Tuesday, 14 April 2015



In 1981, Japanese production of the LJ80 ended, giving way to an all new generation of the Jimny, the SJ Series.

The SJ Series Jimny marked a big shift from the LJ80 in every aspect. It had sharp fashionable styling and a more spacious cabin. It also offered better performance thanks to brand new engines. The SJ Series was also highly versatile for commercial purposes, leisure activities, as well as day-to-day transportation.

The SJ Series Jimny became big hit around the world, and forged a way for Suzuki’s global success.

Just like it’s predecessor, the SJ Series Jimny was available in both Kei-car for the Japanese domestic market, and non-Kei-car versions oriented towards the export market.

1981: The SJ30

The first SJ Series Jimny to be introduced was the SJ30 (marketed simply as “Jimny”). The model was launched in Japan in May 1981 and replaced the SJ10 as the Kei-car version of the Jimny.

The model was introduced with the slogan “Tough & Neat”, emphasizing on improvements on both on and off road performance of the SJ30 from it’s predecessor. The leaf springs used in the SJ30 were softer, and the rear seats faced forward, giving more comfort to the rear passengers.

The SJ30 was powered by an improved version of the LJ50 engine, which was then able to produce 28PS.

The model was available in various body variants, including: - SJ30F: No doors, metal bar only, folding windshield. - SJ30FK: Metal doors, canvas top, folding windshield. - SJ30FM: Metal doors, canvas top. - SJ30VC and SJ30VA: metal top (hard top van models).

Engine: 2-stroke, water cooled, 3-cylinder (type LJ50)
Displacement: 539cc
Max. output: 28PS/4,500rpm
Max. torque: 5.4kgm/2,500rpm
Suspension: leaf spring
Dimensions (L x W x H): 3,190mm x 1,395mm x 1,690mm
Wheelbase: 2,030mm


Suzuki Jimny 40 Years Global Website
Suzuki Jimny Japanese Website
History of Suzuki 4x4 - Global Suzuki


The Ultimate LJ Series Jimny

The LJ80 was the final first generation Jimny, and was the first Suzuki vehicle to have a four-stroke four cylinder engine. As the export volume of the model grew bigger than it’s predecessors, the LJ80 became very popular in various countries around the world.

In 1977, engineers and executives from Suzuki Motor Corporation unveiled the F8A, a new, modern four-stroke four cylinders engine. It was Suzuki’s first ever four-stroke engine, and the LJ80, introduced in the same year, was the first model to be powered by it.

The new engine increased the LJ80’s appeal to various markets all over the world. In Europe, the LJ80 created a unique market sector as a recreational 4x4 vehicle, while in Australia and other markets, the LJ80 was widely used on farms and ranches. The new engine also allowed the LJ80 to be exported to markets like the United States, where the previous two-stroke engine used by the LJ50 could not meet the new emission standards set by the government. As export volume of the model grew bigger than ever, the LJ80 became one of Suzuki’s key model in expanding it’s market globally.

Early versions of the LJ80/SJ20 had a front end similar to that of the LJ50/SJ10, but with slightly raised hood

In Japan, the LJ80 was called SJ20 (also known as Jimny8), and was sold alongside the SJ10 (JImny55). While the SJ10 was sold as a Kei-car model, the SJ20 was positioned as a more expensive and powerful version of the JDM Jimny.

In 1978, a minor revision was given to both the SJ10 and SJ20 (LJ80). The models were given a new front-end styling. The headlights in the newly designed models were mounted lower than the 1977 model.

The LJ80 was also available in more body variants:

  • LJ80: No canvas roof, no doors (with only metal bars on the sides), folding windshield
  • LJ80Q: canvas roof, metal or canvas doors
  • LJ80V: metal roof (hard top van model)
  • LJ81: Pick up version with only 2 seats

Engine: 4-stroke, water cooled, 4-cylinder (type F8A)
Displacement: 797cc
Max. output: 41PS/5,500rpm
Max. torque: 6.1kgm/3,500rpm
Suspension: leaf spring
Dimensions (L x W x H): 3,195mm x 1,395mm x 1,695mm
Wheelbase: 1,930mm

1978: LJ81-The First Jimny Pick Up

Strong demands in countries like Australia, where the Jimny was highly used on farms and ranges pushed Suzuki to introduce a pick up version of the LJ80 called the LJ81.

