The Suzuki SA-310 Swift Memorial Page

Holiday Snaps

 

Alas, I never was much of a photographer and so I only have a few snapshots of my own Swift. A full 80% of pictures of the car date from after her total-loss accident in 1998 - not pictures that show her in the way I'd like to remember her... anyway. Here's the Little Swift on the Ukranian/Hungarian border in 1991, and on the steps of the Berlin Reichstag in 1986 (I made a sport of "guerilla parking" my Swift at prestigious or historical places for a while, driving off just in time to avoid trouble):

A thank-you to the best car in the world

The original Suzuki Swift was a great little car. Initially named the SA310, Suzuki only came up with the name Swift some months after its introduction in 1985. Mine was red - Suzuki Happy Red to be precise.

It was an amazingly effective little car. A three-cylindre engine was sufficient to make it fun to drive, despite it being the most economical car available at the time. It drove like a go-cart: direct, precise and with a minimum of comfort. Somehow Suzuki got it right, though: the car was a better drive than any other sub-subcompact.

Although the Swift has a rather average performance in real term, being so small and close to the road even normal speeds become exhilarating. In fact, the small engine could be driven flat-out without anyone else noticing your sporty driving ambitions. That made every trip a discrete sort of racing experience...

The best thing about this car, however, was not its go-kart sporty feel but the fact that it never broke down. In fact, I had mine for 12 years and only had it serviced three times. After the Berlin Wall fell, I made many trips through Central and Eastern Europe and I started to appreciate the sturdy build of the car, driving up mountain roads in the middle of the winter, on fuel that any other Western car choked on. The only time the car let me down was at 200,000 kilometers and 300 meters, when she all of a sudden came to a full stop on the motorway, just as I was loudly praising her reliability. In the end, it turned out that she had simply run out of fuel... as I could have known.

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