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Suzulight: Suzuki's first car

Suzulight suzulight

In 1954 he was born Suzuki Motor Corporation Limited with the design of the first car of the Japanese brand. Michio suzuki developed that first vehicle with his son-in-law Shunzo, who led the engineering team made up of young people in their 20s.

Following Suzuki's main motto 'Yaramaika' (translated as "Let's do it") and with the intention of creating a great model, Shunzo quickly began researching foreign-produced vehicles, gaining enough knowledge to build the first Suzuki car, known as Suzulight.

Shunzo Suzuki relied on the comparison of various European models to develop the vehicle, especially in a Austin 7 developed in the UK, a very popular car at the time and very reasonably priced.

The Suzulight is a compact vehicle weighing less than 500 kg, designed to be easy to drive and maintain, as well as affordable. Powered by a 360cc two-cylinder two-stroke engine and with 16hp of power, the model was far ahead of its time with independent coil spring suspension and rack and pinion steering.

At just 2.990mm long, 1.295mm wide and 1.400mm high, the Suzulight easily complied with Japanese “Keijidosha” legislation, and Shunzo Suzuki and his team quickly started the first road development test.

Suzulight suzulight

Still as a prototype, its most memorable tour was a long journey through the Hakone mountain region between Hamamatsu and Tokyo, something that turned out to be a real challenge, as there were no paved roads at the time. Although it arrived in Tokyo very late and in the middle of the night, the team presented the car to the president of Yanase and the Automobile Government office. The president stayed up late to personally greet the team and did not hesitate to test drive the vehicle.

He came back very impressed and immediately gave Shunzo and his team full approval to put the car into production. In October 1955 Shunzo made his first two deliveries to doctors who would use the small vehicle for their daily rounds. Initial production was 3-4 cars per month, but by early 1956 the monthly volume had grown to 30 units. Suzuki's success story had begun and in 1957, Shunzo Suzuki became the second president of Suzuki Motor Co, Limited.

It is rumored that only one or two of the original Suzulight models still exist, one of which is in the Suzuki Plaza Museum in Hamamatsu City, Japan.




Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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