The history of Suzuki four wheel drive cars goes back to 1969. Suzuki bought out Hope Motor Company and produced fifteen vehicles called the HopeStar ON360. Then in 1970, they produced the first “real” Suzuki 4×4. It was called the LJ10, and it had an air cooled, 359 cc, two-stroke, in-line two-cylinder engine. 1972 saw the introduction of the LJ20. The cooling was changed from air cooling to water cooling but was not enlarged or increased in power. In 1974, Suzuki replaced the LJ20 with the LJ50, which had a larger 537 cc, two-stroke, in-line three-cylinder engine and bigger differentials.

The LJ80 was an updated version of the LJ50 with an 800 cc, four-stroke, in-line four-cylinder engine, followed by the SJ410 and SJ413. A version of the SJ413 known as the Samurai was released in the US. The series from SJ410 to SJ413 was known as the Sierra in Australia, and remained the Jimny in some markets.

The new Jimny was released in 1998, and now bears the same name in all markets. The 1998 release used the G13BB EFI engine, replaced by the M13AA EFI engine in 2001 and the M13AA VVT engine in 2005, in conjunction with some interior redesign.

The Suzuki LJ series (light jeep) was a small SUV produced between 1960 and 1981.

HopeStar ON360

The vehicle was originally developed by the Hope Motor Company of Japan in 1965 and sold as the HopeStar ON360. It used a Mitsubishi 360 cc (21 in³) air-cooled 2-stroke engine which produced just 21 hp (15.7 kW). It was a basic vehicle with no doors, but a sturdy four wheel drive system allowed it to go anywhere. The tiny Hope was unable to sell many of these vehicles and sold the design to Suzuki in 1968.


Suzuki’s first move on acquiring the rights to the ON360 was replacing the Mitsubishi engine with a 359 cc (21 in³) Suzuki 2-cylinder which produced 25 hp (18.6 kW). The new unit was still below 360 cc, and Suzuki placed the spare tire inside the truck to keep it under 3 meters in overall length, allowing it to be introduced in 1970 as the first 4×4 kei car. The LJ weighed just 1300 lb (590 kg), but could scarcely reach 45 mph (72 km/h).


The LJ was updated for 1972 as the LJ20. The grille bars were changed from horizontal to vertical for the LJ20. The engine was swapped out for a water-cooled unit, and its 32 hp (24 kW) enabled the LJ to hit 47 mph (76 km/h). The introduction of left hand drive was a major switch and signalled Suzuki’s worldwide ambitions for the truck. The Hard Top (Van) was also introduced. Suzuki did not export them to America, a US company called IEC (International Equipment Co.) imported them.


The LJ50, (Japanese: Suzuki LJ50) introduced in 1974 as the Jimny 550, SJ10, reflected the changing kei car rules. The engine was now a 539 cc (32 in³) 3-cylinder, though still a 2-stroke, and produced 33 hp (25 kW) and more low-end torque. The 1400 lb (635 kg) vehicle could now hit 60 mph (97 km/h), and the spare tire was relocated to the rear door, allowing for a fourth seat.


The final iteration of the original LJ design was the 1977 LJ80. Although the LJ50 remained in production, the new 1700 lb (770 kg) LJ boasted a 797 cc (48 in³) 4-stroke SOHC four-cylinder engine capable of 41 hp (31 kW). The additional power and torque of this engine allowed the differential and gearing to be raised for better cruising and offroad performance, and the track was widened by 4 in (100 mm).

The interior was also improved, with new seats and steering wheel. Metal doors were available for the first time in 1979, and a pickup truck model appeared that year as well. Though the LJ80 was retired in 1981.

The Suzuki SJ-Series began production in 1982 in Hamamatsu, Japan. In Japan, the SJ-Series was sold as the Suzuki Jimny and was a kei car. It was produced with both 550 cc and 660 cc 3-cylinder engines for domestic use. The SJ-Series was lengthened and widened for export purposes and had many names worldwide: Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Sierra, Suzuki Potohar, Suzuki Caribbean, Suzuki Santana, Holden Drover (Australia) and Maruti Gypsy (India).


Jimny 55


Jimny 8


Jimny 550


SJ40 Jimny 1000

he SJ410 was introduced in 1982 as an updated version of the LJ80. It used a larger version of that LJ’s 1.0 liter 4-cylinder engine. This engine produced 45 hp (34 kW) and it had a top speed of 68 mph (109 km/h).

A 4-speed manual transmission was standard, as were non-power assisted drum brakes front and rear. The SJ-410 came as a half-door convertible, pickup truck, 2-door hardtop, raised-roof hardtop, and no-glass hardtop. The SJ was produced in Spain by Santana Motors in their Linares, Jaén factory and sold as a domestic vehicle in Europe due to its over 60% native parts.


JA51 Jimmy 1300

In 1984, the SJ was revamped with the launch of the SJ413. The SJ413 included a larger 1.3 liter 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission and power brakes all around. The body and interior were also redesigned, with a new dashboard, seats, and grille. The SJ410 remained in production through 1985 with the old specifications.


