Built along side the LJ50, the last, most powerful, and best of the LJ series was the 1700lb1977 Suzuki LJ80 or SJ20. It boasted the biggest improvements in the course of the series lifespan, and was designed with the intention of worldwide export.
Rumors of its larger engine for the LJ persisted for years but were constantly denied by Suzuki, who wanted to keep their development of the all-new engine a secret. As Suzuki's first four-stroke engine, it under went years of testing and development before its engineers were satisfied. The new 797cc SOHC four cylinder produced 41hp and at remendous improvement in torque delivery, better fuel efficiency, and much clean eremissions over its predecessors.
Complimenting the increased power were higher differential and high range ratios for more relaxed highway cruising, a stiffened chassis, improved handling coming from relocated rear shocks and a widening of the front and rear axles by about 4 inches. More up market features included nicer seats, a new steering wheel, a 130km/h speedo (up from 100km/h), a fuel tank capacity increase from 26 to 40 liters, and additional warning lights for brakewear.
External cues to the newfound power were slight, with the flared wheel fenders, raised hood line with new air ducts on its leading edge, and a rear bumper and taillights integral with the body. In 1979 a slight styling update was given to the LJ80, with the headlights positioned wider and lower to each side of the restyled grille. Metal doors were also offered for the first time. Also, a new LJ81 pickup truck model joined the convertible and hardtop models in the lineup.The LJ series was in production until 1983.