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Suzuki History

    This article was taken from wikipedia.

    In 1909, Michio Suzuki (1887–1982) founded the Suzuki Loom Works in the small seacoast village of Hamamatsu, Japan. Business boomed as Suzuki built weaving looms for Japan's giant silk industry. In 1929, Michio Suzuki invented a new type of weaving machine, which was exported overseas. Suzuki filed as many as 120 patents and utility model rights. The company's first 30 years focused on the development and production of these exceptionally complex machines.

    Despite the success of his looms, Suzuki realized his company had to diversify and he began to look at other products. Based on consumer demand, he decided that building a small car would be the most practical new venture. The project began in 1937, and within two years Suzuki had completed several compact prototype cars. These first Suzuki motor vehicles were powered by a then-innovative, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, four-cylinder engine. It featured a cast aluminum crankcase and gearbox and generated 13 horsepower (9.7 kW) from a displacement of less than 800cc.

    With the onset of World War II, production plans for Suzuki's new vehicles were halted when the government declared civilian passenger cars a "non-essential commodity." At the conclusion of the war, Suzuki went back to producing looms. Loom production was given a boost when the U.S. government approved the shipping of cotton to Japan. Suzuki's fortunes brightened as orders began to increase from domestic textile manufacturers. But the joy was short-lived as the cotton market collapsed in 1951.

    Faced with this colossal challenge, Suzuki's thoughts went back to motor vehicles. After the war, the Japanese had a great need for affordable, reliable personal transportation. A number of firms began offering "clip-on" gas-powered engines that could be attached to the typical bicycle. Suzuki's first two-wheel ingenuity came in the form of a motorized bicycle called, the "Power Free." Designed to be inexpensive and simple to build and maintain, the 1952 Power Free featured a 36 cc, one horsepower, two-stroke engine. An unprecedented feature was the double-sprocket gear system, enabling the rider to either pedal with the engine assisting, pedal without engine assist, or simply disconnect the pedals and run on engine power alone. The system was so ingenious that the patent office of the new democratic government granted Suzuki a financial subsidy to continue research in motorcycle engineering, and so was born Suzuki Motor Corporation.

    In 1953, Suzuki scored the first of many racing victories when the tiny 60 cc "Diamond Free" won its class in the Mount Fuji Hill Climb.

    By 1954, Suzuki was producing 6,000 motorcycles per month and had officially changed its name to Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. 

    Suzuki started manufacturing motorcycles in 1952, the first models being motorized bicycles. During the 1950s, 1960s and the better part of the 1970s, the company manufactured motorcycles with two-stroke engines only, the biggest two-stroke model being the water-cooled triple-cylinder GT750.

    A large factor in Suzuki's success in two-stroke competition was the East German Grand Prix racer Ernst Degner, who defected to the West in 1961,bringing with him expertise in two-stroke engines from the East German manufacturer MZ. Suzuki hired Degner, and he won the 50 cc class F.I.M. road racing World Championship for them in the 1962 season. Suzuki became the first Japanese manufacturer to win a motocross world championship when Joel Robert won the 1970 250 cc title. In the 1970s, Suzuki established themselves in the motorcycle racing world with Barry Sheene and Roger De Coster winning world championships in the premier 500 cc division in road racing and motocross respectively. Suzuki continues to compete in MotoGP and last won the title in the 2000 season. Since 2006, the team is sponsored by Rizla and is known as Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team.

    It was not until 1976 that Suzuki introduced its first motorcycle with a four-stroke engine, the GS400 and GS750.

    In 1994, Suzuki partnered with Nanjing Jincheng Machinery to create a Chinese motorcycle manufacturer and exporter called Jincheng Suzuki.

    Below are pictures of some of the Suzuki line up from the first one, up until around 1970.