The restoration of the site is ongoing and as well as adding new stuff, I’m revamping some old posts, with a little text editing (largely to fix all the horrible grammar and spelling!) as well as updating many of the images. A lot of the old articles were written in the days when people were still using screen resolutions as low as 800×600 (remember that!?) so many of the images are rather small and low quality.

Among those getting an overhaul is the history piece I did 12 years ago about Nissan’s deal with Austin of England during the 1950s. There’s now a load of new images and all are larger than before so take a look!

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…

Continue reading Mini Max

Sunny Skids

A Datsun 120Y four door wouldn’t be the first weapon of choice for most skid enthusiasts. From my experience with my Datsun 510 back in the day, short wheelbase cars like this are pretty tricky to drift, especially at speed, which is why I ended up with an S13 instead. Here’s Aussie Logan Waterhouse skidding in style in his KA24DE powered 120Y… and making it look so easy…

For more, check out Logan Waterhouse Drift on Facebook

Brochure: 21st Tokyo Motorshow 1975

If you had attended the 21st Tokyo Motorshow back in 1975, you might well have walked away from the Nissan stand with a brochure like this. There was plenty to see that year, as not only was Nissan’s range of vehicles massive, they also had plenty of new technology to show off, like the new Nissan Anti Pollution System (NAPS). Among the stars that year were the advanced GR-1 experimental safety car and sporty, mid-engined AD-1 prototype. Slightly more outlandish was an experimental 230 Cedric… powered by steam! Check out the full brochure below, plus wallpaper sized cover and centre spread…

Continue reading Brochure: 21st Tokyo Motorshow 1975