The LJ81 had a slightly longer wheelbase to that of the LJ80, and had a maximum load capacity of 250kg.

The LJ81 was imported in small numbers to Canada, where it was used by forestry companies. The model was very popular in Australia, where it was known as Suzuki Stockman. In a number of countries in South America, the LJ81 was sold as the Derco Pickup.

Engine: 4-stroke, water cooled, 4-cylinder (type F8A)
Displacement: 797cc
Max. output: 41PS/5,500rpm
Max. torque: 6.1kgm/3,500rpm
Suspension: leaf spring
Max. load capacity: 250kg
Wheelbase: 2,200mm

Suzuki Jimny 40 Years Global Website
Suzuki Jimny Japanese Website
History of Suzuki 4x4 - Global Suzuki


Worldwide Expansion

The LJ10 and LJ20 proved to be very successful in the Japanese domestic market, but the two were exported only in very small numbers. Suzuki needed a bigger and more powerful engine to give the Jimny more appeal to export markets. The LJ50 was created with that idea in their mind.

Initially made for export markets only, the LJ50 was powered by a new two-stroke, water-cooled, three-cylinder, 0.55L engine that gave more power. Another notable change was the external mounting of the spare tire, as the export markets had no size limitations.

The LJ50 was available in both hard and soft top models

The LJ50 was sold in nearly three times as many countries as it’s predecessors and gained reputation as an all-round fun off-road vehicle, especially in Australia.

In 1976, the Japanese government revised their Kei-car regulations, allowing the LJ50’s 0.55L engine and the externally mounted spare tire to make it to the Japanese domestic market. The LJ50 was sold in the Japanese domestic market as the SJ10 (also known as the Jimny 55).

The SJ10 a.k.a. "Jimny55"
An interesting option available for the LJ50 was the PTO (Power Take Off), which was connected via am axle from the box transfer to a small 500kg winch mounted at the rear of the car. The winch could be replaced with water pump or other sort of equipment, which could be connected to the command post and worked according to engine speed.

Engine: 2-stroke, water cooled, 3-cylinder (type LJ50)
Displacement: 539cc
Max. output: 33PS/5,500rpm
Max. torque: 5.85kgm/3,500rpm
Suspension: leaf spring
Dimensions (L x W x H): 3,180mm x 1,295mm x 1,710mm
Wheelbase: 1,930mm


Suzuki Jimny 40 Years Global Website
Suzuki Jimny Japanese Website
History of Suzuki 4x4 - Global Suzuki


The Watercooled Jimny

The LJ20 was introduced in the Japanese Domestic Market in May 1972. The LJ20 marked the introduction of a new water-cooled engine, replacing the air-cooled engine used by the LJ10.

The new two-stroke, water-cooled engine gave the LJ20 more torgue at low and mid-range engine speeds and an impressive maximum hill-climb angle of 35°. Durability of the new engine was proven to the world when the LJ20 finished the Mexican 1000 Rally intact after 34 hours of racing against competitors with larger engines.

Other changes include a new front grille with vertical instead of horizontal slats, and the addition of a hard top model dubbed the LJ20V. The addition of the hard top model made the car safer and broadened the LJ20’s appeal to markets in snowy and cold regions.

In 1973, some minor improvements were given to the LJ20. The front road light was separated from the front turn signal lamps, giving the LJ20 two small round lamps next to the headlights on each side of the car.

