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High energy, low mileage: 5000-mile Suzuki Cappuccino comes to market

by Jon Burgess
5 July 2022 2 min read
High energy, low mileage: 5000-mile Suzuki Cappuccino comes to market
Photos: Car & Classic

In the long and winding history of the Kei car, precious few arrived on UK shores untouched. Micro commercials like the Honda TN360/TN-7 were more common, but survivors, decimated by rust, are few and far between.

That’s not the case for this 1994 Suzuki Cappuccino being offered by Car & Classic, which has been garaged its entire life and is notably free of the brown stuff. Rust that is, not coffee. Used as a “Sunday best” car alongside a daily-driven car by one of its three owners, it’s led a charmed existence, and has only 5205 miles to show for it.

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The Cappuccino was one of a trio of kei-class sports cars that emerged in Japan in the early 1990s. Devised after the war and built to specific dimensions for tax reasons, kei cars could be parked in Japan without a parking permit.

Tight regulations bred a whole ecosystem of different models, from family cars to commercial vehicles, and by the early Nineties, manufacturers like Mazda, Honda and Suzuki decided to have some fun with the regulations, creating pint-sized performance cars in the form of the AZ-1, Beat and Cappuccino.

The AZ-1 and Beat never made it over officially, but by 1993, the Cappuccino was type approved for the UK, a tiny 657cc turbocharged tearaway that made the all-conquering Mazda MX-5 look overweight and the TVR Chimaera like it belonged on another planet.

Corrosion killed many of the 1,110 examples brought in officially between 1993 and 1995, along with a host of parallel imports which offered more colours (UK cars were red or silver) and eventually a different engine, with How Many Left reporting 152 “Cappos” taxed, and 488 currently off the road (presumably while their owners sweep up the remains).

The Cappuccino on Car & Classic needs no sweeping, and includes delivery documents as fresh as they were in 1994. At time of writing, the auction has two days to go, but already isn’t far off the £9964 record UK price for a 1993 JDM car sold by ACA in 2019.

You may be inclined to think 657cc isn’t much, but then its 63bhp only has 725kg to move around. According to Editor Mills, who reviewed the Cappuccino back in the day, they are surprisingly fun little things, and as agile as you’d expect for something as light and with such a short wheelbase, while the turbocharged triple motor thrives on being thrashed. Could you trust yourself to keep it as nice, or would you take the back roads home every evening?

Read more

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