By on January 6, 2016

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino

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.

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48 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino...”


  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    First the 205, and now this! I find it really interesting to see the reactions to these cars on an American car site.

    Very rare in the UK – only 1100 cars imported from 1993-95.

    Great little cars, with a crazy 650cc turbo three cylinder engine.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    strange little car, it manages to look so wrong and so right at the same time, if you serious about inporting a car from Japan Doug would be you go to source as he has written about importing a GTR from Japan last year and to keep it in the TTAC family Thomas can go check out the car for you, I think he is still in Japan.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Hate to crush your dreams, but the Cappucino is a size smaller than the Miata again. I looked at it way back when they imported a few in the Netherlands, and was shocked at the minute size of it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      The original Lotus Elan was 10 inches shorter than the first generation Miata. The first generation Austin Healey Sprite (bugeye) was 18 inches shorter than the Miata. The bugeye was actually quite roomy inside.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I’m 6’2″ and weigh in at around 230 and am fairly comfortable behind the wheel of a MG Midget which is roughly the size of a Cappucino or its competitor the Daihatsu Copen. I would not mind either of them as a weekend roadster though the Copen will have to wait a few more years to meet the 25 year rule.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    If you’re going with early 90’s kei convertible, you better BEAT it.

    http://www.goo-net-exchange.com/usedcars/HONDA/BEAT/700070738130150913001/index.html

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    http://www.goo-net-exchange.com/usedcars/FORD/BRONCO/700020301030141228001/index.html

    Lol, what a Japanese weirdo you’d have to be to have this over there.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I’ve used Goo-Net to import a Mitsubishi Delica to Kenya a few years back. The’re a middleman between you and the used car dealers as well as the exporters. The listed price isn’t the final offer and they can attempt to negotiate a lower price for you, but don’t expect a Richard Rawlings beatdown on price. Once you’ve got your final price + shipping, they’ll tell you where to wire the money(I think they accept credit cards too) and take a few pictures of your new pride and joy before it’s put on a boat. Once it gets to your side it’s up to you to get it cleared through customs, but as long as you have a reputable company on your end to clear it through, it should be a smooth process.

    No need to worry about the language barrier either, their staff’s English is as good as yours or mine. If you do plan on following through on the li’l Cappuccino, I’d definitely go through them.

    They do bikes as well, and depending on where my next diplomatic assignment is, I already have plans on picking up a Honda CBR250RR from them so I can bring that back to the US. 250cc’s and a 16,000 RPM redline never sounded so good!

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Ahh Prelude pillarless sedan!

    http://www.goo-net-exchange.com/usedcars/HONDA/ASCOT_INNOVA/700040022130151214002/index.html

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Also I’m having this convertible all day long, instead. It’s importable now.

    http://www.goo-net-exchange.com/usedcars/NISSAN/FIGARO/700040221530151201002/index.html

    I’ll quit doing links, cause I could do JDM stuff all day.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’m waiting for 2024 to get my cashmere yellow Subaru Impreza WRX STI sport wagon. Hopefully they still exist. Everyone seems to be cutting those cars in half to ship them over now. Depressing because all the shells here are in terrible shape.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Why are they cutting them in half?

      • 0 avatar
        quasimondo

        They sell the front clip to people who want to do engine swaps. Makes it easier because you have the engine, gearbox, ecu, and any other misc parts you might need to make it work.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Thank you. It makes sense, but it also makes me sad. It’s effectively removing a sought after car from the road every time it’s done.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            The cars that get cut are usually the higher-mile, less clean ones to begin with. The low-mile creampuffs are still intact. There was a tidal wave of ’90s Skyline and Silvia/180SX clips shipped into the US about a decade ago, as those cars aged out of the home market.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            SR20DET swap all the JDM things!

          • 0 avatar
            quasimondo

            It was going to be removed no matter what, unfortunately. The shaken (shah-ken) vehicle inspection system in Japan is very strict and as a result, with older cars it can become very expensive to keep it in compliance, to the point that it’s more economically feasible to just buy a new car instead. The lucky cars (SUV’s, pickups, and vans) find a new life in Africa. The rest just rot away in a junkyard.

            If you really want to see sad, you should check out the WasabiCars, a YouTube channel created by an Australian expat living near Hiroshima.
            https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSw4FENdCJc1guYzBFHUkXg

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Seems like there are more SR20-powered 240SXs on CL these days than stock ones, along with the occasional CA or unfinished RB swap.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Truly there is little used car market in Japan after a couple years .

            The cut in half then ship out thing has been going on for decades ~ some enterprising young Men on my block bought about 10 RHD Honda Civic halves about ten years ago and soon they had an all RHD local Car Club , they were careful with the VIN’s and all had California license tags and were driven daily .

            RHD cars also get shipped to Jamaica where young Men who don’t know how to drive yet , wreck them almost immediately .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    -Nate

    “How did they get it with all equipment still intact! No way that’s street legal over there.”

    Pretty easy , we just dump most of this stuff (Police car equipments) as scrap .

    Could also be an ex Movie car too , the last time I was in NYC they didn’t have ‘ HIGHWAY PATROL ‘ stickers on their cruisers .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I liked Suzuki. SX4s and GVs (and Kizashi) are usually watchlisted on my kijiji.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, at least it ain’t French.

  • avatar
    countrypete

    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!

  • avatar

    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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