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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Inside Japan’s Suzuki Jimny Museum

Japan has most likely produced extra iconic excessive efficiency autos than every other car-manufacturing nation. The Supra, Jimny, Impreza and GT-R are only a few of many.

Okay… rewind. The Jimny? Actually? Now earlier than you chunk my head off for mentioning the Suzuki Jimny and Nissan GT-R in the identical breath, let’s focus on it over a latte within the café of Japan’s Jimny Museum.


That is the personal assortment of Mr. Shigeru Onoue, the founding father of Jimny specialist store APIO. Onoue-san is the simple godfather of Jimny tuning in Japan and has been producing aftermarket improve elements for the wildly-popular Suzuki off-roader for the reason that late Nineteen Eighties.


Positioned within the countryside of Kanagawa, only a stone’s throw away from lush mountains and clear working rivers, it’s the right place to geek out over among the greatest go-anywhere machines ever made.


Strolling into the foyer, guests are greeted by a second technology LJ-20, completed in a superb mustard yellow. This one, identical to all of the automobiles within the museum, has been personally restored by Onoue-san and the crew at APIO.


Proper, I’ll order the coffees whilst you try the physique of one other LJ-20. This one has been separated from the chassis, which is feasible as a result of it’s how all Jimnys are constructed.


That is the LJ-10, the primary automobile to bear the Jimny title, primarily based off the HopeStar ON360. The ON360 by no means noticed business manufacturing, with solely round 40 ever made. Suzuki purchased the Hope Motor Firm and utilized its AWD system for the Jimny.


Okay, you’re most likely nonetheless questioning why I included the Jimny in an inventory of icons just like the almighty Supra and GT-R. It’s an eyebrow-raising assertion for certain, however there’s a thread holding it collectively, I promise.


Keep in mind the rusty outdated physique within the café space? That is what sits beneath it – a ladder-frame chassis that features all of the suspension elements and the part-time AWD dual-range transmission. The place the Supra has the 2JZ, this primary however good four-wheel drive system is what makes the Jimny worthy of icon standing.


Simply how good is the AWD system? Nicely, Suzuki themselves are just a little humble in recognissing its brilliance. The G-Trac (an abbreviation of Good-Traction) mannequin above might be promoting itself just a little brief. Simply Google ‘off highway lifted Jimny’ and luxuriate in hours of footage of little Suzukis inching up and out of some unimaginable terrain.

As a result of the Jimny has no middle diff, it is going to at all times discover traction at both the entrance or rear axle. I’m certain there are many different issues that make it an excellent off-roader – like method angle and wading depth – however that’s all a bit out of my data pool.


The icons we’re all aware of – GT-Rs, Supras and different excessive efficiency automobiles – all do superb issues on asphalt. However there’s one other type of excessive efficiency. Excessive efficiency autos may also exist off highway. And that’s the reason the Jimny deserves its personal museum, and to be talked about in the identical sentence as our different heroes.


To not point out the enjoyment this little off-roader brings to hundreds internationally. Simply have a look at this Santa Monica version. The FRP physique was bought at Suzy Sports activities in Tokyo and bolted straight onto any SJ-30 chassis. You possibly can’t assist however adore it.


Issues begin to get just a little extra critical when the automobiles are arrange for rally. Onoue-san’s personal JB23W collection Jimny entered the Mongolian Rally thrice, profitable its class in 2014.


He additionally entered the automobiles seven instances within the Australian Safari Rally and 9 instances within the Paris-Dakar, crossing the end line on all counts.


If I needed to choose one of many automobiles on show on the Jimny Museum as a each day driver, it could undoubtedly be this vivid orange, left-hand drive Samurai. Then once more, if you wish to rub shoulders with Japan’s most interesting on the subsequent Daikoku PA meet, then a rally-prepped Jimny is most likely the solution to go.

Toby Thyer
Instagram _tobinsta_


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