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Suzuki Fronde – Introducing
Suzuki Fronde is a way to draw attention to Suzuki’s century-long history. A half-century ago, the four-seater saloon was one of only 1000 of this model imported into Europe, with fewer than 300 sold in Belgium. N.V. Suzuki Belgium S.A. found an aging, three-cylinder, two-stroke, rear-engine Fronde LC50 and decided to nurture it back to its vigorous youth. Neglected for years, the engine no longer worked. Sections of the body were corroded. Replacement parts were challenging to find. But the team in Belgium knew they had a diamond in the rough.
First, they had to take the LC50 wholly apart and disassemble the engine. The pistons were stuck in the engine block, so they placed it in a tub of cola and, after a weekend of soaking, were able to pull the pistons free. Searching for replacement parts, the restorers had trouble locating a distributor’s head. Then, one day, a long-retired dealer tuned in to a T.V. program that included a segment on Suzuki Belgium’s restoration project.
He immediately called Suzuki and sold a distributor head he had in his possession. For parts that were not available, the team called on the famous Mahler factory in Germany for machine replacements. Despite some weak spots, after the body was sandblasted, repaired, and painted, everyone was impressed with the quality of the steel and how it had held up for over 50 years.
Earliest Successful Suzuki Fronde
Since 1990, the engine capacity of key cars has caped at 660cc and even power output and load capacity is restricted. This is mainly for tax and insurance purposes, which relates to the tightness of space in urban Japan. Lest you dismiss them as bores, not only are kea cars perfectly normal for Japanese drivers, but marketing forces have driven them to evolve their bits of charm, personality, and innovation. Some of the earliest successful cars in Japan were kepi cars, with the market and development led by Suzuki from the beginning. Most notably, Suzuki pioneered front-wheel-drive. The original 1962 Fronde so name as a reminder of its F.F.
The Designed and Production of the Suzuki Fronde
Suzuki drastically toned down the production design, but the two-box Coupe still looked rather rakish and GT-like, at least for critical care, with (relatively) long hood, and short deck proportions. The set-back cabin with the wheels pushed out to the corners gave the car an eager, playful look. The sporting theme backs up with the LC10W powertrain and the Coupe’s exclusively two-seat configuration. This, then, was one of the first, if not the first, enthusiast-focused essential car.
Per government regulations at the time, the LC10W displaced 356cc. With peak power at 37PS, it had a specific output of 103.9PS/L. The Fronde Coupe was roughly the size of the original Mini and weighed just over 1000 lbs. The prodigious engine power route through a four-speed manual transmission to the rear wheels. Enabling the Fronde Coupe to 60mph from a standstill in 23 seconds to a top speed of 78mph.
Handling was appropriately sporting. Independent suspension was found at all corners, with MacPherson struts up front and semi-trailing arms in the back.
Feature and Performances
Well, a two-seater was not quite the most sensible. Suzuki thus added a 2+2 version in 1972, ostensibly fit for families, designated with an “F” at the end of the trim level (for four seats). The back quarters were tight and suitable only for a parcel, small children, or occasional use. Nevertheless, the 2+2 models quickly dominated sales, and the two-seater version disappeared by 1973. Another notable upgrade was front disc brakes, which became available in 1972. The Coupe was otherwise a well-equipped micro-GT.
Performance of a Suzuki Fronde
The driver faced a full complement of gauges in six-round binnacles, almost reminiscent of a specific rear-engine German sports car. An 8-track player could have to bust some 70s tunes. And how about some brown vinyl seats with embossed logos? The driver gripped a wood-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob. The steering wheel even had a tilt. Various racy accessories were also prominently available as dealer options: a small-diameter steering wheel, JAF-spec roll cage, racing bucket seat, aero parts, and — this being the ’70s — louvers over the back glass. This thing had all the qualities of a desirable toy. How did one resist the temptation to deck one out, and redline it all over a tongue, while not breaking the law or bank?
However, as a niche product, the Fronde Coupe did last a good while. The original generation produces until 1976. By this time it became obsolete under the revised key jadish regulations. Its replacement arrived in 1977 as the Cuervo. A slightly enlarged Fronde Coupe with a 540cc engine.
Measuring just 3 meters long, 1.3-meter-wide and 2 meters between axles, it was nearly as small as a Mini, yet its wedge shape turned heads. It looked cute, but it also had a Porsche 911-style mechanical layout to excite the driver within its very confined performance envelope. Like the classic Porsche, its engine is at the tail and drives the rear wheels. Its 42:58 weight distribution was better than the Porsche, thanks to the small engine and the placing of the radiator, battery, and spare tire in the front compartment. The all-independent suspensions looked even classier than the original 911s, with double-wishbones upfront and semi-trailing arms at the back. Besides, its front disc brakes suppose to be on a sports car rather than a K-car.