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  Kei-cars of the 20th Century ]

T H E  Related image   Related image  Part  One

(The Minor Players)


(In Alphabetical Order :  Auto Sandal – Mitsuoka)

The Makes:  Auto Sandal;  Autozam;  Baby Condor;  Cony;  Daihatsu;  Datsun;  Dynastar;  Fuji Cabin;  Gasuden;  Giant;  Hope Star;  Iso Isetta;  Kokuei;  Komatsu Nōminsha;  Kunomack;  Kurogane Baby;  Mitsuoka.


* * * AUTO  SANDAL  kc53  (オート·サンダルAuto Sandal * * *

Nakano Automobile Kogyo Co.Ltd. ]


Mr Nakano (above) the company founder is pictured with the first prototype.

(1952349cc FN, FS & FN-Lkc78 kc88 (1954238cc Rolykc48 

The Auto Sandal:  kc92  (friction drive)

Sandal refers to a type of shoe or flip-flop.  All 3 of the last remaining Auto Sandal cars are in working order and are in Kurume, Japan in the Sepia Collection of Mr Hideki Matsuzaki.


* * * m1  AUTOZAM (アウトザムAutozam  Related image * * *

Mazda Motor Corporation ]

The Autozam marque specialised in small cars and kei-cars with many models being re-badged Suzuki’s.

m2 (1990-94) ‘Carol is a rebadged Suzuki Alto‘ Image result for autozam carol

m3 (1990-94) ‘Scrum is  a rebadged Suzuki Carry‘ kt4

m4 (1992-95) ‘AZ-1 mid-engined sports coupé‘ abc1

An offshoot of the giant Mazda Corporation, Autozam was formed in the late 1980’s and ended in the mid 1990’s due to adverse economic conditions.


* * * B A B Y   C O N D O R (ベビー·コンドルBaby Condor * * *


The 1956 Baby Condor is a chain driven 2-seater microcar coupé.  The left-hand-drive coupé bodywork was made of fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP).


* * * kc50  (コ二―)  Cony * * *

Aichi Machine Industry co.ltd.]

(1955Cony AA-25Fcc21 & the (1956Cony AA27kc46 cc20

(1960Cony 360 AF3 ‘Giant‘: kc64 kc77cc25

(1961Cony 360 AF11 Truck & Vankc67 Related image

(1961Cony 360 Wagon & Light Vankc93 kc94

(1962Guppy AE82 Pickup & Coupékc30 kc73 kc38

(1962Cony AF8 pickupkc76 Coach & VanJaponska minimalista cony4

The Cony company was founded in 1943 and in 1965 it became part of the Nissan group.  Initial production was of 3-wheeler trucks.


* * * Related image   DAIHATSU (ダイハツDaihatsu   cc135 * * *

Daihatsu Motor Co. Ltd. ]

Daihatsu is the oldest Japanese car manufacturer, mostly known for its range of smaller models and off-road vehicles and its earlier 3-wheelers.

(1951Daihatsu Bee (ダイハツ·ビー): bee1 (About 300 were made)

bee2 bee3 m28 bee4

The Daihatsu Bee was classed as a 2-door coupérear-enginedrear-wheel-drivemicrocar.  Power was provided by the 540cc OHV air-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke H2 petrol engine.  It was the first car in Japan with a horizontally opposed engine and was adapted from one of Daihatsu’s 3-wheeled delivery trucks.

(1957-72Daihatsu Midget (1st Generation)kc39 (3-wheeler)


* * * Related imageDATSUN (ダットサン)  Datsun kc29 * * *

Kaishinsha Motor Works ]

Datsun founder:  Thumbnail for version as of 08:27, 6 December 2009  ‘Den Kenjiro

The Kaishinsha Motorcar Works was founded in 1914, and made the first cars using the Datsun name.  The ‘D’ in the company acronym ‘DAT’ was from ‘Den’ after one of the founders  Den Kenjiro and was later changed to Datsun.

my21 my28 (1965Datsun Baby 200cc Coupé my29 my25

The Datson company was acquired by the Nissan zaibatsu (financial conglomerate) in the 1930’s.


* * * D Y N A S T A R    (ダイナスター)  Dynastar * * *

Ōmyiya Fuji Sangyō Co. Ltd. ]

(1953Dynastar T7 SV single 198cc (1954): 


* * * my57 FUJI  CABIN (フジ·カビンFuji Cabin zen31 * * *

Fuji Motor Corporation ]

Only 85 Fuji Cabins were built between 1954 & 1955, with only or 3 surviving today.

my58 (1955Fuji Cabin 5A (a.k.a. Metro 125Related image Related image Related image

The Fuji Cabin is more like a scooter with a roof than a car.  It has an aeroplane-like steering wheel, and only one headlight.  In America, a Fuji Cabin sold at auction for $110,000 (not even a runner !!).


* * * G A S U D E N    (ガスデン)  Gasuden * * *

Fuji Motor Corporation ]

 fuj4 (1961) ‘Gasuden Minivan (ミニバンM60‘ fuj1 

The Fuji Motor Co. entered the Gasuden Minivan 360 M36 at the 1961 Tōkyō Motor Show and it is arguably the first vehicle ever to be termed a Minivan.  A year later, the company was taken over by Komatsu the giant bulldozer manufacturer.


