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Why do i build?
The Beginning

People are curious and often think I'm stupid to spend time building up an underdog like the
M800, however i too was like one of them, until a few years ago. It all started when i started to
use the cheapest car at home for my daily commute, things started slow but as time went by the
bond between the man and machine seemed to grow stronger. Even though the car was built as
a common family hatchback, M800 was never like the Hyundai , which was my personal vehicle
at that time. A Hyundai Verna 1.6 petrol; the car i chose to be my partner in crime during my
college days. As with any true motor enthusiast , i too started to visualize the mods on the vern,
and soon enough it had a huge list of mods (forced induction, brake upgrades, suspension
upgrades, a power bumping and louder exhaust, etc )on that seemingly capable car. But the
car could simply never handle all the excess power, it was like owning a front wheel driven
muscle car, which by now you can already guess didnt really end up well. It simply refused to
turn , it was all but a straight line arrow; which was not what i wanted.
Call it luck or destiny, i live in the foothills of ooty , the one place where we started to relive what
the legends call hill-run, the pitch black tarmac, the cold air, the calmness of the moonlit night,
raised the adrenaline running through us. Verna , my car with an identity crisis of being an
americanized Korean muscle car couldnt just keep up with the sharp turns. The chassis , the
steering everything was just wrong for the task, for me it was just a lost cause.

Page 2 of 8

Why do i build?
The Reckoning

Then the day of reckoning came when i decided to take the puny M800 for our hill-run that night.
The feedback was just immensely surprising. Even though the car which was completely stock
and running on a what by was underpowered and understeered like a shopping cart, it provided
a feel that the Verna did ever manage to give even with its wider tyres and upgraded
From that day i realized that my Verna which by now has become a lost cause for my needs,
has to be said goodbye to, though i still miss her from time to time, after all she was a college
boys first ride.
Then M800 became my daily use vehicle, it was cheap and easy to fix; and this same reason
sparked the DIY fire in me , i started doing small small DIY stuff on her. But soon time came
when the small DIY didnt seem to satisfy the inner demon in me. I decided to approach other
builders and tuners for help. That decision marked a turning point in my life. Almost all of them
saw me as a kid who knew nothing about cars, or what he was doing. I was mostly greeted with
a response Jithesh get something else, this car isnt worth the time and effort, its not meant for
modding or the popular one dude , the car is crap, get yourself a bigger car man, this ones just
a 3 cylinder toy
I actually thought all this to be true and ran the M800 as it was for some time before i the
mechanic in me woke up and was like I know the basics of how the car works , and have keys
to my dads factory; then why dont i do the tinkering myself? The question was put on the table
and there began what now i feel is what the best decision i made in my life, a whole new DIY
project car!

Page 3 of 8

Why do i build?
The Mechanic

As I started the project my college mates had better cars and they had a loud free flow exhaust
on them, but me who was trying to learn how to make an end-can from scratch because no
aftermarket free flow exhaust then was small enough for the 800; a lot of tinkering , and I did it
eventually and the best part was ,no one could figure out what brand it was and it sounded
proper too... That was the first moment of success and the joy oh boy, that was quite something.
Next thing on the plate was the wheels and tyres , and those i cant possibly manage to make
those myself , i went ahead and bought a set of 12 plate alloys and 155 MRFs which became
balder than a marble statues bald head within 11,000 Kms thanks to my deep affection towards
that little lever beside the seat called handbrake. Then came the Yokohama rubber which
changed the whole driving style.
At that time i was spending an awful lot of time at my dads factory, ( i started working there as
well) , i decided its time i gave a bit of attention towards the mechanicals of the car as well, then
came the total rebuilding of the engine even though it never needed that at all, it was all done by
an overly curious part of my brain. And this rebuilding involved porting and polishing. It was then
i realized my dad was indeed paying quite a bit of attention in all my works here. Seeing my
interest in cars , he helped me set up an old garage in all its entirety for me to work on my cars
as well others like me. Then things got a bit serious and bought myself an old Amby for a huge
project; which is still going on. Its been two years and the project is still going on, but thats not
an issue for me since that single project is something i want to be done in nothing less of a
perfect finish.
Coming back to M800, to which i was getting more and more bonded to , got herself a set of
custom cut springs and slotted disc rotors which of course was a DIY by yours truly, which i
must admit was quite good from the response i got from a couple of friends who had a go in her.

Page 4 of 8

Why do i build?

The Meeting
The next phase is where i met some important people in my life simply cause of our mutual
interest in cars.
First off i met Vivek Venugopal, its when he saw my car at Kari Speedway, Coimbatore and
texted me via Facebook , that i was introduced to Quarter-mile and i was given the first QM
issue on which Ajay Vargheses nonetheless than epic Civic proudly adorned the cover. Its then
i realized that there were indeed some properly done up car in south.
It was the same common drooling for cars that made me new friends over at kochi too,from
them I came to know that people were popping 14 alloys on Zens for while over there, It was
then Ram Np who came to coimbatore for sourcing some parts for his White Mischief Zen, who
surprisingly allowed me to try on his Zens 14 wheel on my M800 , then we realized that she
can run on 14 shoes without any major issues. Now that highly frowned upon idea of putting a
14 wheel on a car that came with 12 stock etched itself into my mind. Some shots were taken
of with the 14 wheels on the M800 and were sent to Vivek (QM) for his opinion (He too shares
my OCD like problem , where even the slightest of things out of place would stand out as a sore
spot, so he was the perfect person to give me a 3rd persons view), the response i was got
made me wonder in disbelief, put on a set of 14 inchers and come over for a magazine shoot .
It was now that i realized i am indeed given her (M800) a new set of 14 inchers as her own.

