Suzuki SC100 GX, a Kei car
Japan is a kind of country where along the edges of a lot of highly impractical mountains there are some strips of cultivable land. If the Japanese were allowed to design their own country, they would probably have done it better.
The Suzuki SC100 GX
Fortunately, Japanese people are usually smaller than Northern Europeans. So they have that profit. But lack of space has always been a thing in Japanese urban agglomerations. That is why the Japanese made for the home market…. small cars. In fact: very small cars. And whether the Suzuki SC100 GX was the Japanese small-scale answer to the Porsche 911?
The kei cars
Because there is a mild tax climate in Japan for very compact cars, the so-called Kei cars, this has resulted in a considerable number of remarkable vehicles in recent decades. The eligibility criteria for tax breaks are simple. A Kei-car may not be longer than 3,40 meters, may not be higher than 2,00 meters, may not have a larger engine capacity than 660 cm3 (in 1966 that was still 360 cc!) And not produce more power than 64 hp.
That Kei-car phenomenon is a serious thing
Kei cars were business. The manufacturers did - and do - bravely participate. There were the Daihatsu Fellow, the Daihatsu Fellow Max Hardtop, the Daihatsu Leeza Spider, the Daihatsu Mira Walk Through Van, the Honda S 500, the Honda Z, the Honda Vamos, the Mazda Carol 360, the Mitsubishi Minica, the Subaru 360 , the Suzuki Suzulight, the Suzuki Fronte and a few more which shows that naming the names of very small cars can cost a lot of space.
Back to the Suzuki SC100 GX Coupé
In Japan, the Suzuki was launched as a pure Kei-car in 1977 with an 539 cc small, 30 hp three-cylinder two-stroke engine. The SC100 arrived in 1979 with an 970 cc four-cylinder engine of almost 50 hp. And the Dutch public reacted quite enthusiastically. Nimag sold thick 3000 copies of the SC100 in the three years that the car was available here, and in England more than 4500 were sold.
With a length of 3.190 millimeters and a width of 1.395 millimeters, the small Suzuki is only slightly longer and considerably narrower than a Smart ForTwo - but it only has two seats, the Suzuki has four. Well, four: to fit in the back, you have to be small and want to board with the help of a shoehorn. The practical approach is to open the rear window and use the rear seat as an addition to the luggage space that it offers, à la 911, in the front.
Lead in the bumper
If you are still at the rear, you can also go on an excursion to the engine room, where the engine hangs above the rear axle. (Suzuki had to add ballast in the front bumper to compensate for the heavier 970 cc engine intended for the home country.) Despite the extra ballast on the nose, the Suzuki only weighed 648 kilos.
The Suzuki is a brave little car that drives like a go-kart
There are very few left of it. They rusted even better than driving. We found our fashion model, a unique survivor, at Garage de l'Est, the company that is mainly known for its range of top class French classics.
In stores now, the July issue
Auto Motor Klassiek from July is in stores now. So quickly to the bookstore for a new number. For only 4,99 a guarantee for at least a few hours of reading pleasure.
The cover shows the BMW 318i convertible by Femko de Jong in summer. He brought the car to perfection. You can read all about it in number 7.
We find the conversion of one very interesting Chevrolet Fleetmaster to a custom. That is not just done simply. It was a really drastic project. Even the owner's clogs had to believe it. Also the restoration of the Fiat 500 of which you can find a report in this issue under the heading of custom. The car was in miserable condition, so intensive restoration followed. Owner Henrique Linde immediately gave his own 'Abarth-tighten. We found the result more than successful. Hendri Kampherbeek gave his heart to Peugeot. Even when it has to be overhauled for the second time. To be Peugeot 405 mi16 he bought with a broken engine and after the restoration it was almost wrong again.
Of course, all car and motorcycle stories are preceded by dozens of pages with short messages, from practical tips to history, classics we encountered on the way and various columns where having a classic, tinkering with a classic and even the hobby of classics is central. Moreover, of course, also around the forty pages with classics for sale, which are sometimes not even offered online. The perfect reading material. So take it home quickly and take one already Subscriptionso you don't miss the next edition.
- Aprilia Moto 6.5 restoration
- Honda CB 550
- Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
- Reminder of Stirling Moss
- Experience the liberation part 2
You can read more about what's in this edition on our page this month.