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Suzuki CV-1

This cute little car caused an amendment of the law in Japan.

In mid-1970s Japan, the demand grew for an ultra-economical motorcar; it had to be as small as possible, easy to handle, light in weight and keenly priced. The Suzuki CV-1 (Community Vehicle) with its 50 cc engine, automatic gearbox, composite bodywork weighing only 145 kg and a length of 1.9m satisfied all the criteria. The car was launched in 1981.

As the CV-1 could be driven with a moped licence, many mopeds and light motorcycles were converted to three- and four-wheelers and sold predominantly to older people. The number of such vehicles grew rapidly, which in 1984 led to a change of the Japanese traffic laws. The laws were tightened and a car driver’s licence became compulsory for these vehicles.

The CV-1 was on sale from 1985 but in the meantime the market had moved on and demand for cars such as this had lessened. Only a few hundred were sold.

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