Coast to Coast in Five Days (in a Suzuki Cappuccino): Part 2
Fort DuPont
Our final sightseeing stop before home was here at Fort DuPont, an ex-Army fort and gun battery. Fort DuPont was originally built in the Civil War to protect Philadelphia from Confederate Ironclad ships. It was repurposed a few times, finding its last service in World War II. After the last World War, it was decommissioned and has been a national historic site for the last 20 years. Sadly, many of the original fort buildings have been demolished, but a few historic buildings, such as the barracks and theatre, still exist.
Tacoma Puncture
Remember how we went 2400 miles in the Cappuccino without a single problem? The same could not be said for the Tacoma. 3000 miles across the country and in my parent’s driveway, I got a goddamn puncture. Fortunately, I keep my handy dandy plug kit in the truck for just such an emergency and fixed it in a jiffy. Sadly, this was the third puncture this particular tire has had, so it was a bit hair raising getting home again. My rule of thumb is to replace a tire once it’s got more than two nails in it, so normally, I would have just swapped in the spare tire (which is a full size replacement), but conveniently found out the damn dealership LOST MY WHEEL LOCK KEY WHEN THEY LAST SERVICED MY TRUCK!!! So we left the triple plugged tire in place and kept an eye on our tire pressures. One of those plugs, I should add, has been in place for the last year and has done 25,000 miles. Plugs are a temporary fix…HA!
Loaded Taco
My parents needed the truck as they had lost a tree over the winter and needed to get rid of some of the bits. Pops and I loaded up two bed fulls of logs and took them to the local yard waste dump. Based on the tree (an elm), this was about 1000 lbs of wood (giggity). 1,000 lbs of wood, pressing down on a freshly plugged tire.
Princess the Cat
Aside from all of the other listed reasons, the biggest reason for finishing our trip East in the Tacoma was because of Princess. Princess is my grandmother’s cat, and my grandmother passed away three days before I drove to Detroit to kick off this trip. One of the things I promised my gran was that Princess would go to a good home after she passed on. I had to make good on this promise after the whirlwind, cross country adventure. After all of the changes she had to endure, she would have been terrified in the Cappuccino. Between the wind, the road noise, and the bumps, she would have hated me. So I took the comfortable, air conditioned, quiet truck, for her sake.

I want to dedicate this article to my grandmother.  She taught me to go out and do things. Go on an adventure!  See the world! Keep your mind open and you never know what life will bring.  She lived through a world that realized women could do more than just cook, clean, and raise children.  It was through those wartime opportunities that she was able to meet my grandfather, marry him, and start a family that would eventually lead to me (for better or for worse).  The last time I saw her was the weekend I made the deal for this car with Toprank. She didn’t know I was about to make this trip, but I know she would have supported it. She never understood my obsession with cars, but she knew it made me happy and she always liked hearing about my adventures in them.  She even read my work on MotoIQ. I like to think she and my grandfather were watching this grand adventure, maybe even making sure I stayed out of trouble. Thanks Gran.

Gran
Elizabeth “Bess” Zipf August 20, 1922 – June 25, 2018

18 comments

  1. Keep your political commentary to yourself. You can reminisce about old America without sharting your anti-Trump crap all over the page.

  2. My grandma lost her first husband. He, and his crew were the first casualties of the Cold War. He was shot down over the Baltic Sea. If he had not of died, I would not be alive. Strange how things happen, but that’s the way it works. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m replacing the Taco’s tires completely. The OEM tires are lukewarm garbage. How Toyota has the stones to put those on a TRD Off-Road is beyond me.

  3. Nice road trip, would have been a nicer article without bringing your political two cents into the mix. If those are the types of articles we can expect from Motoiq, I’m going to have to seek automotive articles from elsewhere. I prefer my passion for cars to remain free from politics, especially from people who would prefer to see the current administration fail than see America succeed.

    1. What do you mean? Do you want to know what the drivetrain is or are you looking for more of a review of how it drives?

      If it’s the former, it’s a 660cc 3-cylinder engine with a turbocharger. 5-speed manual transmission and RWD. This particular car also has an LSD (I believe the factory Quaife option though I haven’t confirmed it). The torque curve is between 3500 and 6500 RPM. Fuel cutoff is around 9,100 RPM. The turbo is pretty small and it’s really there for mid-range torque. We’re looking at a turbo upgrade to give it some more top-end.

