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 that show 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
Very few of them are left. They rusted even better than driving. Our model, a unique survivor, we found at Garage de l'Est, the company mainly known for its range of French classics in top condition.