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Suzuki Fronte 500 LC50

The Japanese ‘Kei Jidosha’ category (light vehicles) includes cars that in Japan enjoy tax relief and other advantages.

The system, which still exists today, was developed to promote popular motorization after the war. Once the maximum engine size had been raised from 150 to 360 cc in 1955, Kei cars became more respectable and more car manufacturers entered the market. Prior to 1967 Suzuki sold its Kei cars under the ‘Suzulight’ label. The model designation ‘Fronte’, introduced in 1962, was chosen to indicate that Suzuki was market leader in this category. The Fronte in the museum has a wavy hipline known as the Coke-bottle styling that was popular at the time.

Because regulations governing Kei cars only limit their size and say nothing about how they are equipped, some models are very luxuriously appointed, with four-wheel drive, air-conditioning and automatic transmission for example. There are even some Kei convertibles and commercial vehicles. Outside Japan there is no market for this vehicle category. Export models are often fitted with larger engines.

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