08 Suzuki Mghty Boy 1988Some people remember where they were when they heard about Princess Di’s car crash. For others it was when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. Me, I remember exactly where I was when I saw my first Suzuki Mighty Boy.

I was walking through Double Bay, crossing Kiaora Road at New South Head Road when one rolled up to the red light. It got me laughing so hard I quite forgot how uncool it is to laugh uncontrollably in Double Bay. I went home and wrote a column for a now long defunct magazine called Motor Manual about how Suzuki was capitalising on the boom in farmlets at the time by developing the utelet. Yep, if you had just one hay bale to shift a Mighty Boy, that brave little you-beautlet, was just the thing. Provided the tailgate was down.

That was back in 1985 when the two-seater Mighty Boy with a four-speed manual gearbox, at $5795, had the honour of being the cheapest new car in Australia. This price was assisted by it being classified as a commercial vehicle, thus attracting lower taxes.

Its 543 cc three-cylinder motor developed a sturdy 21 kilowatts (a current Corolla gets 103), but given that it weighed just 560 kilograms the Mighty Boy actually kept up with the traffic climbing Heartbreak Hill pretty well. These days only around 400 of the 2800 that were imported are believed to still exist.

08 Mighty Boy brochureAh, rarity, which along with that certain, indefinable something turns an old car into a collectible. Rare it may be, but I’m just not sure the Mighty Boy has that certain, indefinable something although plenty of current owners seem to have their glass half full. On-line prices for old Mighty Boys range from $2000 to $8000, so some owners are asking more for second-hand examples than they cost new.

The acid test is, of course, an auction for enthusiasts, a specialty of the Shannons auction house and a Mighty Boy recently came up in a Shannons auction in Melbourne. This one’s engine and the optional two-speed auto gearbox were overhauled 30,000 km ago and it was tipped to fetch between $5000 and $8000. The hammer fell at $5600, within cooee of what it cost new.

Obviously someone places a high value on having a good laugh.

Published February 2018


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