Big Personality: 1989 Suzuki Alto Works RS/X

We all know at least one person who is short in stature but huge in personality and bravado. I’m the exact opposite and I sometimes wonder if it would be more fun to go through life shorter but with a winning personality. This 1989 Suzuki Alto Works RS/X is tiny but almost everything else about it is wicked huge. It can be found here on eBay in Patterson, New Jersey with bids of $3,720 and no reserve!

The Suzuki Alto has been made since 1979 and they’re still being made today. The third-generation Suzuki Alto debuted in the fall of 1988 and they were made until the fall of 1994. My personal favorite is the boxy second-generation Alto Works RS/R, a 4WD turbo pocket rocket and they’re hard to find. I was this close (doing the fingers close together motion) to grabbing one a couple of years ago but, thankfully, the seller was honest enough to tell me that while putting on new shocks he noticed some heavy flaking rust underneath which was enough for me to pass on it.

The Alto Works RS/X was a turbocharged model and it came with all sorts of go-fast goodies like a few graphics – although quite a few less than on the RS/R – and two wings or spoilers on the rear and “big” wheels, etc. This RS/X is the front-wheel-drive version as opposed to the RS/R which had fulltime 4WD. This little Suzuki is under eleven-feet in length and has just under 44,000 miles or just under 71,000 kilometers. It doesn’t look like there would be any cargo room at all but there’s actually a decent amount of storage room back there.

The biggest factor that I can see in keeping this price down will be the automatic transmission. A car this small is meant to be driven at least somewhat hard in order to get the most out of the small engine and a manual transmission would be better for that. The three-speed automatic transmission was only available on the front-wheel-drive Alto Works RS/R model, not the 4WD RS/X. Folks with long legs may have a tough time in the back seat but there should be enough headroom in this boxy beast. The interior looks like it’s in fantastic condition.

The engine is Suzuki’s F5B, a 547 CC double-overhead-cam, turbocharged inline-triple – my favorite configuration. While not my favorite part, its 64 hp isn’t earth-shattering but they really are fun to drive despite their lack of hairy-knuckle muscle car stoplight racing acumen. Have any of you owned a tiny pocket rocket like this Suzuki Alto Works RS/X?

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Comments

  1. Russell Glantz Staff

    Great write-up on this! I have had nothing but American fun-toy cars until recently, and I’m now equally enamored with JDM as I am with USDM specialty/sporty cars.

    Like 3
  2. MK

    I love kei cars and this Suzuki looks to be in good condition, but the tiny F5B engine and automatic transmission make it dog slow.
    The “big block” 660cc F6A (1990-1994) or more modern K6A (1994-1998) engines and a proper manual would be much more fun and have better international support.

  3. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    All that performance add-on, just to be neutered with an auto box – what a shame!

  4. Stevieg

    I am naturally drawn to tiny cars like this, even though at 6 feet tall and 320 pounds I just don’t fit in them lol.
    At the beginning of the write up, the author mentions how we all know at least 1 tiny person who has a huge personality. Yup, I am also drawn to small women with huge mouths. This is why I am currently single lol.
    Some big guys love small things, both 4 wheeled (& 2 wheeled) and 2 legged.
    This car is really cool (except for the automatic transmission). Cute, but I would hate to pi$$ it off lol!

    Like 1
  5. chrlsful

    “… Have any of you owned a tiny pocket rocket like this Suzuki Alto Works RS/X?…”
    yes & no. 60s Alfas, Fiats’n Lancia (spyders, 2 seat sports cars).
    I like boxws – 1st gen Xb, the pre-mini vans of the 80s – Eagel Summit, stanza, RT, its cousin the toy (wuz it)corolla 6 speed waggy, late model mazfa5…

    I can rapidly adapt to driving the RHD. It is just impractical in suburban, exurban and city driving. I would need a passenger almost every time I go out to do all I need done from the L seat. Rural passing would B ‘unfun’.

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