Certainly one of the most bizarre builds shown at the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon was Kinokuni Enterprise’s full-custom Suzuki Jimny drifter powered by a Nissan SR20DET.
Alexi Smith of Noriyaro was recently at Suzuka Twin Circuit with the Kinokuni crew to give the little car a proper shakedown. Smith goes on to explain that the car is a Suzuki Jimny shell over a custom tube chassis, powered by an SR20, riding on Silvia suspension. Essentially, it’s just a shortened Silvia. As the Kinokuni crew is prepping the car for its first on-track outing, Smith points the camera over toward the track where a few Formula D Japan drivers drivers were getting some practice runs in.
Once the Jimny was ready, it was unleashed onto Suzuka. The Jimny got sideways almost immediately, immediately crushing any doubts we had about it having too short of a wheelbase. There’s no word on the power the SR20 is producing, but this little Jimny scoots, and it sure can hold a nice angle. However, when the Jimny came in after its first shakedown, the crew found that there was a problem with either the LSD or the clutch because there was some slip once on the gas.
After the crew fixed the mechanical gremlins, Kinokuni’s driver took it back out for another couple of laps until a radiator hose popped off and nearly overheated the engine. The crew got the engine buttoned up, then it was Smith’s turn to give the car a two-lap shakedown. It took Smith almost a whole lap to get used to the Jimny’s twitchy handling, but on the second lap he was all giggles, expressing how cool it is. We noticed during his laps that it was misfiring a little bit, and that was later confirmed when Smith brought the car back to the pits.
We know that Kinokuni still has some troubleshooting to do with the engine and suspension, but they have built one seriously badass Suzuki Jimny, even if it is only a Jimny shell over a tube chassis. One of our favorite parts about the build is the tubular exoskeleton fenders, and how the tires tuck so nicely under them – it’s definitely an innovative design, rather than just bolting on fiberglass or carbon fiber fender flares.
We hope to see more video of Kinokuni’s Jimny drifter after all the bugs are sorted out!