1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap Isn’t Your Typical Off-Road Toy

One of the greatest off-roaders from the 1980s, the second-generation Jimny arrived in the United States under a different name for the 1986 model year. The Samurai came with a carbureted overhead-cam engine, a 1.3-liter with 63 horsepower and 74 pound-feet (100 Nm) of torque.
1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap 8 photos
Photo: Craigslist
1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap1986 Suzuki Samurai With Dodge 440 Swap
Even though it’s light, the body-on-frame Samurai wasn’t built for straight-line speed. The quarter-mile pass takes in the ballpark of 20 seconds, and hitting 60 miles per hour (96 kilometers per hour) in the high 16-second region isn’t exactly thrilling either. On the upside, Suzuki offered manual-locking front hubs as standard and auto-lockers as a dealer-installed option.

The unconventional appearance, relative simplicity, $6,550 starting price, and “beep, beep, hi!” commercials made the Samurai a commercial hit in the first years of production. Come 1988, Consumer Reports gave the pocket-sized SUV an unacceptable rating over an alleged tendency of rollover accidents, drying up sales literally overnight. Suzuki sued Consumers Union over the manipulated rating in 1996, the two parties settled out of court in 2004, but the damage was already done. Lest we forget, Suzuki left the U.S. in 2012.

Available to purchase on the cheap in this day and age, the Samurai is both a classic and a toy depending on who you ask. This particular example, a 1986 model, finds itself in the latter category thanks to a Dodge 440 swap.

“This Sammy was built by the guys at Hot Rod Garage,” reads the Craigslist listing, which also mentions a “Chrysler A727 automatic transmission, new wheels, and new tires." "Pretty wild and ready for a new home,” the one-of-none mashup is offered with a clean title in Oceanside, San Diego County.

The seller doesn’t mention what kind of Chrysler RB engine we’re dealing with, but the only underhood picture reveals dirty valve covers and an Edelbrock chrome-finish air cleaner. The 7.2-liter leviathan, produced from 1965 through 1978, should definitely develop more than 300 horsepower.

At the time of writing, the V8-engined Samurai has an asking price of $2,900.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories