Updated: Oct 25, 2021
It's a classic electric Suzuki, tough and good-natured at the same time! The video says it all and provide some good tips on class electric conversions. Have a great, safe weekend!
The Samurai was the first four-wheeled vehicle Suzuki sold in the U.S., but its history begins nearly 20 years before the plucky little 4x4 made its way across the Pacific. In 1968, Japan's Hope Motor Company introduced a small kei-class 4x4 with a 359cc Mitsubishi engine called the ON360. Suzuki bought Hope and developed the ON360 into the 1970 LJ10 ("Light Jeep"), also known as the Jimny.
Suzuki introduced the second-generation Jimny in 1981, and in 1985 it began exporting the Jimny to the U.S. as a 1986 model. Badged as the Samurai, the U.S. version had a carbureted 1.3-liter overhead-cam four-cylinder delivering 63 horsepower and 74-lb-ft of torque. It was noisy and slow—MotorTrend clocked it to 60 mph in 16.9 seconds, with a quarter-mile time of 20.47 seconds at 64.5 mph—but good fun around town, and off-road it was nearly unstoppable, with its primary limitation being its street-spec tires. Manual-locking front hubs were standard, with auto-lockers available as a dealer-installed option.
With a base price of $6,550, the Suzuki Samurai was two-thirds of the price of the new-for-1987 Jeep Wrangler. Aided by cute "Beep, beep, hi!" commercials, it was an instant hit. Suzuki originally planned to import 1,200 Samurais per month in its first year, but wound up selling 47,000 for the year, giving the Samurai the best first-year sales of any Japanese vehicle to that date. It took just more than a year and half for sales to hit the 100,000 mark, and by mid-1988 Americans were buying 8,000 Samurais per month!
Despite its death in the American market, the Suzuki Jimny carried on elsewhere. Suzuki introduced a third-generation model in 1998, and after a 20-year run, the fourth-gen Jimny debuted in 2018!
And stay tuned for our new kick-off with Betsy Rosenberg and team on Labor Day!