Testing to the Max

The weather has been glorious since the Covid-19 lockdown began here, so I have been making the most of it by working outside on my property. Naturally, this means the cars haven’t received much attention, especially as there are no car events to go to and all but essential travel restricted. I have made a little bit of progress on the Fellow Max though.

Currently, from what I am told, the DVLA have a massive backlog of paperwork to deal with, so I think it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get the Max registered before the end of summer. Despite that disappointment, I have pressed on with making it roadworthy.

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Max Power

Aside from a handful of re-named UK market versions of the long lived Daihatsu Mira, I’ve never owned, what I’d consider to be, a proper kei car. While I enjoyed each tiny Daihatsu in turn, first an L200 Mira, then an L500 Cuore and now my L80 Domino, none have really been a proper kei spec as the European flavours always come equipped with a bigger engine… in the case of the Daihatsu, the ubiquitous 850cc ED-10 three pot. While having a bigger engine naturally has it’s advantages in terms of performance, it also steers the euro models away from the true essence of Kei Jidosha motoring. For these cars a sub 660cc engine is the limit, and back in the 70s that limit was just 360cc. And it’s these class limits in both terms of dimensions as well as engine capacity that give the Kei cars their special character.

So I decided the take the plunge back at the start of the year and get me a true, quirky slice of miniature motoring. After a long wait for the ship to creep halfway around the world, I finally have my very own diminutive motor, fresh from Japan. Not only do I now have a proper piece of Kei car history, but it’s also the model that always been my favourite, the Daihatsu Fellow Max Hardtop! It’s got a pillarless body and a two stoke 356cc two cylinder! I’m in love! Here’s a quick walk around. I’ll post some more details on this little gem soon…

Mini Max

Isn’t this just the cutest little car ever?! I have lusted after one of these miniscule pillarless coupes for a long time, but now finally I own one! Today, I braved the Covid-19 lockdown, to go and fetch my new car from the docks, having just arrived after a world tour aboard the M/V Figaro. It could be argued that travelling to the docks was a non essential journey, but with the shipping company charging £13 a day or more for storage, I’d argue otherwise. Besides, it can’t sit there clogging up the port for months and being right next to the sea, it would probably dissolve!

I bought 1973 Daihatsu Fellow Max Hardtop back at the beginning of January, after seeing it advertised on Goo. A garage in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi was selling it. The price seemed reasonable and from the photos, it looked like it was in decent shape. Mileage, a very reasonable 69,000km. It’s always a risk buying blind from halfway around the world, but first impressions are favourable. Sure, it needs some work, but overall it’s a nice solid little car and is pretty much complete. Plus, being a tiny two stroke twin, it sounds hilarious! Due to that it got christened Bim-Bim…

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