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Old 7th June 2009, 15:55   #1
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Default A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!

I was just reading this month's top gear and was quite overwhelmed by the rich heritage of the Suzuki Alto. (nee ss40, 800, zen, esteem, alto AND a-star: all are peas of the same pod)



May, 1967 saw the introduction of the Suzuki Fronte 360 2-door sedan with the engine at the rear. The wheelbase was down to 196 cm, the suspension independent with coil springs and the engine a 356 cc 3-cylinder air-cooled 2-cycle, placed transversely. Its overall shape had a roundish profile, nicknamed 'Daruma', a Japanese roly-poly doll, and this is the smallest (and only Kei) car which used the cola-bottle shape, that became popular in the USA for the 1965 model year. In November, 1968 came the Suzuki Fronte SS 360 with 36 HP, with the Suzuki Fronte SSS to follow in April, 1970. In the export there was also a Suzuki Fronte 500 with the engine enlarged to 475 cc since January, 1969.
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Also in March, 1969 as a successor to the Suzulight Van arrived the Suzuki Fronte Van 2-door wagon with a conventional drivetrain lay-out (engine in front, rear wheel drive), with a rear rigid axle with leaf springs and a wheelbase of 199.5 cm. The engine was the air-cooled 3-cylinder 2-cycle 356 cc. By July, 1969 a less commercial version arrived as Suzuki Fronte Estate possibly to give the car buyer a model with more luggage room without having to buy a commercial version. In June, 1970 this model was succeeded by the Suzuki Fronte Custom with the same wagon body style but without a rear hatch, there was a bottom-hinged trunk lid only, possibly to please the customer (who found too few luggage room in the rear-engined Fronte) in disguising the fact that actually a wagon (not popular in those days) was involved. This might be the only wagon ever with a fixed back window; this model was deleted in 1971 (after the addition of a more luxury version, called the Fronte Hi-Custom in August, 1970). Also in June, 1970 became available a wagon with a 2-piece tailgate, next to the top-hinged one-piece version. By the 1973 model year the engine in the Suzuki Fronte Van became a 2-cylinder 2-cycle water-cooled 359 cc.
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Here's a pictorial on how the model evolved from the late 70's, till date.


Still with rear engine came in November, 1970 the second generation Suzuki Fronte 71 2-door sedan with a wheelbase of 201 cm. Suspension remained the same, by May, 1971 there was also a water-cooled version of the engine. Again there were SS, SSS and SSSR versions with the 36 HP engine. By November 1971, the cars were called Suzuki Fronte 72. Based on this vehicle came in September, 1971 the Giugiaro-designed Suzuki Fronte Coupe 2-door to be had with the water-cooled engine only. This car would be deleted in 1976 and was resurrected in revised form in October, 1977 (see Suzuki Cervo). In the export there was the Suzuki Fronte 500 with 475 cc engine, also known as Suzuki LC50. The coupe was named Suzuki LC10 in the export.


In April, 1973 as a successor to the Suzuki Fronte Van came the Suzuki Fronte Hatch with the same drivetrain lay-out and engine, now with a wheelbase of 200.5 cm. The Fronte name would disappear from the vehicle by December, 1974. In the export the vehicle was known as Suzuki LS30, by 1976 Suzuki LS20 with rear side window panels. In July, 1976 the length was extended to 319 cm and the wheelbase to 210 cm with the front end after the axle being enlarged by using the grown 539 cc engine with an extra third cylinder. This vehicle was named Suzuki Fronte Hatch 55 and would be succeeded in 1979 by the Suzuki Alto.

The 1st generation (SS40) was a 3-door version of the 4-door Fronte. The Alto used a 543-cc 3-cylinder engine producing 28 hp (21 kW). In addition to the Alto and Fronte, a 3-door coupé (Cervo) and a 2-door pick-up (MightyBoy) were also available.
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto_1982_crete_with_subaru_competitor_i.jpg
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The 2nd generation (CA71/72) was introduced in 1984. It continued with the SS40's engine, but was also available with turbocharged and multi-valve engines. A 5-door body (identical to the Fronte's) became available in 1985. A Cervo on the SS71 base was introduced in 1988, with a new 547-cc engine.
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto.jpg
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto_front_20080116.jpg

The 3rd generation (CL11/21/22) replaced the CA71 in 1988. It had strikingly angular styling, with an unusual glazed C-pillar on the 5-door. Initially it used the SS71 Cervo's engine, but when the kei-car standards were changed in 1990 the capacity was increased to 657 cc. This was the last generation of Alto to have an associated Fronte model. An unusual feature of this generation was the availability of a version with sliding doors, the Slide Slim, intended to make it easier to enter and exit in tight spaces. Suzuki also produced a version (the Hustle) with a high roof behind the front seats, which was unusual in that it used a modification of the Alto's body rather than a completely new body; this made it possible to link the Hustle with the Alto, but made the styling rather unharmonious. Its appearance was similar to the Nissan AD Max van
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto_hustle_002.jpg
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The 4th generation (HA11) appeared in 1994. The 657-cc engines were joined by a new high-performance 658-cc. The styling displays an interesting blend of features: the tailgate and rear doors are still fairly angular, but the front is beginning to be more rounded - a trend which would be continued in later years.
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto_works_001.jpg