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Why do i build?
The Hunt

The hunt for the wheels and rubber to go on them wasnt easy as i expected. 14 114.3 pcd
wheels did exist but the ones of my liking were almost non existent; After almost losing hope ,
the inner DIY guy in me started his weird ideas again, an idea of pcd conversion.
The work was done at my factory itself, with Babu Uncle , who was the chief machinist there,
helped me understand the basics of machining a new part and he himself oversaw the whole
procedure giving me pointers. As in everything, things didnt work out quite well according to the
plan in the beginning, but given the time and effort, things started to finally fall back into right
places and i finally had made myself 100 pcd hubs.
Now came the issue of having the best rubber for the new wheels, a lot of searching and loss of
hope later, it was Govind Nair (Club Saturn) who saved my ass by sourcing me a set of 185/50
14 Maxxis Tyres. It was Ram and Avinash helped me get the tyres.

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Why do i build?
The Birth

Wheels, Tyres, Suspension and what not, but I still had a lot of work to get done on the M800.
The dashboard was taken out and repainted to black, the rear roll bar was stiffened , the hood
and roof got a new Carbon Fiber Vinyl treatment.
Once the wheels and the tyres came along ,they were put on the car for the initial test. As with
any initial tests, there were problems, real ones. The major one was that the tyres seemed to
rub against the fender and that was not at all good for the new set of tyres as well as the wheels
and in turn the whole car. And by now the deadline for the QM feature shoot was just 5 days
away, now it was becoming real stressful. However after a series of quick calls and talks with a
couple of bright brains in the trade, the quickest solution for the problem was decided and that
was to weld the struts. Yes, it was not the brightest of the ideas but to our surprise, that idea
actually worked.
The alloys that i found to my liking were a set from Lenso , the PD08 which came in flat bronze/
gold finish which didnt quite go well with the color of my M800, so a long session on photoshop
and a whole lot of coffee later, the final result was visualized. It was decided the wheels will
indeed be recolored. White, the color of pureness was decided as the candidate, and the whole
set of wheels were sent for powder coating.
Once the wheels came back from the paint-shop , the first thing i did was pop them on, closed
the shutter of the garage for the week, and then along with Avinash Krishna and Rinson Paul
began what became the most bounciest journey of my life to Kochi!
Thus what began as a mere stock family car turned into something that could look a lot similar
to the picture i had in mind all the time. A really gorgeous looking hot-hatch born from what was
what people supposedly consider as the common mans family car.
And thus RED was born.

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Why do i build?
The Shoot

I am not sure how i made it till kochi, but i did it with the worst riding comfort setup in history,
and had a good nights rest at Rams place only to wake up to an early morning call from Vivek
asking us to report to a certain place in Kochi. Pumped up with all the excitement of the shoot
we reached the place to meet Vivek and a location for the feature shoot was decided.
The spot was epic, the scenery was just brilliant enough to make me forget about the ride till
there, the roads were rubbish and the whole bumpy ride just got amplified by the fact that RED
now had a welded up suspension.
Beach, Sand, Water , Clear sky and a perfect platform for parking the car for the shoot. We
couldnt ask for more. We were so engrossed in the scenery and excitement that we overlooked
the main problem we had at hand now , that all of the cars (RED, Viveks Ertiga, and Rams
Zen) had to be driven through the sand to reach that platform. Driving a FWD on a beach is
hard enough and now i had an extra pain in the ass literally that i had to do it without a
Vivek made it across in the Ertiga , but RED and Rams Zen got stuck, and we spend quite
some time pushing them out onto the platform in the scorching heat of the sun. Shoot went
brilliantly without a problem and it was Viveks time to test out REDs new 5 star comfort level.
He was almost knocked out after driving the RED and we all left the spot grinning wider than the
Joker himself. The evening was even funnier as Lal Barathan (LAP47) , Adith, Sandeep Bn and
Ram Np drove the all new RED for the first time, all of them almost losing their teeth driving her,
thanks to the stiffer than a , ahem bone , suspension or what was left of that for that matter. The
thing is that despite the ride quality the whole handling column on the RED just went up by a
100 points, yeah! Now thats what would later be the trump card in making RED what she is
today, the best handling M800 on the hills.
The week was done, and i came back to my world of Garage, Factory and constant DIY on
making the RED a bit more ahem ride-comfort worthy.

Page 8 of 8

Why do i build?

The Epilogue
It was after a whole month later , i saw my car featured on the cover of QuarterMile and made
me remember the first time i saw QuarterMile and what i said to myself that day so it seems
there were indeed some properly done up car in south, now that it seems that my RED may
finally have made its place in that list ,and it was all worth it.
Now the people who said i made a bad choice in choosing the M800 to make into what RED
now is, would be eating their own words.
Its to my utmost satisfaction that a lot of people do take M800 seriously, some dont, but why fret
? I too didnt in the first place, but now i see RED.
As they say Never judge a book by its cover.