Spotted for Sale: 1989 Suzuki Swift / Cultus GTI - A pocket rocket in the truest sense
This is another interesting car that has recently been put for sale recently over at mudah.my, the favourite place for Yours Truly to trawl the want ads and dream a little. This is a gem of a car, the original Suzuki Swift GTI. Also known as the Suzuki Cultus GTI (as it is called in Japan), it is one of those cars that garnered a reputation for those of us who started dabbling with cars from the mid-1980s and throughout the 1990s.
In those days, circa 1992-1995, when most of us were running around in our modified Proton Saga (the Wira just came on the scene), Honda Civic VTEC SiRs and Si series from the 1980s up till the then latest EG series models as well as the Mazda/Ford Familia Turbos. These were the cars that most of us were playing with at the point of time. Suzuki had a minor presence in Malaysia and their car line-up consisted of the Jimny and the 1.0liter Swift. But as usual, there were the private imports. And some brought in the Swift Cultus GTI. A veritable pocket rocket compared to the totally dull and boring, not so swift, Swift 1.0. I know it wasn't that swift because I was in college at the time and a course mate had one. It was actually the opposite of swift. My old at the time 1981 Honda Civic 1.3 SA series hatchback was miles faster. But Suzuki had a GTI version of it - the Suzuki Swift GTI or Cultus GTI.
Anyway, the higher powered Cultus/Swift GTi had an improved 1.3liter G13B engine. Now whilst it did not have variable valve timing and other Japanese witchdoctor magic thrown into it like a Honda VTEC, it was (in the 1990s) a technological marvel of small engine engineering. The engine featured hollow camshafts (for reduced intertia), stronger web casting on the engine block (for a very high compression cylinder head to be fitted), a better flowing intake manifold (the prior generation intake manifold had its shape compromised to fit into the engine bay), and its ECU now had electronic control over ignition timing. It was still a tuning marvel. Normally aspirated tuning straight from the factory. It produced approximately 100 hp (113hp according to JDM spec minus the catalytic convertor) at 6500 rpm / 112Nm at 5000 rpm. Redline is set at a high 7400-7600 rpm . The GTi also featured all wheel disc brakes.
You may think that 100hp/113hp is nothing much. But the darn thing weighed 810kg unladen. 810kg. That's lighter than even the lightest urban roundabout these days. This gave the Swift Cultus GTI a power to weight ratio of a minimum of 140hp per ton. This meant the GTI could easily hit the Japanese speed limited of 180kmh and have a 0-100kmh time in the high 7secs. It was fast at the time. The Honda Civic SiR EG6 model had about the same 0-100kmh time. So this car was on par with the boy racer chaps who ran the VTEC Civics at the time.
I remember seeing one being belted through the old road from Pusat Bandar Damansara to Taman Tun Dr Ismail just prior to the construction work of the SPRINT highway. It was so fast and nimble through the sweeping corners and damn, it was fast. And did I mention it was nimble? It danced through the corners. It was a sight to behold. A small two door hatch, narrower than a Civic EG at the time dancing for me to see. For something from the early 1990s, it was fast. And a cult car to have.
So we now have one on sale. Here is the link as well as it being posted below (as it will eventually be removed). Another JDM classic to get your hands on, folks.