Ask The Editors: Suzuki 3-Wheeler or Hallucination?

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Dear ATVC:

According to Suzuki’s site they manufactured the first 4-wheeler in 1983. All of the sites I visit seem to agree that the Suzuki was the first to make a quad when 3-wheelers were all the rage. I remember encountering a beat-up yellow plastic Suzuki 3-wheeler though back in the late 1980s but I can’t find anything that confirms this. Did Suzuki ever make a 3-wheeler and if so can you share any info about it?

Not to worry, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. While Suzuki did indeed introduce the world’s first production 4-wheel ATV, the LT-125 in 1983, even they can’t claim to have avoided the 3-wheeler craze entirely. In fact they had manufactured three models in the early 1980s under the ALT designation (for all-terrain): The ATL 50, 125 and 185.

Indeed information on any of these models is quite scarce, even on the limitless resource that is the internet! However, the fact that you state remembering yellow plastic leads us to believe you encountered the 125 (pictured here).

The 50cc, also known as the Trailbuddy, was (obviously) a mini and most of the 185s we encountered came wearing orange/ red plastics.

Additionally the 125 is believed the most popular of the three based on production numbers. The 185 was produced only a single year (1985).

Perhaps their biggest claim to fame is the interchangeability of components (particularly engine parts) with the early four-wheelers Suzuki offered at the same time which, by the way, were easily identified by Zook having ditched the A in their vehicle designation. The tradition of Suzuki calling their four-wheelers “LT”s carries on even to this day.

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