      As for the drive itself, I think the best way of describing it is like a Miata but smaller. The engine makes the drive more frentic since you have to rev the nuts out of it to get any power, but the rest is very Miata like. Or if you’ve driven an MG Midget, it’s like driving a modified Midget. There’s a speed cutoff at 150 KPH (~80 mph) so you’re never really going all that fast, but it’s a blast. I would not recommend doing a long highway trip like I did if you don’t have to. I was commuting with it two to three times a week after I got it home and registered and I always take the back roads with it. It’s now packed up for the winter as it has zero salt protection and I do not want to be battling rust, but up until late October I was still driving it every few days.

        1. I drove it on a one-way dispatch. It was insured the whole way. Got a few looks, but never got pulled over.

          Also, a HUGE shout out to TopRank, getting it registered was super easy in Kentucky. They get all the right forms filled out so getting US title and tags is as painless as possible. Still took almost 3 hours, but it only took one trip to get a license plate.

          1. I am looking at importing one after the holidays, and trying to figure out logistics. Seems like I will need a boxed trailer or a flat bed to get it from the port. Besides the lack of AC, did it drive well on the highway otherwise?

      1. I’m with Ajmal Khan; I would like more info about the car, and less on the sight seeing. Insult to injury, you wound up in a late model truck. As someone who is interested in Cappys, I’m hungry to learn about the car on US roads. Is the ride harsh? What’s your assessment on interior room and ergonomics? Was it hard to transition to RHD and back? Any interactions with others about the car (other than the footprinted hood?)

        1. There’s more info on the road manners of it in Part 1, but to answer the direct questions here:

          How spacious the interior is really depends on how big you are. If you’re more than 5′ 10″ or 180 lbs it’ll be tight, but possible. And if you’re above 6′ tall or 200 lbs you’re just not going to fit period. The GAB coilovers are pretty stiff but if I avoided big potholes I was fine. The bucket seat has no padding either which didn’t help but surprisingly it wasn’t my back that gave me trouble. It was my legs. Trying to keep it at 70 with little room to keep the blood flowing in the right leg started to get really tiresome after about 3 hours on the road. It can do highway speeds just fine, but you’ll be near the factory limiter so you have to plan passes. Really the big problem is it takes a lot of concentration to highway drive it. You’re much, much smaller than everyone else out there so you really have to pay attention to what’s around you. You’ll want to stop pretty frequently to stretch your legs. Also the gas tank only takes you around 250 miles. You can only get so far with a 6.5 gallon tank!

          Aside from the size, the interior is really nicely laid out. Everything is in easy reach and is nicely arranged, though there’s nowhere to store a phone (kind of important when you’re using it for GPS. I usually wedge mine between the seat and console it I’m not wearing cargo shorts). If you pack a soft duffle bag it will fit into the trunk, but I had a work trip before my flight to CA I couldn’t pack as light as I would have liked.

          As for going between the Tacoma and the Cappuccino, the thing that always trips me up is the turn signals. The lever is on the right side of the steering wheel and it usually takes me a few miles to remember where they are. I got used to the left hand shifter pretty quickly. The nice thing about the car being so small is it’s really forgiving if it takes you a while to get used to sitting on the wrong side. It’s so narrow and short that you have a ton of space in parking spots or in your lane. The hardest part I found was parallel parking. You actually sit really far back in the wheelbase (your butt is only a foot ahead of the rear axle) so your perspective is really warped. It looks like you’re about to back into the car behind you but in reality you still have about 6′ of space.

          And finally aside from the jerks who stepped on the hood the response has been positive. Everybody likes this thing. Either people have no idea what it is and are really curious about it or they know exactly what it is and think it’s awesome to see it. I think it helps that there’s no image associated with the Cappuccino in the US so people don’t walk up with a preconceived image of the owner.

          By the way, one of the big advantages of the Cappuccino is that they were sold in the UK which means there’s an English factory service manual available from Suzuki. I’m not sure if that’s the case for some of the other popular Kei cars of this era. Also the UK is a great resource for parts and knowledge since they’re still very popular over there. I’m hoping I can figure out what US Suzuki parts fit the Cappuccino during my ownership.

          Also if you all are in the central Kentucky area and want to try and fit yourself in a Cappuccino let me know and we can arrange something. It wasn’t until I rode in one that I knew it was going to be right for me. I’ve already had a few locals try it out, so if you’d like to do the same, feel free to ask. Always happy to help fellow Cappuccino fans

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*