found more issues, such as a faulty fuel pump and a radiator fan. All these issues were resolved after sourcing parts from a scrapyard or Maruti parts sellers. Finally, he drove the finished product back to his house, and the end result looks like a brand-new car that just rolled off the production line.