Friday, December 30, 2016

Hot rodding a Suzuki Jimney

The Hasegawa kit of the Suzuki Jimney is a curbside model of a cute little 4X4. Powered by a 660 cc motor (probably a triple), it is likely frugal if not overly quick, and the whole package probably fits within the definition of the Japanese kei class. The chassis is well detailed in this kit, but the lack of underhood detail is frustrating. Finally the hood is easily cut off using a jeweler's saw, so I went ahead and performed the amputation to open up the underhood area.

The obvious approach, of shoving in a V8, is, well, a little too obvious. I decided to build up a blown 4-cylinder, which will likely be a lot more realistic in terms of fit.

So next was to locate a 4-cylinder. The only one I could find in the stash, apart from the 1.8 in the AMT Scirocco, is the standard 1.9 OHC unit from the Opel GT. As a bonus, the Opel can still be built with the optional V6.

The blower, which was originally going to go on the left side where it would fit through a pre-existing hole in the hood, is enormous and came from a bag full of remnants of the old Revell parts packs, probably the Ford 427. The blower was eventually relocated to the right side and the exhaust to the left, in order to avoid interference between the exhaust and the driveshaft from the transfer case to the forward axle. The right side is busy enough, with alternator and starter motor already in place.

The exhaust will be a modified left-side exhaust manifold taken from the 390 in the AMT Ford Starliner kit. As I have three of these, of which only one is built, losing a manifold should not be a major issue, although I admit I can't find the third engine. (The manifold is not installed in the picture below, but the holes drilled to take it can be seen).

Note the stock Opel unit has inlet and exhaust on the right, so this installation assumes a new cross-flow head.

So it all mocks up reasonably well at this point. There may even be room for a radiator. Next: finalise the exhaust manifold, drill plug holes and wire up the distributor.

Building stuff strictly box-stock is fun but creating specialised stuff is also fun. This will sit nicely next to my Suzuki Samurai with the twin-turbo V6 and AWD drivetrain from the Dodge Stealth shoe-horned into the back seat. I probably cut up half a dozen copies of the Stealth ... it was a great donor kit and is sadly missed -- I have previously posted pictures of a couple of Ford 3-window coupes with mid-engine V6 power taken from the Stealth.

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