Suzuki is celebrating 100 years of manufacture by showcasing its history at Suzuki Plaza, Japan. Enthusiasts can view the first Suzuki outboard engine and chart its evolution up to the present day. Motorcycles and cars also feature heavily on display and the company has also installed a modern car production line.
Outboard engines have come a long way since Suzuki first entered the market with the D55 (5.5hp, 2-stroke) in 1965, applying the company’s motorised vehicle expertise to the marine sector. The early outboard models are pure 1960s in style – bold red and white curves.
Over the ensuing decades Suzuki has introduced industry firsts ranging from the first stainless steel water pump housing in 1973 to its fuel efficiency technology unveiled in recent months. In 1980 Suzuki invented the first Oil Injection for outboards, and in 1985 first ventured into the big engine market with its V6 engines, the DT150 and DT200.
In 1997 the award-winning DF60 and DF70 were launched as the first Suzuki four-strokes with electronic fuel injection. A year later Suzuki won the Innovation Award from the International Marine Trades Exposition and Convention (IMTEC) for the advanced technology of its Cam Drive System with Timing Chain in the DF40 and DF50. 2003 saw the introduction of Suzuki’s four-stroke V6 outboards, introduced as the lightest four-stroke outboards in their class with the largest displacement.
The industry’s first 300hp four-stroke was Suzuki’s top of the range outboard, the DF300. This was the first outboard to utilise an electronic remote control.
Visitors to Suzuki Plaza can travel back through ten decades of technological innovation to 1909 when Michio Suzuki founded the Suzuki Loom Works to build better, more ergonomic looms for Japan’s vast silk industry. Cars, motorcycles and then outboard engines followed. Much has changed in 100 years, but Suzuki says its focus on craftsmanship for the benefit of its customers is as evident today in its technologically advanced engines as it was in the handlooms of 100 years ago.