Jumpin’ Jimny: 1972 Suzuki LJ20V

Legend has it that when Suzuki dignitaries were visiting Scotland during the period before bringing the LJ10 to market, somewhere along the way the translation got messed up and the name of these vehicles went from Jimmy, their intended name, to Jimny. You can file that away in either the too-much-info department or the interesting-trivia department. This 1972 Suzuki LJ20V can be found here on eBay in Oskaloosa, Iowa with a $7,500 buy-it-now price. Don’t laugh, the current bid price is $6,400 and the reserve isn’t met.

I’m all about these quirky, blue-smoke-spewing, two-stroke, two-cylinder 4x4s. If you’re sitting down, I’ll throw out another trivia gem for you LJ/Jimny fans: LJ = Light Jeep and V = Van, or enclosed cab. An LJ20O would have an Open cab. Ok, that’s enough excitement for now. This is one very decent-looking LJ20. The former owner had a body shop and they reportedly kept up on the rust, for the most part. There is still some intrusive and/or intensive rust that worries me but the bidders don’t seem to be too worried about it.

The rear bumper is.. hey, where’s the rear bumper?! The seller says don’t buy this vehicle unless you like talking to people so I guess that leaves me out. I’ll keep looking for one I guess… I was ready to pay cash, too. Enough of that. This really does look like a nice example but I see a few areas that worry me. I never like to see paint next to or over rust and I’d want to check it out very carefully before throwing down 75 $100 bills.

The interior looks good and the seller talks about the rust on the floors. They say that there is/was/is some rust in the floors but it has been neutralized and patched with fiberglass, which is not my personal favorite way to repair metal. But, anything can be fixed (correctly) and these aren’t exactly pin-up-girl-like curves to have to recreate before you can weld in a new chunk of metal. The tin-top (V) has a decent amount of room in the back for haulin’ stuff. It’s a perfect space for a couple of vintage Suzuki scooters.

The previous LJ10 had an air-cooled 359 cc two-stroke twin in order to qualify for Japan’s Kei class of 360 cc or less. In 1972, the LJ20 came out and it had Suzuki’s L50 engine, a water-cooled two-stroke twin which was also 359 cc in size but it had 4 more horsepower than the LJ10 had – a whopping 28 hp. A top speed of around 45-50 mph is to be expected, as is the fact that you’ll be taking a lot of two-lane back roads instead of jumping on the freeway. I would love to have one of these in either V or O (top/no-top) configuration, or both. Have any of you owned a Suzuki LJ/Jimny?

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Comments

  1. SMS

    Friend in New Mexico had one of these. We used to go riding up in the hills highgrading in old mines and looking for fossils. These are amazing little off road machines. When ever we would get stuck, which was not often, the two of us could lift out the front or back. They are smaller than the Willys Jeep and slower. They sip gas and are dead easy to work on.

    The narrow tires are what you want. They dig through the sand down to the hard pack and get you going.

    3
  2. Rube Goldberg

    I believe it’s pronounced “Yumpin’ Yimny”,,believe it or not, there’s one of these in my small town at a storage facility, sitting, probably waiting on parts( for 20 years) For slow going, I bet it’s fun, kind of like the Samuri, not that I’d want either one. A modern ATV will do everything this will do, probably better.

    3
    • Dave

      Mahindra Roxor is the way to go if you want to combine vintage looks with modern reliability.

      1
    • SMS

      Rode in my nephew’s modern ATV this summer. Think that will do everything better than any car from 1972. Those things are amazing.

  3. Tom

    Fixed the rust in the floor with fiberglass ? I guess that explains why he doesn’t have the body shop anymore.

    4
  4. Chris In Australia

    Worked on and drove these as an apprentice mechanic. Slow on the road, great off it. Still remember checking the oil injection flow at services. We got the ‘big block” 3 cylinder version in Australia. I once got one up to 110 kmh, on a long hill.

    2
    • SMS

      That is about 70mph. You are a brave man

      3
      • Chris In Australia

        Young and foolish!

        1
  5. angliagt

    It’s got the high – performance 28 hp engine? –
    I’m in!

  6. Brakeservo

    eBay bidding at unrealistic high number with Reserve Not Met is usually the work of that famous online bidder, S.Hill (who was apparently in Monterey last week bidding an alleged Porsche to $70 Million, or so RM hoped we would believe.)

  7. canadainmarkseh Member

    My Dad had the Samurai. I think they were a 1 litre engine with 5 speed trans top speed of 55 mph. That little 4×4 would go anywhere and it would fit on the quad trails. I’d personally rather have the Samurai.

    1

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