Earlier LJ20 (left) and the 1973 model (right)

The LJ20 was also produced in left hand drive (LHD), allowing export to various countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Engine: 2-stroke, water cooled, in-line, 2-cylinder (type L50)
Displacement: 359cc
Max. output: 28PS/5,500rpm
Max. torque: 3.8kgm/5,000rpm
Suspension: leaf spring
Dimensions (L x W x H): 3,025mm x 1,295mm x 1,615mm
Wheelbase: 1,930mm


Suzuki Jimny 40 Years Global Website
Suzuki Jimny Japanese Website
History of Suzuki 4x4 - Global Suzuki

Friday, 10 April 2015


The Original of The Species

The LJ10 was Suzuki’s first ever 4x4 model, and also the world’s first mini 4x4 ever to be mass-produced. In this post we’ll be exploring the story behind the LJ10 and how it pioneered the mini 4x4 segment.


Today’s SUVs and 4x4s can be traced back to their pioneering ancestor, the World War II Jeeps from Bantam, Willys-Overland, and Ford originally designed to be a general purpose vehicle used for various functions in the war.

As the war ended, the WWII Jeeps spawned civilian versions intended for non-military use. The Jeep quickly grabbed the attention of other car manufacturers around the world who all wanted to make vehicles of the same kind. The Land Rover Series, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Nissan Patrol are some of the early examples of Jeep-inspired 4x4 vehicles that emerged in the 1950s. Most of those vehicles were around the same size of the Willys Jeep, while some were even bigger.

In 1950s Japan, Suzuki was already known as a manufacturer of light vehicles (Keijidosha or Kei car). Kei car is a category of automobiles designed to comply with the Japanese government tax policy. The cars were obliged to meet standards set by the Japanese government, which included dimensions and engine size limitations. In return, models in the Kei car segment are given lower excise tax and automobile weight tax, resulting in lower prices and higher value for money. Initially developed to promote popular motorization for the people of post-WWII Japan, the Kei car category developed into a whole new class of vehicles, and by mid-1950s, Suzuki had became one of the leading Kei-car manufacturers.

As the Kei car market continued to grow, Suzuki had the idea of taking the Jeep-like 4x4 vehicle concept into the Kei car category. The final product of Suzuki’s idea was the LJ10, sold in the Japanese Domestic Market under the name “Jimny”.

The HopeStar ON360

The story of the LJ10 began with the HopeStar ON360, a 4x4 model designed by a small Japanese car manufacturer called the Hope Motor Company.

The two-seater vehicle was developed in 1967, and was available on the market from April 1968. A 359cc Mitsubishi engine powered the car. Other mechanicals of the car, such as the rear axles and the wheels were sourced from Mitsubishi as well.

The HopeStar ON360 didn’t sell very well. It was said that only as few as 15 units found its buyers, while 100 ME24 engines were already ordered from Mitsubishi, who then declined to take over production of the model. Having very bad luck for the model, Hope Motor Company then sold the design to Suzuki.

The ON360 underwent serious testings (left) HopeStar ON360 next to an LJ10 (right)

Model: HopeStar ON360
Dimensions (LxWxH): 2995x1295x1765mm
Engine: Mitsubishi ME24, 2 cylinders, 2-stroke, 359cc, air-cooled
Max.power/max.torque: 21PS @5500rpm / 3.2kgM @ 3500rpm
Transmission: 4MT, Part-Time 4WD
Weight: 620 kg

The LJ10

Suzuki then developed a new 4x4 model based on the HopeStar ON360. They gave it a completely new bodywork with a much more distinctive look, a more powerful Suzuki engine, and new mechanicals. The result was the LJ10.

Suzuki launched the LJ10 on the Japanese Domestic Market in April 1970, and it became the first mass produced 4x4 in the Japanese Kei car category.

To comply with the limitations of external dimensions in the Kei car category, the spare tire had to be fitted behind the front passenger seat, making the LJ10 a 3-seater.

The LJ10 was available with canvas top and doors

Only one version of the LJ10 was available, and it was a canvas top model with zipped canvas doors. The LJ10 used a separate ladder frame chassis, allowing the use of lightweight body panels, making it even lighter than the HopeStar ON360. Leaf springs were used for maximum weight-carrying ability.

