Founded in 1955, Suzuki is better known for the manufacture of motorcycles, although there have been some worthy four-wheeled versions to come from the Japanese manufacturer. Their first iteration was the tiny Suzulite; designed to benefit from Japanese tax laws with its little 21.97ci 360cc engine, it would pave the way for larger, albeit still very small versions. The most significant of the early exports was the 4 stroke LJ80, later renamed Jimny.
A treasure off road with exceptional economy to boot, its reputation in the bush would see it garner an allegiance of fans across Australia, although those that chose to use it as a cheap form of urban run-about were in for considerable disappointment. The LJ80 would morph into the much more sophisticated Vitara, while small sedans would help fill out the Suzuki product line. The Swift was anything but, although the latest version has received considerable praise and is a much superior car. Suzuki’s are not collectable, but they have been a popular part of the Australian motoring landscape since the early 1970’s.
1977 - 1984
The original Suzuki Hatchback was marketed as a commercial vehicle; the reason was simple, at the time the government was enforcing a strict quota on imports, however “Commercial” vehicles were not subject to the quota. Besides, referring to is as a commercial vehicle also helped explain the little Suzuki’s lack of creature comforts and utilitarian nature. The Suzuki Hatch was far from being a beauty to behold, with styling rather like the Honda Scamp, however it was powered by the diminutive 543cc three-cylinder engine making it the perfect 2nd car or city run-about for those that sought good fuel economy. Using a paltry 4.4 litres per 100 kilometres, the Suzuki Hatch was a frugal as it was cheap to buy – and many saw that as a good thing. More>>
1977 - 1984
When the four-wheel-drive market boomed in the late 1970’s, never before had so many people discovered so much leisure time – and this was the cue for the full scale invasion of the Japanese light car manufacturers. Almost overnight many turned their attentions to the manufacture of off-roading style vehicles, and unlike the established 4WD legends such as Jeep and Land Rover these new iterations were extremely affordable. More>>
1984 - 1988
In Japan the Suzuki's mini-car was sold as the "Cultus", so it was probably just as well that the company adopted the Swift name for Australia. It landed here at a time when there was some pretty fierce competition from Honda and Daihatsu, so the company was obviously pretty confident their product could take the fight up to the by then well established brands. More>>
1986 - 1988
The Suzuki Swift GTi carved out an entirely new category of performance hatch. Being much smaller than the likes of the Laser/Corolla/Pulsar class there were few comparable with which to judge the car. The little 1.3 litre engine punched well above its weight, developing 100 bhp (74 kW). Unfortunately the “cheap-and-cheerful” Swift on which it was based did not result in a low entry price. In 1986 it had a sticker price just under $20K, which was a lot to ask for a diminutive 2 door hatch, arguably even today. More>>