Dave_Jorgensen
Dave_Jorgensen New Reader
2/9/11 11:36 a.m.

I'm hoping some of you can help me: Sometime in the mid-90's, Honda made a 660 DOHC triple [I think] and put it in one of their kei-cars. I saw one a few years ago, a mid-engined convertible, because in Canada the policies for bringing in 15-year-old-and-older vehicles are quite liberal. Two questions: a] Can any of you put a model name and number to this car? b] Do any of you Canadians know the names of any of the Japanese import companies that are bringing these in? There's a company in Abbotsford, I think, but I've lost the name and a web search isn't doing it.

Cheers, Dave

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/9/11 11:56 a.m.

Sounds like a Honda Beat.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/9/11 1:03 p.m.

I'm also a fan of the Suzuki Cappuccino.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
2/9/11 2:28 p.m.

Most of the Kei-class cars used engines of remarkably similar specification. I know some even shared engines between manufacturers, but don't remember who did what for whom.

There are definitely examples in North America, and Canada is much easier to import to than the states. Small cars seem to be a little less common to send across the pond, probably because the cost of shipping could match the value of the car. Still, you're sure to have the only one on your block.

Honda made a few cool Kei cars, but I think David is right guessing the Beat. Here's some more info on the Beat.

It might also have been the Honda City. These used to be tiny, but have swollen over the years and are more like a Civic nowadays. They may not even qualify as a Kei car anymore.

KaptKaos
KaptKaos Reader
2/9/11 3:36 p.m.
Tom Heath wrote: Most of the Kei-class cars used engines of remarkably similar specification. I know some even shared engines between manufacturers, but don't remember who did what for whom.

The engines were limited not only in displacement, but in (published) horsepower figures. IIRC the limit was 64 HP. Torque was another matter. The cars were all very interesting and inventive, positioned mostly to sell to younger people. Honda Beat, Nissan Figaro, Suzuki Cappuccino are generally well known in the states.

Mazda had a line called Autozam that included the gull-winged, mid-engined AZ-1.

They were supposed to be cheap to own, drive and easy to park. Parking is a huge issue in Japan. In parts of Japan, you can't buy a car, unless you prove you have a parking space for it.

Just another example of home-grown goodness that we didn't get to see here.

Tom Heath
Tom Heath Web Manager
2/9/11 3:45 p.m.

Not to stray too far off topic, but I was always partial to the Suzukis.

I had a Japanese friend with a Suzuki Alto Works while stationed in Okinawa; it was far more fun than its displacement would suggest. He had upgraded the turbocharger to the point that he had to cut a clearance hole in the grill to accommodate the turbine housing and plumbing.

Dave_Jorgensen
Dave_Jorgensen New Reader
2/10/11 1:36 a.m.

Yes, thank you, it is the Honda Beat. Have any of you ever driven one? I'm interested in whether it can run at 80 mph all day - I know the revs are sky-high by that point, but it's a Honda and that's nothing to be scared of. I'm interested in how it works as a North American car: How is performance, for example, in comparison to a stock non-smog twin-carb 1275 Midget? How's servicing - for example is he cam belt an easy change? Does the AC sap the car's power to such an extent that it's not a highway car? What's legroom like? Thanks, Dave

digdug18
digdug18 HalfDork
2/10/11 9:11 p.m.

Dave, I'm betting the car would be impracticable at 80mph on US roads . In a standard civic with its 1.6 motor, you notice a huge lack in torque when you turn the AC on, it would only be magnified on such a small engine.

Is there a reason that your looking at one of these cars? Over other cars?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/10/11 9:46 p.m.

Sadly I have never driven a Beat, although I have seen them in person.

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