Suzuki closed its U.S. car operations in 2012, so any Suzuki car is rare. However, we have found the rarest Suzuki of them all, a 1993 Suzuki Cara which has just been imported from Japan and has a U.S. title.
Only 531 of these micro sports cars have ever been made, and this is one of them. It has got gullwing doors, a set of 15-inch gold TE37 replica wheels, and looks like a toy. Yet the Suzuki Cara is a very real sports car from the 1990s, which Suzuki developed with Mazda.
This means the Suzuki Cara is 3 times more rare than a Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato. You are never going to see anything like this at a car meet.
The body of the Cara is basically identical to that of its twin brother, the Autozam AZ-1. That means it looks like a Lancia Stratos with gullwing doors. It’s also got a Subaru WRC-like look thanks to the blue paint and gold TE37 replica wheels.
The Lancia look is perhaps not a coincidence. Mazda split its cars into five brands at the end of the 1980s, creating Autozam, Eunos, Efini, and Autorama. Autozam sold rebadged Lancia models like the Delta and Thema, as well as rebadged Suzuki kei cars.
It was actually Suzuki who came up with the crazy idea of a mid-engined sports car, showing the RS1 and RS3 concepts in the 1980s. The idea was abandoned in favor of front-engined Cappuccino, which was much more commercially successful than the Autozam.
Kei Sport Car History
You probably already know what a kei car is, this tiny class of Japanese cars that are restricted in body size and engine displacement. But you probably don’t know why they exist. In 1949, 4 years after the end of the war, the Japanese government created the kei jidosha class, roughly translated as “light car.”
They were much cheaper to tax and drive, so demand for kei cars blew up. Manufacturers developed every body style imaginable, including vans, pickups, and sedans. Sports kei cars only really became a thing in the 1990s with the introduction of the 1991 Honda Beat and the Suzuki Cappuccino.
Like the Autozam, the Cara had to comply with kei car rules at the time, which meant the engine couldn’t be bigger than 660cc, it couldn’t be longer than 134 inches and the body needed to be less than 58 inches wide. The Suzuki’s little 657cc turbocharged 3-cylinder engine is a little 9000rpm screamer, producing 63 horsepower and 63 lb-ft of torque. This one has been modified with a blow-off valve and an oil catch can.
So what is a Suzuki Cara worth? We could only find records of one such car ever selling in the United States, and it went for $17,500 back in 2020. This example is listed on Cars & Bids and has a lot of miles on the clock (176,600 km or 109,734 miles), but we think it’s worth at least that much, considering the kei car market is crazy right now.