Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lick A Beater: 1991 Suzuki Swift GTi

Nothing beats a good craigslist ad that ends with: Yeah you'll prolly wanna fix some stuff, but for $999.99 it can be yours!!! LOL. LOL?  Really?  Some people will be LOLing when you roll up in vintage Suzuki Swift GTi, but they aren't gonna scoff when you tell them what you paid for one of the cooler forgotten hatchbacks from the 90s.  Find this 1991 Suzuki Swift GTi offered for $999 in San Juan Batista, CA via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.

The 2nd generation Suzuki Cultus (Latin for the word "care" or "adoration"...ha!) was a little economy car that was sold by the buckets around the world as the Suzuki Cultus / Esteem / Swift / Amenity / Forsa II / Gazelle / Antelope / Margalla, Geo Metro, Pontiac Firefly, Holden Barina, Chevrolet Swift / Sprint, Subaru Justy -- honestly I'm surprised there wasn't a Mercedes version for some oddball market.

The screaming noises under the hood come courtesy of a 1.3 liter DOHC 16-valve Suzuki G13B 4-banger that puts out 100 horsepower at lofty 6800 rpm. This is the kind of old school small displacement hot-hatch engine that loves being bounced off the rev limiter repeatedly.

The only one of these cars we can think of that would be better than a sub-$1k GTi is the CBR1000R-powered Geo Metro Gnome, but the story of that car is better left for a future Daily Turismo Radio podcast. Vendler, are you reading this?

See another car that comes with free underpants in the driver's seat? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. You had me at hood pins.

  2. Love the ad and the honesty but I think if you buy this one you'd better plan on buying a parts Swift/Metro/whatever too.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  3. Are you like me and your fashion statement comes from the clearance rack at Walmart? Do you request multiple baskets of bread when you go out to an Italian restaurant so that you can spread out the main course leftovers for the rest of the week? If so, then you’re drawn to the cheapest cars that give you the most bang for your buck, figuratively speaking.

    I’ve always loved these little runabouts and it’s interesting to reflect a bit on this not-so-terribly-Swift GT (GTi, thank you VW). Removing the fun factor from the equation, this was and is a car that existed on the extreme bottom end of the scale, even in this hot-rod variant.

    Or was it? And how does it compare today?

    Let’s just set aside the whole issue of driving enjoyment for the moment and look at what somebody in this price range would be most interested in; price. In 1990, the base MSRP on the GT was $9,399. That included a third-world country, el cheapo interior…and not much else. Well, that’s not entirely true; you got electric mirrors, a rear window heater and a cassette radio for the money. Air conditioning set you back an additional 665 clams, so you were really looking at a $10,064 price tag.

    For the money, you got a tiny hatchback with a zippy engine and a mild body kit that could go 0-60 in 9.5 seconds and got 29/36 mpg. Not too shabby but not particularly anything to write home about, either.

    Fast forward to today, 25 years later. Bargain basement car hunters target the lowest hanging (and priced) fruit and one of the big (little?) names that rises up to the surface of that questionably smelling soup is the Nissan Versa. In 1.6 S trim, with a manual transmission, the sedan has a base MSRP of only $12,815; whip out your solar-powered abacus and realize that’s just $2,751 more than the GT (somebody can figure out the inflation, but not me). With the Versa, you get four doors with a comparatively huge and luxurious (such as it is) interior, a/c, a CD radio and even Bluetooth (see a dentist immediately about that). S&M fanatics will be pleased to know that you will still need to roll up your own windows, the 0-60 racket will take you 9.8 seconds and you’ll get somewhere in the neighborhood of 27/36 mpg. The option list makes the GT blush with envy.

    Progress or regression; you decide. For me, if I see somebody driving a Swift GT these days I ponder, “I wonder how many of those are left?” and if I see somebody else piloting a brand-new Versa, my brow furrows and I think, “Never heard of buying used?”

    More useless meandering from yours truly; join the revolution – join the K2MC Club of Motoring Miscreants! Send in your membership of only $666 and get your secret decoder ring/bottle opener, care of the DT headquarters, today!

    1. Better than a VIN report!


  4. 10,064 1990 dollars is equivalent to 18,740 dollars today.

  5. No other car had Recaro bucket seats from the factory. My 89 GTI smoked a lot of Geo storms and Honda crx's that cost more.and it's 0-60 was 8 something, same as a Porsche 944 for 20k less.

  6. Funny, this was my car and CL posting.


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