Short Samurai: 1972 Suzuki LJ20

For those who find the Suzuki Samurai to be a gluttonous beast, the 2-stroke twin powered JL20 is a Sammy for those with even narrower logging trails. Rather than spend a gazillion dollars on a side-by-side or Escalade-themed golf cart, find this 1972 Suzuki LJ20 for sale in Concord, NC for $2,800 via craigslist.

Getting an LJ20 into your garage (or warehouse) in the early 70’s was more like ordering hardware from McMaster than buying a car. Rather than being imported by Suzuki, these were distributed through a West Coast industrial supply company called Intercontinental Equipment Corporation. Perhaps if one ordered 9 fork trucks, 300 yards of pallet racks, and 6 break rooms full of vending machines, tacking an odd looking Japanese lunch hour rock crawler on to the purchase order would go unnoticed by The Bobs.

As opposed to the LJ10, the LJ20 harnessed the power of water to cool its 360cc of oil swilling twin cylinder power. Rather than taking a swag at mixing up your own brew of 2 stroke oil and gasoline, the LJ20 replaced estimation for engineering with an automatic oil distribution system that split oil delivery between the cylinders and crankcase at a 5:1 ratio.

The driver information center of the little ‘zuk shows one gauge for how slow you’re going and another for other vitals. Simple would be the operative word here, so much so that I’m surprised the wipers aren’t hand actuated. The North Carolina state inspection sticker is a guarantee that in September of ’87, the lights worked and the inspector liked it or was adequately bribed. It also gives some indication of past usage and validity to the assertion that this actually was marinating in a shed for 25 years. 

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Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.