Rare Rides: Are You O-kei With This 1996 Suzuki Alto Works?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides are you o kei with this 1996 suzuki alto works

Back in May of 2017, we showcased our first Suzuki(s) in a mixed Crapwagon Collection not often seen in the wild. Suzuki was our discussion once more when we featured a kei trucklet called the Mighty Boy.

Now we talk Suzuki once again, with a Works version of the Alto.

The Alto name was initially developed for the basic cargo van version of Suzuki’s Fronte kei model, which was popular in the Japanese Domestic Market. When the time came to export the Fronte to other places, Suzuki decided to use the Alto name for every other market outside of Japan. The Fronte name would carry on in the Japanese market through the third-generation Alto in 1989.

The fourth-generation Alto is our subject today, on sale around the globe between 1995 and 1999. The third-generation Alto had morphed into many different body styles during its tenure, with multiple trim variants of each. Suzuki desired a more simplified offering in this generation, paring offerings down to a three- or five-door hatchback and a cargo van.

Always a fan of four-wheel drive, it was an option on the Alto, with standard models driving only the front wheels. An inline-three cylinder engine of 657 or 658 cc displacement was offered, with up-level offerings utilizing turbochargers for a few extra ponies.

According to the listing, this Alto has the mid-range F6A turbo engine, producing 61 horsepower. That’s okay when you have just 1,500 pounds to motivate.

The sportiest versions of the Alto wore the Works badge. Introduced in 1984 and lasting through the year 2000, Works vehicles had sport features not found on standard versions, and usually gained a bit more power.

Today’s example is a Works ie/s, well-equipped with power windows, locks, steering, air conditioning, and automatic transmission. This one appears to be a Limited trim, as it contains all those features.

In the kei class, pretty much everything is an optional extra unless you purchase a special version.

This Alto has been imported from Japan into the enlightened importation country of England, which is near France. With 67,000 miles on the odometer, the seller is asking around $3,800. Is that within what you’d pay for kei?

[Images via seller]

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4 of 17 comments
  • Statikboy Statikboy on Feb 22, 2018

    Available for importation to Canada. If it were manual, I'd be all over... no, wait! Gosh Darn It! It looks like it has crabs.

  • Big Wheel Big Wheel on Feb 23, 2018

    That seat fabric pattern hurts my eyes. And those rims are tiny. What are are - 15" max?

    • See 1 previous
    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Jan 17, 2019

      @Daniel Smith Good to hear from an eventual owner!

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.