The name Jimny originated from a word that Suzuki executives discovered during their trip to Scotland. They originally intended to call the model “Jimmy”, but due to some linguistic errors, they ended up calling it “Jimny”.

While the LJ10 proved to be very successful in the Japanese Domestic Market, only few of them were imported and sold in other countries under the name Jimny 360 and Brute IV.

In 1971, Suzuki gave the LJ10 some minor improvements, the engine was given a little bit more power (27PS, compared to 25PS of the 1970 model).

In August 1971, US automotive magazine Motor Trend did a review on the LJ10 (called the Brute IV), comparing it to bigger cars such as the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser, Jeep CJ-5, and International Scout II. They were very impressed with the ability of the lightweight LJ10, especially given that it has a very small engine to the other three. The international acknowledgement of the LJ10 gave Suzuki the confidence to further improve their lightweight 4x4.

Here is a quote from the 1971 Motor Trend magazine article titled "The Great RV Binge". Below is what they said about the Suzuki Brute IV:
"Perhaps the most intriguing of our four tests vehicles and the one which amazed all of us on the trip is the Suzuki brute IV. When I learned of this car, I must frankly admit to being skeptical. It's 359cc engine and 55 mph top speed seemed to militate against its usefulness, but after experiencing it's performance in the desert, I can say that the Suzuki Brute IV is one of the most enjoyable cars I have ever driven. The Brute's engine is a two-stroke affair which looks and sounds much the same as Suzuki's 360cc motorcycle power plant. With a compression ratio of 7.3:1 and a bore/stroke of 2.40/2.42 inches, the engine produces 32 hp at 6000 rpm and 26.9 lbs.-ft. of torque may appear to come in at rather high revs, the power band is broad with good power available at most any rpm level."

"Just entering the US market is the Suzuki Brute IV and despite its miniscule size and engine, it provided to be the most enjoyable of our four test cars. Huge 16-inch wheels and a stiff springing made skid plates unneeded and it went where the others went, sometimes with a lot more ease."

Click here to view the August 1971 Motor Trend article

Model: LJ10/Jimny 360/Brute IV
Engine: 2-stroke, air-cooled, in-line, 2-cylinder (type FB)
Displacement: 359cc
Max. output: 25PS/5,500rpm
Max. torque: 3.7kgm/5,000rpm
Suspension: leaf spring
Dimensions (L x W x H): 2,995mm x 1,295mm x 1,670mm
Wheelbase: 1,930mm

Suzuki Jimny 40 Years Global Website
Suzuki Jimny Japanese Website
History of Suzuki 4x4 - Global Suzuki

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


The Narrow Track Coilies

JA12 and JA22 were the kei car versions of the Coily SJ Series Jimny sold in Japan from late 1995 to 1998. The models were sold alongside the JB32 Jimny Sierra, the more expensive non-kei car Jimny for the Japanese Domestic Market.

1995 – JA12/JA22 Type I

The JA12/JA22 Jimny were first introduced to the Japanese Domestic market (JDM) in November 1995 as a replacement of the JA11 Jimny660.

The JA12 used an improved version of the F6A engine with turbocharger and intercooler, now able to churn out 64PS of power and 10kgm of torque.

The JA22 on the other hand, was powered by an all-new engine. It was the all-aluminium four-stroke, four-cylinder DOHC K6A. The engine was also fitted with a turbocharger and an intercooler, enabling it to churn out higher power output compared to the F6A. It also had lower NVH levels at higher speed. The JA22 also featured electric power steering, while the JA12 used the more conventional hydraulic power steering.

The JA12 and JA22 also featured a completely new interior design, including a new dashboard, new seats, new headrests, new door trims, and new seat covers.

