Late one Friday night I stumbled across a Classified ad which left me wide-eyed, sweaty-palmed and unable to sleep; 3 days later I owned another Suzuki Jimny. This will take some explaining…

A few years ago, having decided to equip myself with a small 4×4, I began some basic research with a quick trip to Wikipedia. Wiki’s information on the current Jimny was helpful enough but if anything it was the previous models – and their JDM-only roots – that really caught my eye. Much Googling and YouTube-ing ensued, and I became totally besotted with the stark functionality of the early LJ & SJ two-strokes (the best noise a Jimny will ever make?), the je ne sais quoi of the JAs over the export SJ410s, and how that JDM lineage seemed to ooze out of the current JB23s – not to mention the added fascination of the 23 sharing the same basic engine as my Cappuccino). Alas, good examples of all of these were thousands of miles away in Japan. Or so I thought…

Just over a year ago a new thread appeared on Big Jimny‘s “My Jimny” sub-forum entitled “Jimny JB23W 660”. Someone had actually imported a JB23 to the UK! To say I was somewhat excited – especially given that this was a car I was only ever going to see in photographs – would be an understatement. I suppose what was so thrilling was that it proved it could be done, that you could own a JB23 in the UK, though frequent visits to Goo-net continued to show it wasn’t particularly easy, or cheap. It was another innocuous thread on Big Jimny which caused the genuine panic mentioned at the beginning of this post. The very same JB23 I’d seen before was now up for sale, part of some planned downsizing on the seller’s part and very much a reluctant sale. Knowing that this was quite possibly my only chance to own a JDM Jimny I managed to wait all of about 10 minutes – the time it took for my brain to stop fizzing – before getting in touch to find out more and arrange a viewing.

The process of purchasing the car over next few days was an absolute joy, at times almost surreal in it’s serendipity. The gentleman selling the Jimny was a great guy and a real Suzuki enthusiast – as if that wasn’t enough, when it transpired that he also owned a 4WD Suzuki Carry (second only to a JB23 in the JDM lust stakes!) and a Choinori scooter I was almost giddy with excitement! I don’t think buying a car will ever be such a pleasant experience again…

It’s early days but first impressions of the “new” Jimny are wholly positive. The slightly different gearing and turbocharged engine help it feel a lot much punchy, with the latter also imbuing the JB23 with the sense of “theatre” I thought was lacking in my UK Jimny. Insurance costs are down, the VED is lower and – fingers crossed – I might be able to beat the UK Jimny’s MPG figures too! Of course, there’s not much point owning two Jimnys and so my “old” JB43 will be put up for sale very soon. If it weren’t for how well I was treated by this first Jimny, especially during our last hard winter, my interest in the JDM Jimnys would’ve quickly waned I’m sure. I do feel a bit guilty for moving such a faultless car on – it really has done very little wrong in the time I’ve owned it – but I feel better knowing that it’s legacy is such that it can only be replaced by another Jimny!