Ready for record-setting Jimny jaunt – here is the model’s history

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The Suzuki Safari Town Festival and Jimny Gathering aims to bring thousands of Jimny fans together but before we get there here’s a brief history of the popular pint-sized 4×4.

As Jimny fans gear up to gather in an attempted record-breaking event in Clarens in the Free State tomorrow, we look back at the vehicle’s history.Tomorrow, South Africans will celebrate National Heritage Day while Jimny fans will gather at Langkranz Farm outside Clarens in the Eastern Free State for theHaving unveiled the highly anticipated Jimny 5-door at the 2023 Festival of Motoring, theeditor is off to Durban to drive the new model 400 km to the inaugural Suzuki Jimny Gathering.

It was a sales disaster and Suzuki bought Hope Motors in 1968, which for Suzuki would prove to be a pivotal acquisition. Suzuki took the HopeStar ON360 and re-developed it to become LJ10 – effectively the first Jimny.Here its two-cylinder engine offered 18kW and would, if conditions allow, motivate the 590 kg 4×4 to a top speed of 75km/h.

In 1972, the LJ20 arrived, with a refreshed design for the decade and 21 kW. Suzuki then introduced the SJ10 with 24 kW weighing 635 kg and the spare wheel was now positioned at the rear making space for up to four passengers.The SJ30 debuted in 1981, but only ever sold in Japan. In 1982, the SJ40 was introduced with a 1,0-litre engine capable of 109 km/h for those who dare achieve it. The latter would become the first Jimny to land in Mzansi the 80s.

The SJ410 was popular having sold as a convertible as well as a tin-top while in 1990, the Samurai made its arrival with a 1,3-litre and a 5-speed manual. The third-generation Jimny JB23 tipped the scales at 1 095 kg in 1997 and became a South African 4×4 icon producing 63 kW and 110 N.m. The current JB74 Jimny made waves when it went on sale in late 2018 as it now looked like a life-sized Tonka toy and offered all-important safety features like traction control, hill descent control, hill-hold assist, airbags and ABS. Available with the tried-and-tested K15B tuned to produce 75 kW and 130 N.m.


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