Exceptionally Clean 1990 Suzuki Swift

You buy a car primarily for transportation, right? Sure. Car enthusiasts don’t. Generally, we buy a car because it’s fun to drive, or historically significant in some way, and never shall enthusiasts and the general population meet. How do we get historically significant cars? There could be a limited production run from the factory, or it’s handmade like the Buick Reatta, or fills a niche in the market that literally nothing else fills like the Chevrolet SSR. Sometimes when the market is so saturated with basic transportation, nobody thinks to save the normal things, which makes the once mundane now historically significant. You can find this near-mint 1990 Suzuki Swift here on craigslist, and be one of the only people to say that you drive a near-mint 1990 Suzuki Swift in 2021. Special thanks to Pat L. for letting us know about it!

Under the hood is a single overhead cam, 1.3-liter inline four-cylinder driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. It makes somewhere between 60-80 horsepower, but that doesn’t really matter. You aren’t buying a Suzuki Swift to win drag races. Unless you are. And if you are, you’d probably do a Hayabusa engine swap or something more entertaining. The air conditioning was professionally converted to R134, and is said to blow cold. It runs, drives, and idles like brand new, which is to be expected when the rest of the car is as clean as it is.

Holding everything together is a chassis and support system cleaner than anything like this should be. It looks like it rolled off the factory line yesterday. Interestingly, you have independent suspension at all four corners on this little hatchback, likely making it a blast to drive. You won’t be going anywhere quickly, but there’s a very convincing argument that it’s better to drive a slow car at the absolute limit than it is to drive a fast car at the same speed. 40 miles per hour will feel like 80 in this, while in a McLaren 570s it’ll be the other way around.

Inside is just as clean as the rest of the car. The original two-spoke steering wheel fronts a speedometer, coolant gauge, and fuel gauge. There’s a radio so you can blast Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill through the undoubtedly tinny speakers. All a part of the experience of cheap, basic transportation that no longer exists. Wheels, an engine, and a seat. What more do you need?


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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    I will give this seller credit for being honest about the mileage. My only fear is that an Ebay flipper is going to offer the guy peanuts for it, and perform a speed shine, then list it as “Only 15000 Original Miles”

    Like 6
  2. Gunner

    The want is strong here. A very reliable and practical car. I owned a new 1993 Swift GT and had great fun with it. This is not the DOHC version, but the asking price is in there. Take care of it, and it will take care of you and your pocket book. Someone obviously has loved it well. Hard not to notice a car that is this old, this nice.

    Like 11
    • nlpnt

      It’s not as much extra power as the DOHC GT had, but the 1.3 four in this base Swift is a fairly solid boost over the 1.0 three-pot in the Geo Metro.

      Like 8
      • Motorcityman Member

        I had a New 87 Chevy Sprint “Turbo” with that 1.0 liter 3 cylinder.
        Thing would scoot!! And got like 48mpg or so.
        They only made them 2 years in Red and White, I had a White one.
        Bought it at a Chevy dealer in Corona California…..NO A/C!
        Last car I had without it!

        Like 1
  3. Motorcityman Member

    A manual with no tach? Didn’t think they made em like that in 1990!

    • gene polis

      Toyota Echos came without a tach before 2003……….pretty common in lower priced cars……

  4. Steveo

    This ticks none of the boxes for me. You can still find lots of “… cheap, basic transportation…” owned by mature adults who learned how to take care of things, so long as you look past a lot of garbage in your search. A gem is a well maintained interesting car at a good price. This is probably a well maintain car and cheap enough, but if I am going to die in an auto accident I sure hope it won’t be behind the wheel of something like this.

    Like 3
    • Mikefromthehammer

      I personally would prefer not to die in an auto accident at all. I plan on going in my sleep (without my boots on). lol

      Like 5
  5. man ' war

    For a little bit cheaper, there is a 83 Toyota Tercel hatchback for $2500 in the Phoenix, AZ craigslist. It looks nice with the tinted windows and nice tan color. It has 209k miles. Could be worth it if it has been maintained, and the new owner could get it to 300k before the engine needs a rebuild or? It looks more classic than this Swift; the only thing is you don’t get the injected engine.

  6. t-bone BOB

    Located in Claremont, CA

  7. John

    With the four cylinder motor, this was actually a pretty peppy little car. I drove one across Kansas once. It had no problems keeping up with most of the cars on the road. I never got it to reach 48 mpg, but it was good for close to 40 all day long. I was very surprised that the seats were actually not bad. It needed better tires and better shocks. But in the mountains of western Colorado, it was in its element .. Truly a fun little car.

    Like 1

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