Suzulight - Suzuki's First Four-Wheeled Vehicle

Suzuki, as we know it today, is a diversified conglomerate that manufactures cars, motorcycles, ATVs, marine engines, and many other product...

Suzuki, as we know it today, is a diversified conglomerate that manufactures cars, motorcycles, ATVs, marine engines, and many other products.

But did you know that it started out as a textile company? Yep, Suzuki built weaving looms for the Japanese silk industry. And it was really good at it as business boomed for the 30 years that followed the founding of the company, Suzuki Loom Works, in 1909, by Michio Suzuki.

He then wanted to diversify into other fields and concluded that a small practical car would be best, and so began with prototypes in 1937. However, with WWII on the horizon, his plans were abandoned. After the war, he built motorcycles instead, as citizens were looking for affordable, reliable personal transportation. Following the success of motorcycles, he went back to his drawing board to revive the dream of building a car.

In 1955, Suzuki’s first four-wheeled vehicle – Suzuki Suzulight - made its foray into the automobile world. It had a length of 2.99 metres, a width of 1.29 metres and a height of 1.40 metres. It was adjusted to the Japanese legislation Kei Jidosha, which governs the popular Kei car of the country. One of the key features of the vehicle was its lightness, with a total weight below 500 kg.

Image credit - www.conceptcarz.com
Image credit – www.autobuzz.my

Image credit - www.conceptcarz.com

It had a two-cylinder, two-stroke engine with just 360 cc. The power was a measly 16 HP, nothing compared to today’s standards. But it had front-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering, which were not common in cars until three decades later!

Production was rather small, with 3 to 4 cars built in a month, but increased to 30 units a year later. It was the car that defined the philosophy of the Suzuki brand, which is still alive today through models such as the Suzuki Swift.

That’s a bit of a history lesson you can share with your buddies. Go on now.  


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