1985 was the year that the 1986 model year Samurai was released in America, and it was an instant hit. It started at $6200 and a fully loaded Samurai was $7500. Starting with a mere 1,200 trucks imported per month, sales increased to 8000 vehicles per month and Suzuki quickly found themselves with 47,000 Samurais sold by the end of their first year and 150,000 in three years. Not only was it the top-selling convertible in the United States, but it also captured the best first-year sales record of any Japanese car company.
The Samurai had a 1.3 liter, 63 hp, 4-cylinder engine and was available as a convertible or a hardtop. The slow-selling hardtop was dropped after 1989, leaving only the convertible, in a single price level.
The Suzuki Samurai became intensely popular within the serious 4wd community for its extreme off road performance and reliability compared to other 4wds of the time. It is also considered a great beginner 4wd due to its simple design and ease of modifications with engine swaps and suspension upgrades.
Credit: zuki offroad