The Suzuki Cappuccino is a car I’ve loved for a long time. A *long* time.
The Cappuccino, the Mitsubishi GTO, and the Eunos Roadster were my favorites to drive in the first Gran Turismo game waaayyyy back in 1997. I lost many hours to that game. My University grades suffered because of GT1.
I didn’t even own Sharka back then. He came along three years later.
I’ve loved Cappuccinos for 20 years. And I finally met one.
For some reason, Capps came up in conversation in the parking lot at Mazda R&D. I don’t remember how things turned that way. Someone was talking about the tiny cars (maybe about the one seen here) and I mentioned my enduring love for them.
Back story time! See, I really wanted to import a Cappuccino back in the late 90s, but being a broke college kid just out of the house and not having an internet full of how-to’s on any topic at all, that proved impossible. And since I couldn’t have a Cappuccino, A Miata became much more interesting to me. Eventually, I bought Sharka in 2000.
Fast forward to KINOD that night. Folks were showing me their Miatas. I was beyond blissed out and just soaking everything in. And someone comes up and says “Hey Adam! Dustin has a car you want to see. He drove it all the way down so you could check it out.” (Was it Pete? Was it Jon? I don’t even remember who brought me to the Cappuccino.)
I ran to Sharka’s trunk and got my camera.
Then I saw it.
This is a 1991 Suzuki Cappuccino EA11R owned by Dustin Yee. Being a 91, it’s over 25 years old and legal to import. It features…
– A custom Rollbar by Valley Rock Mods
– BC VSV1 coilovers
– 14×6.5+36 Watanabes with Dunlop Star Specs in 185/60 (same size as the tires on Sharka’s Star Sharks)
– An uprated Rhb31 turbo and Monster Sport F100-M ECU
– DND 600cc motorcycle exhaust, 2″
– A tiny Sparco steering wheel in the 300mm range.
– many oil leaks
– and a lot of soul.
And then I got to go for a ride in it with Dustin as the driver.
Riding in the car was.. manic.
You know how when you get out of a big car and back into your Miata (or whatever you prefer driving) and it fits you like a glove? This was the inverse.
Getting into the Cappuccino is like slipping on an extremely small pair of gloves. You can still move your fingers – kinda. You can sort of feel things. But it’s TIGHT. Like a 2nd skin.
The Capp is tight. Super super tight. I’m not that tall or big at 5’11” and about 165 lb. I fit a Miata very well and can have a helmet on under the hardtop. But the Cappuccino? My head was way above the tiny rollbar. I suddenly had a taste of what life is like for my tall friends.
I’d also never actually sat in a RHD car before. No wheel on the left hand side was… super strange. But that feeling was soon forgotten by the manic insanity of the Brappuccino.
So tiny. So quick. So fun. So perfect.
I kinda need one. Bad.
We only went for a quick spin. A few blocks, turn around, and come back. Then Dustin parked and I snapped most of these pix.
I truly did a poor photographic job. My head was not in a good space to “make art” with my camera. I was too excited to finally meet my long time automotive muse and love.
And then Dustin gave me the keys.
I drove a Cappuccino – THE Brappuccino.
I’ll try to sum up my drive in a professional journalistic manner.
OMGUGUYS. SUCH CRAZY! RIGHT HAND DRIVE! WINDSIHELDWIPERS!! MUCH INSANITY! SHIFTSHIFTSHIFT! OMG! BRAP BRAP BRAP!!! BOOST!!! VERY NEED. MUST HAVE ONE.
ahem. Sorry. Not sure what happened there. Where was I?
As I said, I’d never been in a RHD car before, let alone driven one. And it was… not something I’d get used to quickly.
Shifting with the left hand? Yeah, not hard.
Remembering where the RVM was? Hard. I kept looking the wrong direction… out the window.
Using the turn signal with my right hand? Impossible. I hit the wipers every time I tried to turn.
I only drove the same short couple of block circuit I rode with Dustin originally, but it felt like more than enough. I didn’t wanna destroy the lovely little insane vehicle after all. I just wanted to see how it was. See what a Cappuccino was like.
Manic. Insane. Truly indescribable.
The engine revs to 10,500 before fuel cut. Under 3000 RPM there’s truly nothing. It just barely moves. But then you get some boost in the manifold around 3500 and it wakes up and scoots. Above 7000, it’s fantastic.
The steering? Nimble. I’d love to kill some cones in one of these. Maybe an autocross course made up only of slaloms and pivot boxes? Sounds like heaven. Dustin picked a good set of coils with the BC VSV1s.
The clutch was apparently a cable clutch. It felt fine to me. Not at all odd. Everything else was odd enough that the clutch didn’t stick out.
The brakes could have been much much better, but having somewhat vague feeling brakes just contributed to the overall feeling of impending death. In other words – the brakes were perfect.
I want one. So badly.
They say to never meet your heroes because they’ll always disappoint you. The Cappuccino, or at least THIS Cappuccino, was anything but a disappointment. It was finely concentrated liquid panic. It was a too-tight glove lined with adrenaline needles. It was…
It was perfection.
If the Cappuccino was a muse to me before, it is now at least 10x more. I don’t know what I would do with one (yes, I do. I’d love it and build it and blog about it and drive it and…) but I want one. I need more garage space. I need a full shop. I need many things.
I think I need a Cappuccino.
Thanks again for the ride, the drive, and EVERYTHING, Dustin. I’m… forever changed. In ways, the Brappuccino was better than the Mazda R&D Basement. Out of all my favorite memories of my CA trip, driving this car is easily in the top 3.
To see more Brappuccino content, check out Dustin’s Instagram. He’s got a new motor on the way to replace the original. The Brappuccino will be even more insane in the next couple months.