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1995 Suzuki UT-1

The 1995 Suzuki UT-1 stands for Utility Transport Type 1. The little one-liter car is proportioned like the tractor part of a big rig: short wheelbase, upright, and short cab in front of a stumpy multi-use platform at the rear. Like a big rig, you could tow an articulated trailer from that rear deck, which Suzuki showed at the Tokyo Auto Show, but there was so much more to this weirdly logical little modular workhorse. The front end's styling was big rig-inspired, too, with a tall, vertical grille and stacked light units.

There was also a full rear hatchback module that included rear seating to make a full four-passenger hatchback. The cab's rear had a "detachable rear canopy," so you could talk to the people in the back seat when in hatchback mode. You could place a cargo box on the rear deck for storage if you just wanted a two-passenger weekend getaway car with plenty of luggage room.

The interior was also a marvel of sleek, no-bullshit design. Look at this clean, easy-to-manufacture dashboard/instrument panel design and ask yourself why this isn't done more often. The little one-liter engine was designed to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or gasoline, which just adds to the intense practicality of it all.


Images:; JOHN LLOYD Collection

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