***** (K|C|F) *****

J A P A N E S E

M i c r o  Related image  C a r s

O v e r v i e w

[ 1955 ~ to date ]

kc126"Kei - Cars - Fanzine"MY19

act1sam6

A pictorial look into the rarely seen genre that is ‘JAPANESE | MICRO | CARS‘ and their special place in the post-war era of a Japan struggling to bring itself back from the abyss of defeat to the modern society that it is today.  Although helped somewhat by the Japanese Governments desire to produce a cheap and easily affordable “people’s car”, the legacy of which is still being carried on today.

Micro-cars in Japan are called kei-jidōsha

kei-jidōsha” is often shortened to “Kei-car” or “K-car“, it literally means “light car” and is pronounced as in the letter “K“.  It is a Japanese category of small vehicle of 660cc or less, they include passenger carsmicrovans, pickup trucks and even sports-cars and 4×4’s.

m17 m19 m16  

J a p a n e s e | K e i | C a r s . . .

. . . have to adhere to a set length, width, height and weight which is strictly controlled by the Japanese Government, which today is as follows:

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Maximum:  Width 4.9 ft.   Length 11.2 ft.   Height 6.6 ft.

In May 1955 the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) announced a promotional program entitled the “People’s Car”, calling upon industry to create: “A 4-seater with a top speed of 100 kph (62 mph), priced at ¥150,000 (£1,145).”

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The engineers of the Nakajima Aircraft Company developed the first truly successful kei microcar (above), namely the ‘Subaru 360’ ( 1958 – 1971 ).

The Suzuki Wagon R (below), is the best selling kei-car in Japan since 2003.

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Kei” micro-cars are designed to comply with Government tax & insurance regulations, and in most rural areas are exempt from the requirement to certify adequate parking is available.  Some roads are also specifically marked ‘kei-cars only‘, due to their narrow width.

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Japanese  micro-cars  have  special  number  plates . . .

kc1                kc2

(Yellow for private cars)        (Black for commercials)

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Since  WWll,  engine  sizes  have  changed  3 times . . .

360cc Era (1949 – 1975kc26 e.g. 1955 Suzulight

550cc Era (1976 – 1990kc27 e.g. 1976 Daihatsu

660cc Era (1990 ~my105 e.g. 2006 Subaru

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Early  Manufacturers  include . . .

Auto Sandal (1947 – 1954kc53 kc48 kc84 kc83

Cony Cars (1955 – 1965kc50 kc40 kc67

The  Fuji  Motor  Company  (1957 – 1961 fuj4

Hope Star (1952 – 1974became Suzukimy31 kc103 kc97

Nihon Nainenki Co. (1961 -1962)kc129 my81 my90

NJ / Taro (1954 – 1955)njjj kc80 my42

Suminoe Manufacturing (1951 – 1955kc123 kc132 kc122

Suzulight (1955 – 1969became Suzuki kc148 kc149 kc146

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Fleeting  marques  include . . .

my48  Mitsuoka Motors cc127 my72 my73 my74

( The  Mitsuoka  Ray  was  produced  from  1996 – 2004 )

my96 SmartDaimler AG ) my93 my95 my94

(The Smartwas produced from 2001 – 2004)

six91   Yamaha Motor Co Ltd :  cus29 cus25

(Only 3 Yamaha Ami’s of a projected 600 were produced around 1997)

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The  Manufacturers  today . . .

