Old is Gold: History of Maruti Gypsy

by Kshitij Rawat | 20/04/2020
141 0
Indian motoring scene has largely been dominated by one vehicle, the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy.

Most of us have seen the Gypsy battling sand dunes, jumping high over crests, shouting loud as the revs of its petrol engine rise and fall to the tune of the driver’s foot.

Old is Gold - Maruti Gypsy rally wallpaper

Maruti Gypsy - India's favourite rally car Image: Maruti Suzuki Motorsports

There aren’t many affordable off-roaders in India, and there certainly aren't many petrol-powered ones. Maruti Gypsy was the sole exception in our market. It was inexpensive, light, and relatively easy to maintain. The car had a cult following, not only among enthusiasts but various government agencies as well. The Indian Army, the Forest Department, etc., all preferred the Maruti Gypsy as their choice of transportation, owing to car’s go-anywhere ability and ease of maintenance.

Maruti Gypsy used by Indian Army

Maruti Gypsy is quite popular with the Indian Army

Surprisingly, even though the car was extremely popular, it never saw any major overhaul during its production run of over three decades. Here, we shall discuss the history of the iconic Maruti Gypsy.

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First-Generation Maruti Gypsy

Unlike other cars, Maruti Gypsy never received a generation change in India. As such, the first-generation was the only generation model! There were, however, a few changes over the years.

MG410

1985 Maruti Gypsy MG410

Maruti Gypsy MG410 soft-top Image: Mansworldindia.com

Maruti Suzuki Gypsy was first launched in India back in December of 1985. It was based on the second-generation Suzuki Jimny (long-wheelbase version, codenamed SJ40). It was powered by a 1.0-litre petrol, carburetted and naturally aspirated. The car was introduced as a soft-top convertible SUV, but a hardtop version was also introduced later.

Maruti Gypsy MG410 Specs

Engine Size

970 cc

Engine Type

Carburetted, inline, naturally aspirated (F10A)

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

49 PS

Max. Torque

72 Nm

Gearbox

4-Speed Manual

Weight

730 kg

 

The car was also offered with a low-ratio transfer box, which further added to its off-road dynamics. People loved the Gypsy’s power and driving dynamics. There was a ‘freewheeling’ mechanism, which allowed users to disconnect the front axles from the hub when 4WD wasn’t required, thus effectively turning it into a rear-wheel-drive vehicle! This system also helped marginally improve the fuel efficiency.

MG410W

1993 Maruti Gypsy MG410W

Maruti Gypsy MG410 hardtop Image: Wikipedia

July 1993 saw the introduction of Maruti Gypsy King, a wide-body version of the regular Gypsy. The wheel arches of these cars were more pronounced, and the fenders were stretched out. The ‘freewheeling’ mechanism was also removed. No other changes were made to the car.

MG413W

1996 Maruti Gypsy MG413W

Maruti Gypsy MG413W soft-top

In 1996, Maruti Gypsy got its first significant change in years. The 1.0-litre engine was upgraded to a 1.3-litre engine, sourced from the Esteem sedan. The new engine lent the car more power. This power gain was complimented by a new 5-speed gearbox, which sweetened the car’s character even further. The styling was also updated, most noticeable in the front grille.

Maruti Gypsy MG413W (Carburetted) Specs

Engine Size

1,298 cc

Engine Type

Carburetted, inline, naturally aspirated (G13BA)

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

66 PS

Max. Torque

103 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

Weight

985 kg

 

In March 2000, due to new emission regulation, Maruti decided to upgrade the engine with a 4-valve per cylinder design and a multipoint fuel injection system, from the previous 2-valve per cylinder and carburettor tech.

Maruti Gypsy MG410W (MPFI) Specs

Engine Size

1,298 cc

Engine Type

Fuel-injected, inline, naturally aspirated (G13BB)

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

80 PS

Max. Torque

103 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual

Weight

1020 kg

 

This model then continued production unchanged till the end of the line. When the updated emissions and safety regulations made the Gypsy, unfeasible, Maruti decided to pull the plug rather than update the car. The demand for Gypsy had grown weaker over the years, and the company saw no sales opportunity in updating the car. In March 2019, the car was officially out of production.

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Second Generation Maruti Gypsy (Expected Soon)

Suzuki Jimny 5-door

Suzuki Jimny (5-door model rendering)

In February of 2020, Maruti showcased the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny at the Auto Expo. The car generated a lot of buzz among the attending population, enough for Maruti Suzuki to consider the idea of launching the car in the near future. Also, the global demand for the Jimny was quite high, and Suzuki was also planning to set up a local manufacturing facility for the car in India, owing to the low cost of production in our country.

Maruti Gypsy mk2 (Suzuki Jimny mk4) Specs

Engine Size

1,462 cc

Engine Type

Carburetted, inline, naturally aspirated (F10A)

No. of Cylinders

4

Max. Power

101 PS

Max. Torque

138 Nm

Gearbox

5-Speed Manual/4-Speed Automatic

Weight

1070 kg

 

It is expected that during its first year of production, the Jimny will be exported to the international market, and India launch will happen the year after. The India-spec model is also expected to be different from the global version, in that it will be a long-wheelbase, five-door version of the regular Jimny.

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Fun Trivia

  • Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is the only Maruti vehicle to wear the Maruti badge from the start till the end of its production run, instead of a Suzuki badge.

  • When it was introduced in India, Maruti Gypsy became the default choice for rally car drivers, knocking Premier Padmini off the pedestal.

  • In June 2019, Maruti Suzuki was granted special permission from the Ministry of Defence for a limited production run of the Gypsy. The company was commissioned to build 3051 units for the Indian army, with no model to be sold outside of that.

 

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