The smash-hit Suzuki Jimny is just the latest in a long line of minuscule Suzuki off-roaders that stretches back nearly 50 years.
In 1982, one of the most illustrious chapters in the Jimny’s history was written. German off-roading enthusiasts Josef Loder and Alois Schneck decided they would tackle the gruelling Paris-Dakar Rally in a Jimny LJ80. All 800cc and 30-odd bhp of it.
The rally was still at its wildest, having only been run three times before. A field of 380 cars, trucks and bikes set out into the Sahara on a 10,000km trek to Dakar. Just 120 crews made the finish 20 days later, including Loder and Schneck. In such a tiny, underpowered car it was a massive achievement. Technical issues meant they weren’t actually classified in the results, but they still crossed the line.
Loder ran a company preparing cars for heavy-duty off-road use that has become Delta 4×4. He held onto the little LJ80 as well and, in tribute to it, Delta 4×4 has launched a package of upgrades for the current Jimny.
The most obvious change to the Jimny is the higher ride height, courtesy of a 50mm lift kit. An extra 30mm can added, too. Wider wheelarches cover 8x16in Legacy alloys are wrapped in knobbly 285/75 R16 Mickey Thompson Baja STZ tyres.
Delta also offers the scuttle-mounted spotlight, plus a bespoke roofrack, pedestrian-friendly bullbar and two-ton winch.
For the car pictured here, you’re looking at around EUR 6,000 (£5,300) of upgrades. Add a rollcage and we’d happily line up at the start of the next Dakar Rally with it.
By Graham King