(With a cross-section of the models)

AUTOZAM (Mazda)    m1    ( アウトザム )

Carol m2  Scrum m3  Wagon 

DAIHATSU    Related image    ( ダイハツ )

Esse Daihatsu Esse 2005 2.jpg  Leeza Related image  Move m11

HONDA   Related image   ( 本田 )

N360   Life Honda Life 1998 Rear.jpg  Today 

MAZDA    m20    ( マツダ )

Chantez Chantez-F.jpg  Flair cc126  Laputa Mazda Laputa.jpg

  MITSUBISHI     kc154    ( 三菱 )

Minica Toppo (Saloonkc157  Minica Toppo (Vankc158

NISSAN     Related image    ( 日産 )

(Nissan only sell badge-engineered  Mitsubishi & Suzuki models)

SUBARU    my100    ( スバル )

R1 my104  R-2 my103  Vivio my107

SUZUKI     kc159     ( スズキ )

Alto kc162  Lapin kc163  Palette kc164

  TOYOTA     Related image     ( トヨタ )

(Toyota Pixis Mega’s are badge  Daihatsu WAKE G "SA" (LA700S) front.JPG engineered Daihatsu Wake’s)

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K e i | M i c r o | T r u c k s  . . .

Micro-trucks are known as “kei-tora”, “tora” being a poorly contracted version of the English word  “truck” (torakku).  They cost as little as ¥1,000,000  (£6,400) or less !!

The main manufacturers, models and No of Generations . . .

Daihatsu Hijet (10G’skt2  Honda Acty (4G’skt3

Mitsubishi Minicab (8G’skt5

Subaru Sambar (7G’sImage result for subaru sambar  Suzuki Carry (11G’skt7

Trucks come in a wide variety of styles for just about every use imaginable, such as :  Agriculture; Hunting, Fishing & Construction.  There are many body configurations including, Vans, Pickups and many specialist uses, here are a few . . .

Twin Cab kt10  Cherry-picker kt12  Tipper-truck kt13

Motor-home kt11  VW Classic kt20  Fire-truck kt22

Canvas-back kt24 CitroenHClassic act1 Stretcher-bearer kt26

Wagon kt29  High-top kt31  Refrigerated kt34

Mobile-shop kt35  Road-works kt36  Wood-back pp17

Walk-thru’ Van pp18 Camping-car pp21 Wheelchair-carrier kt27

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S p o r t s    C a r s  . . .

The Sports micro-car was born by the “bubble boom” in the latter years of the 1980’s, although a few cars with sporting aspirations had appeared prior to this.

Saloon  cars  with  sporting  pretensions include the . . .

(1968Suzuki Fronte SS ss36  (1969Subaru Young SS ss35

(1970) Honda Z Coupé pp31  (1971) Suzuki Fronte Coupé ss78

(1987) Suzuki Works RS-R ss88  (1989) Daihatsu Mira TR-XX Related image

(1989Mitsubishi Dangan ZZ-4 ss77  (1992) Subaru Vivio RX-RA sp23

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ss2 P r o d u c t i o n     S p o r t s     C a r s    ss27

Suzuki Cappuccino ss19 ss17 (1991 – 1997)

Honda Beat ss4ss5 (1991 – 1998)

Autozam AZ-1 ss37ss44 (1992 – 1995)

Daihatsu Copen 1G ss60ss49 (2002 – 2012)

Daihatsu Copen 2G ss66ss62 (2014 – date)

Honda S660 kc62ss69 (2015 – date)

Caterham Seven 160 Image result for caterham seven 160 Image result for caterham seven 160 (2016 – date)

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&  not   forgetting  . . .

T h e   Image result for 4x4 logo ‘ s

The  SUZUKI  JIMNY  (1970 ~)

1st Generation Suzuki Jimny LJ10 001.JPG 2nd Generation  3rd Generation 

The Mazda AZ – Offroad is a re-badged Suzuki Jimny Suzuki Jimny JA12W 001.JPG

The MITSUBISHI PAJERO MINI (1994 – 2012)

   

The Nissan Kix is based on the Mitsubishi Pajero Mini 

Most micro-cars and trucks today are available in 4WD or AWD (all-wheel drive), there is even a craze for extreme off-roading:

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The 1989 Mitsubishi Minica Dangan ZZ (above) has a 657cc turbocharged 3-cylinder engine with 5-valves per cylinder that revs to 9,500 rpm and a computer-controlled AWD system that later appeared in the 440 bhp Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution !!

It is well known that Japanese micro-cars make good test beds for their bigger brothers !!

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