Tuesday 10 May 2016
Suzuki Samurai AKA Jimny is a line of off-road mini SUVs made by the Japanese automaker Suzuki produced since April 1970.
The Suzuki SJ30 began production in May 1981 in Hamamatsu, Japan. In Japan, it was sold as the Suzuki Jimny and was a kei car, produced with both 550 cc and 660 cc 3-cylinder engines. The SJ-Series received a bigger engine and was lengthened and widened for export purposes, where it was sold with a multitude of names: Suzuki SJ410/413, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Sierra, Suzuki Potohar (Pakistan), Suzuki Caribian (Thailand), Suzuki Katana (Indonesia), Chevrolet Samurai, Holden Drover (Australia) and Maruti Gypsy (India).
The SJ30 Jimny 550 was mainly for Japanese domestic market consumption where it suited the Kei car category. Still powered by the LJ50 engine also used in its predecessor, the Jimny 550 was by a sizable margin the last two-stroke engine built in Japan. Production ended with the withdrawal of type approval in November 1987 in favor of its F5A-engined brother, the JA71. The two-stroke had been favored by Japanese off-roaders (and by Suzuki) due to its superior torque.
The SJ40 Jimny 1000 was introduced for 1982 to replace the LJ80 range. The Jimny 1000, sold as the Suzuki SJ410 in most export markets, used the F10A - a larger 1 litre version of the LJ's 0.8 liter four-cylinder engine. This engine produced 45 hp (34 kW) and it had a top speed of 68 mph (109 km/h). The Japanese market models claimed 52 hp (39 kW) at 5,000 rpm.
A four-speed manual transmission was standard, as were non-power assisted drum brakes front and rear. The SJ410 came as a half-door convertible, long-wheelbase pickup truck, two-door hardtop (called "Van" in Japan), raised-roof hardtop, and no-glass hardtop (panel van). In Japan, the pickup truck was intended as a bare-bones work vehicle and did not receive fender extensions, and had diagonal tires on black-painted steel wheels rather than the sportier wheels fitted to the regular Jimny. Maximum payload is 350 kg (770 lb). Later, a covered long-wheelbase version was added for export markets.
The SJ410 was also produced in Spain by Santana Motors in their Linares, Jaén factory as of March 1985 and was sold as a domestic vehicle in Europe due to its over 60% native parts content, thereby evading limits on imports of Japanese-built automobiles. It was built only on the short wheelbase, as a two-door convertible and commercial, or with the three door wagon or van bodywork. Some later models of the SJ410 would switch to disk brakes in the front depending on the factory they were made at. In March 1990, Santana-built versions received the same chassis developments which turned the SJ413 into the Samurai; this version was sold as Samurai 1.0 where it was offered ("Samurai Mil" in Spain). Cooper Motor Corporation (CMC) of Nairobi, Kenya, also assembled the SJ410 in the mid-eighties.
The SJ-Series was introduced to the United States (Puerto Rico (SJ-410) and Canada earlier) in 1985 for the 1986 model year. It was priced at $6200 and 47,000 were sold in its first year. The Samurai had a 1.3 liter, 63 hp (47 kW), 4-cylinder engine and was available as a convertible or a hardtop, and with or without a rear seat. The Suzuki Samurai became intensely popular within the serious 4WD community for its good off road performance and reliability compared to other 4WDs of the time. This is due to the fact that while very compact and light, it is a real 4WD vehicle equipped with a transfer case, switchable 4WD and low range. Its lightness makes it a very nimble off-roader less prone to sinking in softer ground than heavier types. It is also considered a great beginner off-roader due to its simple design and ease of engine and suspension modifications.
The 1988.5 model Samurai was re-tuned for better on-road use in the United States. This revision included softer suspension settings and a larger anti-sway bar to reduce body roll. A lower 5th gear (.865:1 vs the earlier .795:1) increased engine rpm and power on the highway, and improved dashboard and seats made the Samurai more comfortable.
A new 1.3 liter four-cylinder engine with throttle-body fuel injection was introduced with 66 hp (49 kW) in September 1991. The Samurai was supplemented in Canada and the United States markets in 1989 by the Suzuki Sidekick, which eventually replaced the Samurai in 1995. The rear seat was removed from 1994 and 1995 Samurai models with rear shoulder safety belts becoming mandatory, and the partial roll cage not having the required mounting provisions, unlike the larger Jeep Wrangler. Low sales and pending stricter safety legislation prompted the withdrawal of the Samurai from Canada and the United States markets after 1995.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1299 cc
- horsepower: 69 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 130 km/h