1992 Suzuki Cappuccino - Reader Ride

By: Greg Ford - Story & Photos

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Greg Ford's twin-cam three-cylinder turbo Suzuki has the x-factor

The Japanese domestic market Kei car regulations produce tiny cars, no more than 3.4 meters long by 1.48 meters wide with 660cc and 63 horsepower limits. Arguably, the best Kei car of the early 90s was the Suzuki Cappuccino.

I’ve always liked small sports cars, having loved Austin Healey Sprites and MG Midgets since my youth, and have been thinking about buying one for many years. A while ago, I was looking around for a project car when I saw a Suzuki Cappuccino while travelling in rural NSW. To me, it represented what the old Sprites and MGs should have evolved to be in a more modern world.

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I kept my eye out on the online forums and classifieds, and eventually I found one for sale. It had been in Queensland but off the road for a few years, and was very dirty and faded, but was rust free and in good basic mechanical condition. Just the thing for a restoration project! After a thorough inspection and some price negotiation, I took it home.

It has a 657cc three-cylinder watercooled twin cam turbocharged engine producing the maximum 63hp, rear wheel drive with five-speed manual, independent suspension all round, and four-wheel disc brakes.

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Interior is typical 90s period Japanese with air conditioning, power windows, leather faced seats and acres of black plastic trim.

The roof is an unusual three-piece aluminium targa arrangement that stores in the boot with a tilt-down heated glass rear window.

It’s a great little car to drive, very ‘analog’ with great handling and 50-50 weight distribution. It only weighs 720kg with a 8500rpm redline, so has plenty of zing which guarantees lots of grin factor.

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One of the 34 sold in New Zealand by Suzuki dealers between 1991 and 1995, this 1992 Cappuccino was imported to Australia in 1998. In 2005 it underwent a partial restoration including respray from the original silver colour by the previous owner. I have further restored it over the last three years and it’s a regular around Sydney car shows and Cars & Coffee meets.

Due to their rarity, Cappuccinos are gaining in value and are very attention-getting on the road.

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There are several Cappuccino Facebook support groups, and parts are available locally and from Japan.

Valuation: Finding one for sale will prove to be your first challenge. $9-14k.

 

From Unique Cars #443, Aug 2020

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