Canada is not known as force in the automotive industry, but it once had its own car company, Asüna.
CDM as Föch !
Welcome to Forgotten Classics
As demonstrated in the previous articles, the goal of this series of essays is be to bring cars that are getting no love back in the limelight. FC is also a thorough analysis of why such cars remained obscure and never got the praise they deserved.
Asüna was inaugurated in 1993, its mission was to replace the ill-fated Passport marque that was selling various re-branded cars like the Passport Optima (Opel Kadett). Passport got little success mainly because the most interesting cars were sold under the Isuzu company.
One of the “more interesting” car was the Isuzu Impulse, a cheap sport car that looked like an Alfa-Romeo Montreal and handled like a Lotus Esprit Turbo. As a matter of fact, the handling was outsourced to Lotus in England and the results were phenomenal.
The Sunfire was in reality just a second generation Isuzu Piazza living under an assumed name with a counterfeit passport, but who cares because the car was a real treat. The car was sold for only for one model year, 1993, to ensure its rarity. As far as rarity is was concerned, it was huge success, but on February 12th 1994, Asüna was officially dismantled and the leftover Sunfire, Sunrunner and SE/GT models were sold with huge discounts to a few opportunistic Canadian citizens.
Asüna was supposedly meaning sun in some in some language, hence the model names : Sunfire, Sunrunner, SE/GT, but the sun didn’t shine for long on the brand, one the most short-lived brand in GM’s history. Turns out Asuna meant Vegetables in Japanese.
The Sunfire was exclusively powered by the most powerful engine available, an 1.8L 4 cylinders motor producing 140hp. This may sound a bit weak by current standards, but the car only weighed 2400 pounds.
After the death of Asüna, the Sunfire moniker was recuperated by Pontiac for its J-body car, but it was nowhere near as good as its predecessor.
If you can get your hands on a clean Asüna Sunfire, do not hesitate as it is most definitely collector’s material.
Thank you for reading.