Suzuki’s Lj80 effortlessly stands out. Proudly owned by Josh Richings Garcia, his restoration of the vehicle into the infamous “Smurf Jeep” is a by-product of passion, superior craftsmanship and unwavering attention to detail. I guess that’s why Josh and his family have such a love affair with this Suzuki classic.

The Lj80 is straight A’s across the board. Dating back to the early days of Suzuki’s first forays into the 4x4 world, the Lj80 - which stands for ‘light jeep 80’ - first appeared in 1977 as the third installation in the Lj series. It has a sturdy boxed shape, similar to a Suzuki Samaurai, but with a more playfully rugged feel and durable performance. This reliability made this vehicle a favourite in cross country all-terrain marathons. “Its practically as agile as a mountain goat,” Josh tells us, nodding enthusiastically.

Today, the Lj80 has become a bit of a unicorn. To restore this model to its former glory, Josh’s Suzuki loving family have rendered the task into an artful obsession, paying close attention to Suzuki’s original detailing while putting their own personal spin on every vehicle they touch Josh and his dad now have a couple fully restored Lj80’S on island - the hard shell and open back versions - which they rebuilt by foraging every spare part they could find. The parts they couldn’t source independently were purchased directly from Suzuki parts dealers worldwide. Of course, one of the family’s stand out rebuilds is Josh’s personal spin on the Lj80 - his iconic Smurf Jeep.

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Josh had to overcome tough hurdles at every stage of the iconic restoration. In his own words, he “learnt many lessons about every aspect of mechanics while rebuilding, including patience when I had to re strip the jeep twice, replace the entire engine and re-do all the interiors. It needed to be perfect.” We were even surprised to learn that he wasn’t sold on the jeep’s signature high-gloss blue until the very end of the rebuild. “I kind of fell into the colour at the end,” he revealed. Now, we couldn’t imagine it any other way. Restored and rejuvenated, with everything exactly as Suzuki built it in 1977 and just the right amount of new modern touches, “The Smurf Jeep” looks like a shiny vintage blast from the past, particularly suited to island living.

Owning the sleek vehicle seems synonymous with sheer passion and perseverance - without that drive, Josh’s Lj80 wouldn’t be such a specular achievement. There really is nothing quite like Suzuki’s enduring legacy and the frenzy of inspiration it brings to enthusiasts with every new model which it unveils.