A length of 126 inches. Width of 55 inches. Total curb weight, around 1212lbs. A 543cc three-cylinder, four-stroke engine with 28 horsepower and 31 ft-lbs of torque. 52mpg. And a pickup bed. This is the Suzuki Mighty Boy, depending on how you feel either the world’s most pointless pickup or the most entertaining ever made.
The Mighty Boy was launched in 1983 and Japan, and the only export markets from 1985 until the cute ute’s demise in 1988 were Australia and Cyprus. 18 inches shorter than a Chevrolet Sprint/Suzuki Swift, the Mighty Boy was based on the new for 1982 Alto/Fronte hatch and its sportier Cervo counterpart.
Suzuki Hatch – photo courtesy of Gumtree
While the Fronte’s Australian-market counterpart, the boringly named Suzuki Hatch, has all but disappeared from Australian roads, the Mighty Boy still pops up from time thanks to its cult following.
Subaru Sherpa – photo courtesy Rollaclub
In Australia, it enjoyed a run as the cheapest car on sale, at $AUD5795: $330 less than the aforementioned Hatch, and $750 less than a Subaru Sherpa. And it was certainly a lot more unique than either of them!
Modern Motor’s launch review had tongue planted firmly in cheek when journo Jeff Brown observed, “I was glad it was bright yellow because that made it easier for drivers of such powerhouses as a Datsun 120Y coupe and an old Beetle to take evasive actions, steaming past up a gradient that wouldn’t have disturbed a fit cyclist.” 0-60mph was a breathtaking 24 seconds and remarkably you could get a Mighty Boy with a two-speed automatic!
Sometimes, though, there’s nothing more fun than driving a slow car fast. The Mighty Boy was mighty light with excellent visibility. Handling was grippy, but that short wheelbase and stiff rear leaf springs provided a punishing ride. Up front, there was a MacPherson strut suspension and front disc brakes. You could load up the tray to improve ride comfort; maximum payload was 970lbs. Mighty Boys, though, were saddled with extremely uncomfortable seats. The interior also lacked a tachometer, a curious omission.
Still, you didn’t buy a Mighty Boy for its practicality or its comfort or its performance. You bought it because it was a tiny, cute little ute and truly one of a kind. Also, it was pretty damn cheap!