The 1995 JA12/JA22 Jimny was available in both commercial and passenger car variants:
- JA12V - HA Van, a commercial vehicle model
- JA12C - CC Soft Top
- JA12W - XB Hardtop
- JA12W - XS Hardtop
- JA22W - XC Hardtop
- JA22W - YC Panoramic Roof

JA12 Engine Specifications
Engine: four-stroke, three-cylinder, 657cc (type F6A) DOHC with turbo and IC
Max. power: 64PS/6,000rpm
Max. torque: 10.0kgm/4,000rpm
Fuel distribution: EPI

JA22 Engine Specifications
Engine: four-stroke, three-cylinder, 658cc (type K6A) DOHC with turbo and IC
Max. power: 64PS/6,500rpm
Max. torque: 10.5kgm/3,500rpm
Fuel distribution: EPI

Jimny Wild Wind Limited Edition

The same year, a limited edition model called the Jimny Wild Wind was introduced. The model featured additional accessories including aluminium roof rack, spare wheel cover, aluminium alloy wheels, radio cassette player, air conditioning, and a Wild Wind body striping.

1996 – JA22 Jimny Landventure

In 1996, another limited edition model was added, the Jimny Landventure.

The model is based on the JA22W- XC Hardtop variant. Special features, including halogen fog lights, body colored bumpers, aluminium roof carrier, 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels, body striping, spare wheel cover, roof end spoiler, a multi-meter (compass orientation, pressure, altimeter) fitted on top of the dashboard, and unique seat upholstery, were fitted to the Landventure.

1997 – JA12/JA22 Type II

Come 1997, the JDM Jimny got a minor set of updates. The main highlight was the introduction of the Drive Action 4x4 System, which enabled switching between 2WD and 4WD mode while the vehicle is in motion.

Another highlight was the elimination of the YC Panoramic Roof, as well as XB and XS Hardtop variants and the addition of the XL Hardtop.

The interior was also slightly revised, the 1997 JA12/22 have brighter interior trim colors compared to that of the previous model.

The 1997 JDM Jimny line up then consisted of four main models:
- JA12V – HA Van
- JA12C – CC Softtop
- JA12W – XL Hardtop
- JA22W – XC Hardtop

In addition of those models, two limited editions were introduced:

Jimny Wild Wind Limited Edition
The JA22W Wild Wind, which featured AM/FM cassette stereo, unique seat upholstery, UV cut front windows, 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels, body colored bumpers, aluminium spare tire cover, body striping, and an aluminium roof carrier system.

Jimny Fishing Master
The JA22W Fishing Master was based on the XC Hardtop and was intended for people with fishing hobby. The model was equipped with waterproof seat cover, tray mats, and a ceiling mounted fishing rod holder.

1998 – Limited Edition Models

In 1998, two limited edition models were added to the JDM Jimny lineup:

Jimny Landventure
The JA22W Landventure  featured halogen fog lights, body colored bumpers, aluminium roof carrier, 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels, body striping, spare wheel cover, roof end spoiler, a multi-meter (compass orientation, pressure, altimeter) fitted on top of the dashboard, radio cassette player, and unique seat upholstery.

Jimny XL Limited
The JA12W XL Limited featured halogen fog lights, body colored bumpers, 16-inch aluminium alloy wheels, body striping, spare wheel cover, radio cassette player, and unique seat upholstery.


The Export Coilies

The Coily SJ Series Jimny was not only sold in Japan, but also in the global market, including Australia, South Africa, Latin America, some parts of South East Asia, and some parts of Europe.

Meanwhile, in other countries, such as India, Pakistan, Thailand, and Indonesia, production and sales of the leaf sprung SJ Series Jimny continued without being replaced by the Coily.

For most export markets, the Coily SJ were codenamed SJ413, and was very similar to the JDM JB32 Jimny Sierra. It featured wider front and rear tracks, and wide over fenders on the sides of the car.

In Australia and New Zealand, the Coily Sierra and Samurai were codenamed SJ80, differentiating them from the leaf sprung SJ413.

