Compact Off-Roaders: Two Suzuki Jimny Projects

Many US-based readers are familiar with the Suzuki Samurai, an extremely off-road capable (albeit underpowered) mini SUV, which was also known as the Jimny in some global markets. The original Jimny was never officially never sold in the States, making this pair of 1970’s Suzuki Jimnys that Barn Finds reader Roger found here on craigslist quite a unique find.

For $3,999, this seller offers a package deal of two Suzuki Jimny trucks: a red truck from 1972 and a yellow example from 1974, with both trucks sporting a fixed hardtop roof, as opposed to a folding soft top. Somewhat oddly, the older truck is in much better shape, with the ad suggesting on multiple occasions that the yellow truck should become a parts donor for the other one. While all the parts may interchange between the two trucks, neither runs, and both are missing their original keys.

Though the listing is on Craigslist in Denver, Colorado, the location for both of these truck is in Omaha, Nebraska, where they have clean titles that allow for road use. How is that possible? The seller claims that in the 1970’s the trucks were sold as farm equipment and deemed road legal for farm use, much like an all-terrain vehicle. Personally, I love hearing a story from this era where loopholes created an opportunity for regular enthusiasts to import something so distinctive, especially because of the strict rules and regulations that are in place today.

Anyways, back to the Jimnys. The red 1972 model is very complete and has minor rust issues. Both the interior and exterior of the truck were redone at some point, and though the seller doesn’t necessarily seem happy with the quality of the work, they do note that this truck has a very solid body.

The red Jimny is a right-hand drive model that was originally imported through New Mexico. It has an optional folding seat in the rear compartment, but the front seats are not original items.

Though the 2-cylinder 360cc 2-stroke engine does spin freely, it is currently not running. However, 4-speed manual transmission seems to have all of its gears, while the transfer case seems to have both the high and low ranges.

On the other hand, there’s the yellow truck from 1974, which the seller calls “RUSTY!” and a great parts truck. Unfortunately, something fell on the tiny truck, which broke the windshield and also damaged the roof and hood, but it does have steel wagon wheels, an original front bumper, and a complete mechanical system.

This yellow Jimny is a left-hand drive model with front seats and an instrument cluster that are both still in very nice shape.

The seller notes that they are offering the vehicles in non-running condition, but they can put in more work, which will result in a higher price tag. However, they are entertaining reasonable offers, including trades for similarly old, rare and unusual Japanese vehicles. If you had around $4,000 burning a hole in your pocket and a desire for a compact off-roader, would you combine both of these Jimnys into one good truck, or would you rather stick to the Samurai for your adventures?

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Comments

  1. Capriest Member

    I sure wish I had the metal fab/ welding skills to convert the 72 to LHD. With the parts from the 74 I wonder how much of a PITA this would be? I’ve never seen one of these, but it’s super interesting. Quadzilla 500 drivetrain swap perhaps?

    1
    • Andy

      It would be fun to drop a GT750 Water Buffalo or RE5 Wankel engine in one of these.

      1
  2. lonnie93041

    I seem to remember a couple of these running around Santa Maria CA in and around the farmlands in the early 70s. There were a few other flatbed two cylinder type Suzukis too. I thought they were the coolest things imaginable and was very disappointed they weren’t street legal here for other than agricultural use.

  3. mike Runnels

    I own three of these little jems and restore them for others. be aware the engines are different from 72 to 74. before you start the 72, make sure the distributor shaft is packed with Suzuki grease as this lubricates the shaft and FRONT crank bearing. a lot of folks don’t know that this is part of the maintenance on these early motors, and was the cause of many motor failures. nice to see some others are out there hiding..:) will help new owner if you need it..:) Mike 703-919-6991

    2
  4. JOHN S BARNES

    I remember these being sold in Colorado Springs in ’72 strictly as off road
    vehicles, part of the advertising emphasized they could fit in the bed of
    a full size pickup.

    1

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