The new Suzuki Jimny is a wonderful piece of forbidden fruit for Americans, given its adorable dimensions and retro styling. Thankfully, the 25-year rule in the United States makes it easy to bring classic examples of this diminutive off-roader into the country. As an example of what you can get, check out this 1978 Suzuki Jimny SJ10 that's currently on the way to the U.S. It'll be available from ATL JDM in Atlanta.
The SJ10 actually preceded Suzuki's use of the Jimny name on its little SUVs. It wasn't until the SJ30 model that the company began using the moniker.
The SJ10 complied with Japan's updated kei-class standards at the time that enlarged the allowed engine from 360cc to 550cc. Suzuki created a 540cc three-cylinder, two-stroke powerplant for the new model. A four-speed manual and two-speed transfer case made short work of off-road terrain.
Suzuki made the little SJ10 to work. The host of this video shows off useful features like drain plugs in the floor that mean you can simply use the garden hose to clean mud out of the cabin when things get too dirty. The switches are chunky enough that someone could easily operate them wearing gloves, and you really need to wear some mittens in the winter because the heater is basically useless.
Driving the SJ10 looks like a blast. There's no sound deadening, and the suspension just bounces around. It's quite a visceral experience. At speeds beyond 44 mph (70 kph) things start feeling "sketchy," according to the host. Don't worry, though, because hitting that velocity takes quite a while and requires the assistance of a downhill grade.
This little SJ10 would be perfect for someone who lives in a rural town where high speeds aren't necessary, and there's plenty of farmland for off-roading. We hope this little SUV finds a good home.