Tiny Off-Roader: 1972 Suzuki LJ20V

lj

I believe this is the predecessor of the Suzuki Samurai of Consumer Reports fame. I remember seeing these on TV in Africa, I think, and always thought they looked quite capable for their size. The owner of 40+ years is ready to sell as the vehicle isn’t getting used much anymore. It’s located in Jackson, Mississippi and is offered for sale here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $2,975. The owner has slowed the rust down by treatment; that explains the somewhat mottled appearance. They state that it runs great and the only mechanical issue is that the brakes have to be bled frequently, and that the second muffler is missing. After looking up some detailed information on the model itself, it’s actually a two-stroke two-cylinder engine of only 359cc! Top speed new was 50 mph, so it’s pretty apparent that this is really an off-highway vehicle. That same informational site above has downloadable parts and service manuals, if you’re interested in learning more. As a very unusual alternative to a traditional off-roader, what do you think?

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Comments

  1. MikeG

    359cc!! That granny gear must be the size of a penny!

  2. jaygryph

    Looks like the orange marker lights in a box are the same ones that 74 – 78 toyota pickups used.

  3. Peter

    As soon as I saw the Seller’s reference to a “reed valve,” I admit I got a little excited.

    Me likes two-strokes.

    And sure enough, a brief perusal of the Service Manual shows what Jamie already told us in his original write-up–a two-cylinder, two-stroke. “Cute” doesn’t begin to describe this! LOL

    As an “electronic hoarder,” I downloaded the complete Service Manual, but I cannot figure out how to do that with the Parts Manual (linked in the Seller’s ebay auction).

    Can anybody advise how to download the PARTS MANUAL?

    I like this thing, but my first concern (as it SURELY is a “grey market” vehicle” would be: P-A-R-T-S).

    And this is a big deal, potentially. As a Kubota CUT (Compact Tractor Enthusiast) I am aware that sometimes, folks get a good deal on a grey-market Kubota, only to find out that parts (and dealers willing to service them) are a problem.

    Consequently, unless someone here chimes in about a parts source for this cute, ‘lil bugger, I’d have to say “pass.”

    But it’s sure cute!

    Is it me, or does the gray on the exterior body panels look like the body is aluminum, or galvanized steel? (I realize that the Seller said “Rust spots were wire-brushed and then coated with “Rust Bullet…” but I confess I’m not at ALL familiar with “Rust Bullet.”)

    Does “Rust Bullet” end up looking like dull galvanized steel or aluminum?

    Re: “rust inhibitors,” I’ve use “Extend,” (now owned by Loctite) with GREAT success, over the years, but I am aware that others swear by POR 15 and I have seen mention made of “Rust Bullet.”

    Jamie,

    Perhaps, as the website grows, you will consider a forum, where we can discuss such things as “rust converters.”

    I’m thinking of paying the $5./mo. fee you’ve recently floated, so maybe it’s time we all paid up and helped get this excellent site to the next level?

    Peter

  4. Howard A Member

    Apparently, this WAS the predecessor to the Samurai, except, the 1st models, LJ10, had an air-cooled 2 cycle, 2 cylinder, and liquid cooling came out in ’72. I had a friend that bought a new Samurai, ( mid-’80’s) and for what she used it for, daily transportation, it was a miserable vehicle. It was underpowered, rode terrible, noisy, top heavy (it seemed) and sorely needed a 5 speed (which did come out later). The 1st motor blew after a few months, Suzuki put a new motor in, that one lasted about a year, and Suzuki refused to replace the 2nd motor. She parked it in a field, and it’s probably still there to this day.

  5. John Moiseve

    The LJ10 & LJ20 were sold in Guam and Saipan. And some were also sold in Hawaii. They were licensed for road use – although Hawaii’ were imported as farm implements. The Suzuki dealers in Guam & Saipan, will still have access to parts for these – but it may take a while to get them. I owned a 1976 Suzuki LJ50 Jimney Jeep which is the LJ10 with a LJ50 engine (which most of the imports came with). 50mph downwind, but they could certainly climb and mud with their low low range 4wd, and tall skinny tires.

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