Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: Suzuki Jimny LJ80 (SJ20) – Looking Smaller Than Ever

These little Suzuki looked pretty small in their day, even in Europe. But as cars have grown everywhere, it seems to literally be shrinking. This generation was not sold in the US, but it was in Europe, and at least in Germany it became a got item, opening up the world of 4x4s and offroading to a much larger section of the market, thanks to its low price and capabilities. It was lovingly called “Elliot” in Germany, and I suspect that this one shot in Budapest by Roshake77 likely started out there.

The first generation Jimny started as a kei-car offroader designed by a little outfit in Japan called Hope Motors, called the HopeStarON360. They couldn’t ever get it into production so they sold the design to Suzuki, who unleashed the little jeepster in 1970, with a 25 hp 360 cc two stroke air-cooled twin.

IN 1972, the little mill got water cooling, and in 1975, it sprouted a third cylinder, for a total of 539 cc. But the great leap forward happened in 1977 when the SJ20 (confusingly sold as the LJ80) got a new 797cc four stoke four cylinder. That opened up more export markets, and it took off.

Then in 1981 a whole new generation (SJ30) appeared, sold in the US as the beloved and long-gone Samurai. Americans fell as hard for it as the Germans had for the LJ80.  Jimny love; who could resist?


Sad to say, they’ve become mighty scarce on the ground hereabouts; seems like just yesterday that they were everywhere. But there’s still this one in Budapest.