QotW: What’s the greatest Suzuki of all time?

We’re still depressed about the departure of Suzuki autos from the US. JNCers have already chimed in on what the company should have done differently, so perhaps before we can move on to Kubler Ross: 5th Stage!, we need to reflect upon some of the plucky motorcycle builder’s automotive successes. Therefore we ask:

What was the greatest Suzuki of all time?

It may not be the popular answer but we’re going out on a limb and say it’s the Jimny/Samurai. The micro-4×4 is often overshadowed by trucks like the Toyota Land Cruiser, but just look at any off-roading enthusiast site and you’ll find a cadre of devoted fans. The Jimny/Samurai is so popular it was built in Japan, Spain and India. It’s been immortalized in R/C and Hot Wheels form. It’s a consistent choice for the Mongolia Rally and a Chilean duo in a Samurai even holds the Guinness world record for highest altitude (21,942 feet) achieved by a four-wheeled vehicle. Supposedly, they found the previous record holder’s blown over “Jeep Parking Only” sign and brought it back down as a souvenir.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining or inspiring comment by next Monday will receive a random toy. Click through to see the winner from last week’s question, “What’s the best nostalgic for the Pacific Northwest?” 

It was great to hear JNCers from the rainy climes of Washington and Oregon chime in this week. However, the winner is bert, for his simultaneously hilarious, well-told and completely unverifiable adventure in his AW11. Guess we’ll just have to take your word for it bert, unless you dig up that newsreel footage!

The dump-the-Gatorade-on-the-coach quantities of rain we’ve had here recently had me thinking of my old ’86 MR2. I was cruising down the 5 in a torrential downpour in the thing wondering just how visible I was to the Dodge with the Skyjacker lift, when around a corner in Everett the entire southbound lanes were covered in water! The Dodge made a good show of it, but soon, he was up past his axles trying to wade past all the people climbing out their windows and trying to rescue the tow truck! Me, after a brief involuntary filling of my briefs, and my little MR2 with all of its anemic 2200lbs literally skipped across the pond like someone had thrown a rock. On the other side, I did a quick little 360 and motored on like a boss. I believe I made a DOT camera highlight on the local news that evening! I loved that car!!

Omedetou! Your prize from the JNC gashapon is a TTC Toyota MR2!

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21 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest Suzuki of all time?

  1. Nakazoto says:

    Hands down the Suzuki Fronte Coupe. Giugiaro + 360 ccs of 3 cylinder 2 stroke fury in the trunk makes this one a shoe in.

  2. Nigel says:

    Suzuki Swift GT/ Turbo…very fun car.

  3. Tofu_Delivery says:

    easy. suzuki capppuccino! FR super light kei car!

  4. Jake trainor says:

    The suzuki x-90. Because there like little off road smartcars and could embaress other off road vehicles when they are getting passed by one.

  5. Rayson says:

    Suzuki Swift GT! Fun and yet practical for daily drive. I would give up my 95 Civic hatch for a Swift GTi anydays!

  6. cesariojpn says:

    The Suzuki GS series. Considered to be one of the many “Universal Japanese Motorcycle” that was defined back in the 70’s. A simple bike you could hop on and drive without specialist training or worry it’s going to fall apart on you.

    As Cycle noted in 1976: “In the hard world of commerce, achievers get imitated and the imitators get imitated. There is developing, after all, a kind of Universal Japanese Motorcycle…. conceived in sameness, executed with precision, and produced by the thousands.”

  7. bert says:

    WOOOOO HOOOO!!! I been tryin for ten years to get another AW11, and it finally happened! Maybe a full size driveable version next? Thanks JNC! And, no I have not found proof of my story. Not that I looked very hard.

    As for this weeks QOTW, I’d have to agree with the very, very underated Samurai. It gained my Toyota biased respect, years ago, when a roomate of mine drove his up the side of a bridge embankment (without chucking it on it’s lid by the way! Take that Consumer Reports!)

    A little advice for Samurai owners, never use a Samurai and tow rope to compression start a motorcycle!

  8. shane_lxi says:

    About 5 years ago, I had about 6 friends, including my brother, who were extremely into Jeep Wranglers. I got pestered every time I went to work, a social gathering, or even a family gathering about getting a Jeep so I could go trail riding with my buddies/family. Now, jeeps are fine and good, but some things get so popular that manufacturers see the need to inflate prices on the simplest of parts. So, seeking a fun little wheeler that I could build on a budget, I traded my ’70 pl521 parts truck for a mint little ’87 Sami that was in desperate need of a carb. $500 later, I had a sprung over Samurai rolling on used 33″ mudders with a fresh Weber carb… and it out ran all of my buddies Jeeps. Quad trails, mud holes, hill climbs. Stock gears and no locker, and it would still out-wheel most fully built Jeeps out there. And while they aren’t quite as cheap or easily attainable as they were even 5 years ago, the Samurai can still be built for easily half that of most Jeeps, I would still buy another one if I had some money lying around, which I don’t, lol. Samurais are sick.

    Here’s my old Zuk, btw.

  9. yoda says:

    ’89 Swift. The most badge-engineered car ever? Everyone, everywhere, seemed to want to sell it, from Chevy in the US to Subaru in Europe.

  10. Tyler says:

    How about the Suzuki Cara that, while technically being a Mazda (Autozam AZ-1), was built by Suzuki? No one can argue that this mid-engined, gullwing door, turbocharged (Suzuki powered) mini-supercar was less cool than a Jimny, Swift GTi or even Suzuki’s mini-Miata, the Cappuccino.

    It’s the kei car to embarrass other kei cars. It was offered in colors seemingly swiped from a scarlet macaw. It’s probably the only car you could both pass off as an Italian exotic and literally park *inside* your dajiban (what an thought!). And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at this. –> http://antholonet.com/EngineersCars/AZ-1/Explosion.jpg

    Suzuki Cara. Japanese for Spectacular Car.

  11. solidstripe says:

    The greatest Suzuki of All Time?! Surely, history mandates it must be the Pikes Peak Escudo driven by Nobuhiro Tajima. Tajima’s name is the most synonymous name around when it comes to all things Suzuki.

    Plus most of us would remember owning the car in GT2 on your Playstation 1 – holding down the gas button and riding the guard rails to victory every time… racing lines be damned!

  12. tim-e says:

    I’m a little partial to the Swift GTI that has been my daily driver for all of it’s 23 years. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, can keep up with it around town in traffic.

  13. Tizer says:

    It has to be the Suzuki Alto. I absolutely adore those things. Even the 20+ year old models you see driving around here. They are cheap, very durable, economic, surprisingly spacious and surprisingly fun to drive aswell. And if a standard Alto is not cool enough… There’s always the Works version with a tiny turbo engine, 4wd and massive spoilers. What more do you want?

  14. David says:

    Suzuki RS1 – this was a concept car I saw at the Melbourne Motor Show years ago – mid transverse engine 1300cc 4 cyl under glass cover – targa – very hard to find pics on the web

  15. merce says:

    I’m going to be different and say “Ignis Sport”

  16. Gil says:

    The Samurai! I had a ’87 JX bought new. Drove it across the US 6 times between Arizona and Wisconsin and clocked 150k miles on it before some jerk in a CJ7 ran a red light and T-boned it and totalling it out. My mom had a matching ’88 that after having it 19 yrs she sold it with only 45k miles (she doesn’t drive too much), Why she wouldn’t sell it to me, I don’t know…

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