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The Suzuki Fronte 360 was a 2-door sedan produced by Suzuki and introduced in March 1967. The wheelbase was 196 centimetres (77.2 in), the suspension independent with coil springs and the engine a 356 cc 3-cylinder air-cooled 2-cycle, placed transversely. Its overall shape had a roundish profile, nicknamed 'Daruma', a Japanese roly-poly doll, and this is the smallest (and only Kei car) car which used the cola-bottle shape, that became popular in the United States for the 1965 model year. In November, 1968 came the Suzuki Fronte SS 360 with 36 hp (27 kW), with the Suzuki Fronte SSS to follow in April, 1970. In the export there was also a Suzuki Fronte 500 with the engine enlarged to 475 cc since January, 1969.
1969 saw as a successor to the Suzulight Van arrived the Suzuki Fronte Van 2-door wagon with a conventional drivetrain lay-out (engine in front, rear wheel drive), with a rear rigid axle with leaf springs and a wheelbase of 199.5 centimetres (78.5 in). The engine was the air-cooled 3-cylinder 2-cycle 356 cc. By July, 1969 a less commercial version arrived as Suzuki Fronte Estate possibly to give the car buyer a model with more luggage room without having to buy a commercial version. In June, 1970 this model was succeeded by the Suzuki Fronte Custom with the same wagon body style but without a rear hatch, there was a trunk lid only, possibly to please the customer (who found too few luggage room in the rear-engined Fronte) in disguising the fact that actually a wagon (not popular in those days) was involved. This might be the only wagon ever without a bottom to top back opening; this model was deleted in 1971 (after the addition of a more luxury version, called the Fronte Hi-Custom). By the 1973 model year the engine in the Suzuki Fronte Van became a 2-cylinder 2-cycle water-cooled 359 cc.
In 1970, the second generation Suzuki Fronte 71 2-door sedan with a wheelbase of 201 cm was introduced. The suspension remained the same and there was also a water-cooled version of the engine. Again there were SS, SSS and SSSR versions with the 36 hp (27 kW) engine. By November 1971, the cars were called Suzuki Fronte 72. In September 1971, the Giugiaro-designed Suzuki Fronte Coupe 2-door was introduced. This car would be deleted in 1976 and was resurrected in revised form in October 1977 (also known as Suzuki Cervo). As an export, there was the Suzuki Fronte 500 with 475 cc engine, also known as Suzuki LC50. The coupe was named Suzuki LC10 in some export markets.
In April 1973, a successor to the Suzuki Fronte Van was introduced. The Fronte name would disappear from the vehicle by February 1975. Export vehicles were known as Suzuki LS30 and by 1976 Suzuki LS20 had a rear side window panels. In July, 1976 the length was extended to 319 centimetres (125.6 in) and the wheelbase to 210 centimetres (82.7 in) with the front end after the axle being enlarged by using the grown 539 cc engine with an extra third cylinder. This vehicle was named Suzuki Fronte Hatch 55 and would be succeeded in 1979 by the Suzuki Alto.
In 1979 the fronte was replaced by the Alto.
See Autopedia's comprehensive Suzuki Fronte Review.
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