The export versions also got the G13B engine. The carburetor fuel supply system was used for most export versions of the Coily SJs, including the ones for Australia. Other markets, such as South America and Europe, got the fuel injected version of the G13B.

Engine Specifications
Engine: four-stroke, four-cylinder, 1298cc G13BA SOHC
Max. power: 64HP@6000rpm
Max.torque: 10.2kgm@3500rpm
Fuel distribution: carburetor

Central and South Americas

The Coily SJs was also available in a number of Central and South American countries.

In some Latin American countries, such as Chile, the Coily was sold as the Suzuki Samurai II. In other Central and South American countries, such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, it was sold as the Samurai, without the “II” prefix.

The Coily wasn't available in countries like Colombia and Venezuela, where Suzuki products were sold under the Chevrolet brand. In those countries, Chevrolet continued selling the leaf sprung versions of the Samurai.

South American versions of the Coily Samurai were fitted with the fuel injected version of the G13B engine, and was available in softtop and hardtop variants. The models were sold between 1996 and 1998.

In 2003, when Suzuki pulled out of the Brazilian market, parts for the Coily became scarce as Suzuki dealers and service centres closed. As a result, owners had to individually import the parts, and alternative part distribution networks formed around Suzuki 4x4 communities.

When Suzuki returned to the Brazilian market in 2008, spare parts became officially available once more, although at relatively high pricing. Many of the Brazilian Coily owners then turned to the alternative networks to get parts for their Coilies.


The Coily also made it to the African continent. It was quite popular in countries like Peru and South Africa. 

In South Africa, the Coily was available only as grey import vehicles, as Suzuki only sold the leaf sprung SJs in the country. The SJ80 model with carburetor were the ones imported to South Africa. High roof versions were also available.


The Coily was only sold in certain parts of Europe. It was marketed in Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Romania, Czech Republic, Turkey, and Russia. However, it was not marketed in most Western European. Finland was probably the only Western European country where the Coily was sold. The Coily Samurai was also available in the island countries of Southern Europe, Malta and Cyprus.

The Coily SJs were sold only in a relatively short period of time. Suzuki began making the model in late 1995, and in 1998, it was already replaced by the third generation Jimny.

In 1998, Santana Motors began producing diesel engined Samurais, called the Samurai Td, in Spain. These models had exterior and interior appearance similar to that of the Coily SJs, and were sold alongside the third generation Jimny. However, the Samurai Td adopted the leaf spring suspensions for both its front and rear wheels, meaning that they are not considered as Coily SJs.


In Australia, the model is sold as the Suzuki Sierra, and was codenamed SJ80. The Coily Sierra was sold from early 1996 up until late 1998. It was then replaced by the third generation Jimny in 1999.


The Coily Sierra arrived in Australia in early 1996, and was available in only one trim level, the JX, with two body style options: convertible (softtop) and hardtop.

For a period of time, the old leaf sprung version of the Sierra continued to be sold alongside the Coily model before eventually being discontinued. The old version was then renamed the Sierra Classic to differentiate it from the new Coily. A pick up version called the Sierra Stockman was also available.


In 1997, Suzuki introduced two new variants for the Coily Sierra, the Sierra Surf, and the Sierra Trax. Both models were based on the standard JX model but were given an additional set of equipment. The trim levels and general equipment list are as follows:

Sierra JX - standard
2 speaker stereo
intermittent wipers
radio cassete

Sierra Surf – softtop only
Chrome wheels
Body colour bumpers
Nudge bar - front

Sierra Trax – softtop and hardtop
Alloy wheels
Front fog lamps
Nudge bar-front


In 1998, Suzuki eliminated the Trax trim level, and introduced a new one, the Limited Edition JX.

Sierra JX – softtop and hardtop
2 speaker stereo
intermittent wipers
radio cassete
trim-velour (hardtop)

Sierra Limited Edition JX – softtop and hardtop
Body color bumpers
Chrome wheels

Sierra Surf JX – softtop only
Body color bumpers
Chrome wheels
Nudge bar-front