Digestible Collectible: 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn

I’m a glutton, and a glutton for punishment. I’m larger than most men, at around six-feet-four-inches tall and weighing between 260 and 280 pounds depending on the time of day, moon phase, and proximity to the nearest good buffet.

And yet, I love small cars.

I own, and once daily-drove, an early Miata. Mind you, I carved foam out of the seat and equipped it with a smaller steering wheel so I could steer without removal of my legs or other sensitive bits — but I do fit. My win-the-lottery wish list has just as many four-cylinder cars as bigger-engined vehicles combined.

So, when looking at models that are becoming eligible for import under the 25-year-rule, naturally, I looked East.

Since we no longer have the pleasure of seeing new Suzuki cars on these shores, I figured that brand would be a great place to start my Kei quest. I considered the Alto Works RS/R — with all-wheel drive and a turbocharger stuffed into a tiny hatch — but the theoretically infinite headroom offered by a convertible is attractive. Thus, today’s 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino.

With classic front engine, rear-drive proportions, shrunk down by tax regulations, the Cappuccino is an attractive roadster. For the equivalent of $5,900 plus transport costs, it’s reasonably priced, too. There are dozens of these for sale on Goo-Net-Exchange, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of these appear stateside. Have any of our readers used this site to import a car?

Yes, I’m aware I’m a year too early for import on this particular Cappuccino; there are some 1991 models available, but this one looked better to me. It’s not like I have the cash right now anyhow.

I don’t know how Kei cars like this Cappuccino would work in the US. It would be great as a city car, certainly, but long highway slogs would be exhausting on driver and machine. Furthermore, I have serious reservations about actually squeezing myself into this thing.

After all, a proper American version would be a Trenta half caff, extra foam soy Latte, and that doesn’t fit on this Cappuccino’s trunk lid in any legible font.

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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  • Countrypete Countrypete on Jan 06, 2016

    I have a Cappuccino here in New Zealand. It's a neat little car and out-performs plenty of "faster" cars (0 - 60 in 7.8 seconds) Top speed is governed to 140km/h (85mph) but it gets there real quick and will cruise all day at 130 if you want. At the same time it is stupidly economical on fuel, which matters when 95RON is over $2 per litre. I love the thing!

  • Bloodnok Bloodnok on Jan 06, 2016

    in the mid-90s, i had a shizuoka-registered honda beat. cute as a button but kinda noisy and a bit uncomfortable. compared with the mazda mx5 i'd abandoned in california, the beat wasn't the best handling machine. but it was fun to drive. eager to rev. best was the 400km run from hamamatsu to kanazawa on the hokuriku expressway in a torrential downpour. it handled overtaking lorries and artics with reasonable aplomb.

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