Saturday 7 May 2016

McDonalds - hide your trays: It's the Suzuki Fronte..

...Looks like you've got all the help you need, brotha!

Ahh, the Fronte!

Great example of this sweet little 80's Kei gem, currently for sale at a dealer in Hyogo, Japan.

1985 CB71 (pre-facelift) Suzuki Fronte FG
A high-spec variant from the first full year of production for the 5th generation Fronte; a featherweight three or five door hatchback, with a sub-600cc 4stroke petrol engine dragging along a basic cart rear axle. Simple. Neat. Cute.

Fantastically original, and showing a whisker over 32,000km - a 30year time-warp that allows us to appreciate some of the fun detailing that'd otherwise be looked over and forgotten...

...starting with the engine-bay.. with the transverse-mounted 543cc F5A three-cylinder that's driving the front wheels.. and what I'm happily pretending makes the Fronte, a Fronte!
Inline-three is adorable as always, as is that tiny offset radiator - eesh... just look at the size of the battery for comparison..!

Attractive two-tone grey interior with subtle blue highlights. Interesting that it seems as though the shades of grey are reversed.. with the light grey doing the bulk of the work, and the darker grey as a highlight of sorts. There is absolutely no rule with this, but it suddenly stands out as being a little different to usual. Makes for a lighter interior overall, and the three-shades-of-blue horizontal striping spices things up a little!

Tiny footwell is to be expected - I'm pretty sure I'd be taking my shoes off to fit in here! Basic two-spoke wheel seems large, but I have a feeling it's just that interior.. particularly seeing how the speakers cant quite fit in the door cavity... it's small!

Hilariously basic gauges, and no tacho despite being a manual car.
5-digit odometer implies this was never meant to go far, and the 120km/h speedo promising it was never to go far, fast...

I really like these HVAC controls. A variation somewhat of the 80's-standard 'fingertip controls'... more likely in this case due to there being no where else to bloody put them!
Twist knobs on the left turn the hot-cold and vent positions, with small display windows to see your selection. Odd push-pull toggle switch for the re-circ ventilation too...

Basic push-button radio, with (an aftermarket?) Clarion cassette component in the lower console..

Rather suspect-looking gear knob, but hey - 5speed..!

'PULL'. I'd have hoped it was pretty self explanatory...

Removable rigid parcel-shelf and split-fold rear seats, creating a perfectly usable cargo area. Large tail-lamps above the bumper-line cut into the opening though...

Back outside the Fronte 'FG 5SPEED'; the moulded and branded mudflaps, and neat little center-caps on the basic steel wheels...

..and back 'round to the front, where we'll finish off with a shot that best shows the always-awesome fender-mirrors, Golf GTI-esque red pinstriping, parking pole, subtle visors, and classic oblong yellow fog-lamps.

Worth the 690,000yen asking price? Surprised me a little, that's for sure.. but as I've always said, you could NOT replicate this for that.
For someone who may've grown up with a Fronte, or wanted one decades ago and missed their chance.. it's a bargain.


  1. Wow, it doesn't get any more classic with those stripes on the seats man! I would actually love to have a retro car like this. With an overhauled engine under the hood, this car could really be awesome…

    1. Can't go too wrong with a classic economy car like this..! Fun, cheap to buy, cheap to own, and completely usable. Like that interior too..? Sounds like you'd be a fan of these..(!):