Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the opportunity to buy another Kei car. (Well, I had to do something bloody spectacular after the Jeep’s premature demise, didn’t I?)
Kei cars beget more kei cars it would seem – I guess they think they’re so small they can get away with it. The impetus for this new arrival is the JDMny’s gearbox, the only part of the car showing any strain after 100,000+ miles and, of course, a JDM-specific component. I’d envisaged having the gearbox checked over (and most likely rebuilt) some time next year, swapping daily transport duties to my XJ Cherokee whilst the JDMny was off the road. Unfortunately the great Jeep Revival adventure hadn’t quite worked out as I’d hoped and it was time to take a second stab at “relieving” the little Suzuki.
My head was drawn towards a continuation of the 4WD theme, the stand-out leader in this category being a Subaru Forester – a slice of boxer engine rumble was (and remains) something cool to tick off the list – though disappointingly the examples in my price range seemed to be universally leggy and unloved. My heart, bizarrely, was captivated by a Suzuki Alto Works I couldn’t actually buy (don’t ask…) to the extent that I ended up with numerous kei-car-related saved searches running on eBay and stalked the KKITP forum’s For Sale section with RSS feeds. Kei car availability is always a bit of a lottery however and I rather glumly imagined that, come the new year, I’d be checking out base spec Foresters and trying to dodge a lemon. And then the Suzuki Wagon R RR Version-V* appeared.
When I saw the advert my overwhelming feeling was that this seemed like a genuinely sensible, head-over-heart option. Yes, I know, have a good chuckle, but also think of it this way: why would you take your chances with any one of a number of rough, unloved Foresters when a clean, cared for kei-car is staring you in the face? E-mails to previous owners confirmed just how much it had been loved since its arrival on UK shores only a few years ago – it had even been tucked away each winter to save it from the rain, snow and that point where local councils seem to go a bit grit-giddy and turn the roads white. When the very generous current owner even offered to drive it down from Edinburgh to deliver it I pretty much couldn’t say no, could I?
I’ve never felt quite so odd – almost numb – on the run up to buying a new car before, but then I’ve never bought one sight unseen from 300 miles away either. However, the moment it landed on the drive the excitement that I’d subconsciously been suppressing started to bubble up to the surface and by the time the owner had finished showing me some of the car’s most Japanese features I was totally smitten. Head over heart? Yeah right! I managed to contain my urge to leap into the air and click my heels until the (now previous) owner had disappeared back up the driveway and since then I’ve just got more and more excited about it. This is going to be good.
*Yes, that really is it’s full model name 😀