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 just $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. The Suzuki Samurai became intensely popular within the serious 4WD community for its extreme off road performance and reliability compared to other 4WDs of the time.

The Samurai is also considered a great beginner 4WD due to its simple design and ease of modifications with engine swaps and suspension upgrades.

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 4-cylinder engine with throttle-body fuel injection was introduced with 66 hp (49 kW). The Samurai was withdrawn in Canada in 1989 as the Suzuki Sidekick replaced it; however, sales in the United States market continued until 1995. Low sales prompted the withdrawal of the Samurai from the United States and it was replaced by the Suzuki X-90. The disputed 1988 rollover report by Consumer Reports was recognized as the cause of the Samurai’s declining sales..

Suzuki Samurai was sold in Colombia and Venezuela as Chevrolet Samurai. Produced by General Motors Colmotores (Colombia). Other countries in South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Uruguay) was sold as Suzuki Samurai, Soft Top, Hard Top, Long Body (No Mercosur), Pickup (No Mercosur). (Produced by Suzuki (Japan) & Santana Motors (Spain). A long-wheel-base Samurai variant is produced in India by Maruti-Suzuki as the Maruti Gypsy using the 16V 1.3 liter 80hp engine.


Exactly the same as the Suzuki Samurai but were assembled in Australia.

Maruti Gypsy

Similar to the SJ-413/Samurai. It is only available in a LWB version and is still in production. More information can be found at Maruti Gypsy


The Samurai continued for sale outside the United States (referred to as the ‘Coily’), with a substantial update in 1996. This included a coil spring suspension, though the live axles were retained. The rest of the truck was redesigned as well, with new seats, dashboard, steering wheel, and doors joining a “macho” exterior.

Not all SJ models were updated however, with the original narrow SJ410 still in production in some countries. Even though the Jimny replaced the SJ in most markets after 1998, the SJ remains in production today.

Consumers Union and the Suzuki Samurai Lawsuit

The Suzuki Samurai gained an infamous reputation of being an unsafe car and prone to a rollover after Consumer Reports, the magazine arm of Consumers Union, reported that during a 1988 test on the short course avoidance maneuver (Consumer Union Short Course Double Lane Change, or CUSC for short), the Samurai experienced what they deemed as an unacceptable amount of roll-over while undertaking the severe turn. The roll-over which CU deemed unacceptable stemmed from the sudden swerve simulation part of the test where, for example, a car backs out of a driveway or drives forward from a side street or intersection and into traffic, causing the driver to unexpectedly swerve to avoid hitting the object that is obstructing the drivers path.

The dispute and eventual lawsuit stemmed from the CR statement easily rolls over in turns, which CR attributed to the sudden swerve test, and not meant to generally apply to the Samurai in retrospect to other tests that CR undertakes to simulate normal routine driving such as 0-60 mph acceleration and stopping. However, the use of the adverb easily may have been misconstrued or misunderstood by others to indicate that the Samurai was inherently an unsafe car prone to roll-overs in any sort of driving conditions.

Suzuki sued on the grounds that the statements made by CU damaged their reputation and the reputation of their vehicles in 1996. Suzuki sued for $60 Million in damages and unspecified punitive damages for what Suzuki claimed was willful fraudulent testing[1]. However, after an 8-year legal battle and several dismissals of Suzuki’s claims against CR in Federal courts, both sides settled out of court through mutual consent in 2004.[2]

In the settlement, CR agreed to mention the agreement that it “never intended to imply that the Samurai easily rolls over in routine driving conditions.” And it notes that it “never questioned the safety of any other Suzuki model” and, in fact, “praised the Suzuki Sidekick and recommended the Suzuki Vitara/XL-7.”[3] This agreement is noted whenever mention of the Suzuki Samurai is made in any media CR publishes, such as Used Car guides and even website searches on their website.

However, although Consumer Reports was eventually forced to compromise, there is little doubt that there were serious safety compromises on the Suzuki SJ. Suzuki’s own internal documents prove the company knew of the Samurai’s rollover problem, but marketed the car anyway. A Suzuki memorandum dated July 14, 1985 stated: ‘It is imperative that we develop a crisis plan that will primarily deal with the ‘roll’ factor. Because of the narrow wheel base, similar to the Jeep, the car is bound to turn over.’” [1]

High Altitude World Record

On April 21, 2007, the Chilean duo of Gonzalo Bravo and Eduardo Canales drove their modified Suzuki Samurai (SJ413) up Ojos del Salado, past the previous record set by a Jeep at 6,646 meters (21,804 ft), setting a new record for the highest altitude attained by a four-wheeled vehicle at 6,688 meters (21,942 ft).

The Samurai in question benefitted from wheel, tire, and suspension changes, and a supercharged G16A 4-cylinder underhood. It was the third attempt for the two man team, after encountering weather difficulties on the first attempt and an engine fire in the second. The previous record holder’s team lead by Matthias Jeschke riding a Jeep Wrangler, left a sign reading “Jeep Parking Only: All others don’t make it up here anyway”. The Chilean team found the sign, blown down by strong winds, and brought it back to civilization as a souvenir.

