The Samurai was introduced in the United States as a cheaper alternative to the Jeep Wrangler, a staple in this market. It did quite well right from the start, with first-year Samurais selling for around $6,200. Almost 50,000 of them were sold in the United States in that first year.
The first generation engine was a basic 1.3 liter I4 making only 63 horsepower. The only body styles sold in the US were a convertible and a hardtop.
The Samurai models sold after 1988.5 were more road-worthy than the early models, with softer suspension and a better anti-sway bar. This was part of the controversy that started with a Consumer Reports test of the 1988 model. They found that the Samurai rolled over under what might be considered normal driving conditions. Suzuki disputed the claim, but sales plummeted despite the changes that they made in reaction to the report.
The Suzuki Samurai is still very popular with off-roaders looking for cheap vehicles with many modification options. If you would like to buy an old used Suzuki Samurai, the first place to look is on eBay. If you have no luck there, try Craigslist, but you'll probably be searching all day. There are many parts listings on eBay as well, both original and aftermarket.