Kei Car Weekend Edition: Suzuki Cappuccino

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Would it have been a terrible oversight not to include the Suzuki Cappuccino this weekend? Together with the Honda Beat and the AZ-1, the trio is what one thinks of when eccentric Kei cars are discussed. And the Cappuccino was even imported to Europe new, which is rare regarding this class of cars.

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It’s interesting to consider the Cappuccino’s detailing, as everything viewed by itself is even a touch boring – look at the oval lights and generic-looking wheels. It’s just the dimensions and the measurements of the car that make it rather baffling looking, as it’s narrow enough to look a lot longer than it actually is.
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Unlike the Beat and the AZ-1, the Cappuccino had its powerplant up front, but it still counts as front-mid-engined as the lump was mounted behind the front wheels. Almost the only difference between earlier and later Cappuccinos were that the DOHC triple was first belt-driven, then chain-driven.
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All in all, there were over 28 000 Cappuccinos made, which is very well for it. I’d love to try one.

11 Comments

  1. My question after this weekend: How well do people fit in these cars?

    Are they roomier than they look, or are they like the De Tomaso Pantera in that they are best driven by shorter people?

    1. If you’re not familiar with Moog and Marty of Mighty Car Mods fame check out the following video where these two Australians of average (Marty) and above average (Moog) build go to Japan to buy a Kei car and, with the help of local friends, prepare it for drifting. It’s an awesome little feature film in its own right and it will definitely answer your question.

    2. Having actually sat in the drivers seat of one (they were officially sold in the UK/Ireland), I would say that if you find a 1st gen miata tight, then just forget it. I’m not especially tall, around 5′ 11″, and I found that I could fit in it technically, but not get comfy. My knee was jammed up against the door, which I had a job to get closed. Replacing OEM seats can make a difference of course, so I reckon with a bit of creativity, someone not of Japanese dimensions could get comfy. I was a little gutted that I didn’t really fit, because I love these wee cars. Rust is a bit of killer on them too, very hard to find one with a sound shell these days.

  2. I love the top on this, the dual stage targa and full convertible idea that was repeated on the obscure Qvale Mangusta. I’ve always been a fan of Targas and T Tops, and combining that with a full convertible option is a fantastic idea. I’ve seen videos of these cars equipped with Hayabusa engines, and they look like great fun!

      1. Awesome car, I absolutely love the Tucsan! It was a regular Targa. The top panel came off, but the rear window was fixed.

  3. I can’t find a picture, but someone in Auckland,NZ, has/had a Suzuki Cappucino with the personalised number plate ‘DECAF’. The car, when parked always seemed to be surrounded by curious German tourists

  4. I love the advertising imagery. You bought your penny pinching tax haven of a car for when you’re putzing around in the traffic of urban Japanese cities looking for a parking spot, you’re doing it in a shoebox… but a shoebox that speaks of Open roads! Exotic locations! Vacations on the Côte d’Azur!

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