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The 5th generation Alto (HA12/22) was introduced in 1998 (the one running on our roads, presently AS the Alto) The styling was generally more rounded, the shape of the cabin showing the Alto's relationship with the new Kei. The 658-cc engine was produced in a version without a turbocharger, joining the turbocharged version and the 657-cc engines. Several derivatives were produced from this generation. Suzuki produced two "classic-style" versions: the Alto C with a deep chrome grille and a curious headlamp arrangement by which circular main lamps were joined with ovoid sidelights and indicators, which was shared with the Alto Works; and the Alto C2 which had separate headlamps and sidelights and a wider grille. Mazda also sold the standard Alto as the Carol, and Mitsuoka used the Carol as a basis for their Ray.
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto_003.jpg
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzy.jpg


The 6th generation (HA24) was introduced in 2004. The bonnet and headlamps curved down at the front, giving a similar effect to the Toyota WiLL Vi or the Citroen C2. The Alto was re-aligned within the range to accommodate new models such as the Cervo and Alto Lapin. In Japan, this version of the Alto was rebadged as the Nissan Pino and the Mazda Carol.
A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-6th_suzuki_alto.jpg

Seventh Gen Alto is our very own A-Star!
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A Pictorial- The Legendary Suzuki Alto: : Different Versions all over the world!-suzuki_alto_2008_001.jpg


Inspired by Top Gear, and information from Wikipedia (some of which was wrong, so edited it here)


PLEASE feel free to add as much information as you possibly can. I'd love to peek into the history of the Alto as much as I possibly can!

Last edited by Rehaan : 7th June 2009 at 16:55. Reason: Check out the "remove formatting" button "Ax" on the top left. It is a one-click solution, but may remove bold & italics too!
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Old 7th June 2009, 16:12   #2
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Thanks for the Info Frank. A very nice pictorial . Whew, never knew ALTO had such a lengthy history! Truly a legend. The second generation alto was available with a turbo charged engine ??


Edited and Added some more info?? Thanks. Frank, can you mention the source of these pics please?

Last edited by mnhegde : 7th June 2009 at 16:28.
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Old 7th June 2009, 16:18   #3
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edited a lot of times. please RE-READ. lots of nostalgia :-)
almost everyone in my generation owned this car (mostly as their FIRST car!)


ps: this car is also sold as the Suzuki Mehran in Pakistan. Didn't upload many of those photos, since it looks almost the same as our Alto generations!

Last edited by frankmehta : 7th June 2009 at 16:21.
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Old 11th June 2009, 19:48   #4
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Great work frankmehta on the Alto lineage, did not know that it went so deep. However can you throw some light, that what are the aspects of a car which would tell you that generation X has evoved from Y, or are of the same versions chassis? engine? or what. I guess all versions of ami and fiats will look the same .
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Old 11th June 2009, 20:02   #5
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Good compilation Frank!

Here are pictures of a 3 door 660cc, Turbo Alto ( Cervo) in early 1990s.
Quite similar to our Zen. I love that bumper design & lights, looks marvelous.
Attached Images
  

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Old 11th June 2009, 20:20   #6
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Fantastic Post Frank

Just a little correction the Esteem or the M1000 was Suzuki Swift back then in US & other markets

Btw I have my doubt about the 3rd generation Alto, the two pictures posted are quite different from each other.
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Old 11th June 2009, 20:23   #7
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Amazing post! One for the collections, indeed!
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Old 11th June 2009, 20:31   #8
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thanks guys, that's the least I could do to highlight the lineage of the Alto, which has been setting sales charts on fire ever since its inception!
i got these pictures from various sites.. dont remember now.
but yea, the 3rd gen alto came in a variety of body styles. hence they look different..
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Old 11th June 2009, 20:59   #9
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Some more version of Alto:

1. 2009 Alto lapin
2. A version launched for Japan only - (Edit- pic already posted by Frankmehta, but with a different grille)
3. Alto in Pakistan - See the protuding back lights
Attached Images
   

Last edited by breezydrive : 11th June 2009 at 21:10. Reason: For Pic 2
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Old 11th June 2009, 22:31   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankmehta View Post
Inspired by Top Gear, and information from Wikipedia (some of which was wrong, so edited it here)

Ah. Was wondering why I was getting a sense of deja vu. You can always edit the wikipedia yourselves.
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Old 11th June 2009, 22:59   #11
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Wow...i had no idea the diminutive alto had such a great history behind it..And it seems we indians were spared the hideous looking models.As far as i can see, all the good lookers have been indroduced in India and the wierd liiking altos were not!!
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Old 11th June 2009, 23:48   #12
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In some countries, the Maruti 800 is known as 'Suzuki Maruti'.
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Old 12th June 2009, 00:17   #13
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Excellent post Frank. The 800 / Alto will always remain the car that brought mobility to the masses, at least in India. Casually affordable and superbly reliable, these little Suzuki definitely deserve to be studied more so that future manufacturers can learn how to package a car according to the customers needs.
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Old 12th June 2009, 02:03   #14
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an alto from Netherlands.(probably) this thing is special as i have learnt driving in its indian sibling.
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even people use it as a rally car.


source-wikipedia, dilantha.com
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Old 12th June 2009, 02:13   #15
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In Pakistan ,it is alto and "mehran"(800) and omni is IIRC "bolan"
thanks for the info.
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