This Record was duly Certified by the Guinness World Record in July 2007.

Suzuki Jimny

The Suzuki Jimny is a small four wheel drive built by the Japanese manufacturer Suzuki. Three body styles are available: a metal top, a hard top and soft top. The Jimny replaced the popular Sierra/Samurai model in most markets in 1999, though its predecessor remains in limited production in some regions. The Jimny (3rd generation) was equipped with a newly designed 1.3 L 16-valve four-cylinder electronically fuel injected engine or a 1.5 Diesel engine (again Market specific). A ladder type chassis and a dual ratio transfer case is standard, unlike many competing compact 4WDs which lack a low range, and are strictly in the crossover category.

The Jimny’s vacuum-locking hubs allow the vehicle to be shifted from 2WD to 4WD while travelling at up to 100 km/h (62 mph). Shifting to low range requires the vehicle to be stopped, but there is no need to exit the vehicle. Newer Jimnys feature electronic “push-button” selectable four-wheel drive.

The Jimny features large windows, giving excellent visibility, apart from a rather serious blind spot caused by the oversized “B” pillar. The large amount of glass also creates a greenhouse effect, and the Jimny comes with air conditioning as a standard feature in some regions.

Two models of the Jimny are available in some markets, the standard hard top, and a canvas roofed “Cabrio” version. Both models come in JX and JLX specifications. These are fairly standard designations across the Suzuki off road range, with the JLX being the fully-optioned “luxury” version. In the case of the Jimny, the JLX adds roof rails, power steering, power windows, electronically adjustable exterior mirrors, and several interior comfort improvements. Both models are available in 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic gearbox. There is also a 2WD option, only available in 5 speed manual.

As of 2007, Jimneys in Australia have bared the name Jimney-Sierra, largely due to the Sierra name being synonomous with small, capable off-road vehicles.

First generation 1 (1970–1972)

Jimny (360 cc I2 air-cooled)

  • LJ10
    • Type 1 (1970: 04)
    • Type 2 (1971: 02)

First generation 2 (1972–1976)

Jimny (360 cc I2 water-cooled)

  • LJ20
    • Type 1 (1972: 05)
    • Type 2 (1974: 11)
    • Type 3 (1975: 12)

First generation 3 (1976–1981)

Jimny 55 (550 cc I3)

  • SJ10
    • Type 1 (1976)
    • Type 2 (1977)
    • Type 3 (1978)
    • Type 4 (1979)

Jimny 8 (800 cc I4)

  • SJ20 (1977–1981)

Second generation 1 (1981–1984)

Jimny 550

  • SJ30
    • Type 1 (1981: 05)
    • Type 2 (1983: 07) The full transistor ignition.

Jimny 1000 / SJ410

  • SJ410 (1981–1998)
  • SJ413 (1982–1986)

Second generation 2 (1984–1990)

Jimny 550

  • SJ 30
    • Type 3 (1984: 07)
    • Type 4 (1986: 01) Dashpanel was changed being common to with JA51 / 71.
    • Type 5 (1987: 04)

Second generation 3 (1990–1995)

Jimny 1300

  • JA51 (1984–1990)

Jimny 550 Turbo

  • JA71
    • Type 1 (1986: 01) Four-stroke F5A engine with Turbo charger was introduced.
    • Type 2 (1987: 08)
    • Type 3 (1987: 11) Intercooler was added,and the front grill was changed.
    • Type 4 (1989: 04)

Jimny 660

  • JA11
    • Type 1 (1990: 03) 55 PS (40.5 kW; 54.2 hp).
    • Type 2 (1991: 06) Increased 58 PS (42.7 kW; 57.2 hp). Fan coupling was added and the front grill was changed.
    • Type 3 (1992: 07) PS and AT were introduced.
    • Type 4 (1994: 04) Turbo warning lamp abolished, seat belt warning lamp added.
    • Type 5 (1995: 02) Improved to 64 hp (48 kW).

Jimny SIERRA (1300)

  • JB31 (1993–1995)

Second generation 4 (1995–1998)

Jimny 660

  • JA12 (SOHC: F6A) / JA22 (DOHC: K6A)
    • Type 1 (1995: 11)
    • Type 2 (1997: 05) Air locking hub was added

Jimny SIERRA (1300)

  • JB32 (1995–1998)

JB series (1998–)

Jimny 660

  • JB23 (K6A)
    • Type 1 (1998: 10)
    • Type 2 (1999: 10) Position of the catalytic converter was changed.
    • Type 3 (2000: 08) Hazard lamp switch was changed.
    • J2 (2WD) (2001: 02)
    • Type 4 (2002: 01) F-Grill, Intake were changed.
    • Type 5 (2004: 10) Trim, MT / Transfar were changed.
    • Type 6 (2005: 11) Head lamp optical axis adjustment was added.

Jimny Wide (1300: G13B)

  • JB33 (1998–1999)

Jimny Wide / SIERRA (1300: M13A)

  • JB43 (2000–)

source : wikipedia


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