Automotive History

Special Kei

April 6, 2011

Petrol prices are rapidly approaching NZ$2.50 a litre for the “good stuff” (read: 98 octane) and public consciousness is once again turning towards small fuel efficient vehicles as a form of personal transport. While I still love my daily driven supercharged AW11 MR2 and wouldn’t give it up for a newer car in any great hurry, I’ve warmed to the idea of importing an ’80s kei car to take over everyday duties if the MR2 ever gets sold. But no way an hell am I gonna settle for something with less power than a wet fart, so I did some interwebs trawling and came up with this:

Presenting the CC72A Suzuki Alto Works RS-R.

550cc of fury.

Publications all over the globe have spent years waxing lyrical about the kei car phenomenon, and the Japanese penchant for shoehorning the latest technology of the time into the most compact and mundane of things really shines through here. Where else in the world could you find Grandmama’s Little Shopping Cart with a twin cam, turbocharged, injected, intercooled 3-cylinder engine with full-time 4WD? Even better when you consider this was all the way back in 1987.

If you haven’t already read Autospeed’s 2004 writeup on the Alto Works, I suggest you go read it post haste. And then go watch some of the nutty Japanese videos on youtube. Those 3 cylinder engines sound AWESOME!

And if forums all over the web are to be believed, you can get 100kW out of the damn things with a bit of effort.

Though I’d have one without the hot pink interior, thanks.

It’s the last Friday picture post.  Take it all in before we roll onto the Saturday snaps.


This simplistic NASCAR sat in the infield.
Not much from the rear either.
English? This could only be attached to one thing then…


This shit is never-ending and we haven’t even got around to Saturday yet. I am almost glad for all of our sake that I had to work on the Sunday and so didn’t make it to event then, otherwise I would probably have several months of photographs to have to go through. I’ve already skipped a million of the damn things. I digress, photographs of motor-sport is what we’re here for so let’s get this show on the road!

Russell Cunningham's S30Z

Gorgeous set of Triplets.




As you can imagine at a Classic meeting, the fields are often littered with replicas of famous cars, the surprising part is that there is a genuinely large amount of the genuine article also.  This 510 is exactly that, from the GT2 class in the states an ex-Valley Datsun racer, beautifully presented by the Brown family of Timaru, a well known and respected family of Datsun enthusiasts.



The details of some of the other attending vehicles…


Boot lid of one of the most beautiful cars ever.
Powerplant of the ever popular Ford Escort