* * * G I A N T  (デャイアント)  Giant * * *

Aichi Kigyo Co. Ltd. ]

(1948Giant AA3  (1951Giant Coach (6-seater): 

(1951Giant AA3 (デャイアントAA3:   (OHV single 636cc 19hp)


* * * HOPESTAR my31 (ホ―プ·スター)  Hope Star * * *

Hope Motor Co. ]

The Hope Motor Company was founded in April 1952 by Ono Yoshisada, the company existed until 1974, when its licenses were sold to Suzuki.

my33 (1953-67Hope Star ON 346cc 15hp 

kc99 my36 (1953-67Hope Star ON 360 kc103 my34

Only about 15 ON 360’s were produced, it was a mini-jeep powered by a Mitsubishi 356cc 2-stroke engine.  It was sold to Suzuki and eventually became the Suzuki Jimny.

kc105  (1960-74Hope Star Unicar NT cc30 kc97

The Unicar NT was advertised as being a pickup in the coupé style, with the slogan: The People Has Many Dreams as To The light Vehicle‘ !!


* * * ISO  ISETTAIsoRivoltalogo.jpg(イソ·エンジェー·イセッタ)  Iso Isetta * * *

Iso Autoveicoli S.p.A. ]

Related image Image result for iso isetta (1954Iso Isetta 236cc Related image Bonhams - The Paris Sale 2012 - Iso Isetta - 1953 - 013.jpg

The Iso (little) Isetta was an Italian-designed microcar built under license in a number of countries, it was the top-selling single-cylinder car in the world at the time.


* * * K O K U E I  (コクエイ)  Kokuei * * *

Kokuei Zoki Co. Ltd. ]

(1950Kokuei 346cc    Romance Car (4-passenger)


* * * Komatsu  (コマツKomatsu * * *

Komatsu Ltd. ]

Komatsu Nōminsha    (コマツ 農民車)

The 1960 Komatsu Nōmin-sha is an interesting vehicle.  It was made by Komatsu the bulldozer and tractor manufacturer.  The open jeep style vehicle had a centrally mounted single seat and steering column.  The driver’s seat sits directly over the engine, behind which there is seating for people.

Built specially for the farming community, the tyre arrangements front and rear were very tractor like.  The vehicle had towing ability and a power take off was available when the vehicle was at rest.  With a top speed of only 15 kph (9 mph) it was not suitable for use on the highways of Japan.


* * * K U N O M A C K  (くのマック)  Kunomack * * *

Kunomack Manufacturing Co. Ltd. ]

 (1954Kunomack 354cc (8.0hp


* * * KUROGANE kc129 (クロガネ)  Kurogane * * *

Nihon Nainenki Co. ]

my81my83 (1961Kurogane Baby KB360V my82my84

The Nihon Nainenki Co. was formed in 1936 and primarily made small scout cars for the Japanese military.


* * * MITSUOKA   my48   (ミツオカ / 光岡)  Mitsuoka * * *

[ Mitsuoka Motors (光岡自動車mitsuoka-jidōsha ]

Susumu Mitsuokapp38 Akio Mitsuoka: pp37

Susumu Mitsuoka‘ is the  company founder & Chairman, his vision is to create cars that expressed spirit and soul and share them with the world.  Akio Mitsuoka‘ is the current Representative Director & President.

It is a small company noted for building unique cars with unconventional styling, some of which imitate British vehicles of the 1950’s & 60’s.  It is primarily a coach builder, taking production cars and replacing various aspects of the bodywork with its own custom designs. Mitsuoka was recognised in 1996 as the 10th Japanese auto manufacturer to be registered in Japan since Honda in 1963.  It bases its current cars on Nissan and other Japanese car manufacturers.  It also has a retail outlet in England supplying a limited range of grey imports.

my61(1982 – 1985Bubu 50 Series 3-wheelers   my60 my62

In the early years, it produced many tiny vehicles like the BUBU Shuttle-50.

my71 (1996-1999Ray 1G is based on the Mazda Carol cc127

The 1st generation Mitsuoka Ray is a heavily modified Mazda Carol.  The car started out as a 3-door, however, in 2002 Mitsuoka changed it into a 5-door car.  The price ranges from ¥911,000 (£5,734) to ¥1,359,750 (£8,553).   Mitsuoka described the Ray as like a dignified and graceful flower.

mk2 (1998-2000MC-1 & K1’s are mid-engined my63 my64

The MC-1 was marketed under the slogan Microcar for your life.

my65 The K-2 is based on the Messerschmitt TG500 my66

The K-3:my67 & the K-4in red, yellow, light & dark blue:  my70

my72 (1999-2000Ray 2G is based on the Mazda Carol 

The Ray earned mixed reviews, earning a place on the Ugliest Cars in Britain list due to problems with quality and design.  However, it was voted the most attractive car in Australia !!

The Ray lll  my74my75 resembles the Riley Elf Mk 3

(2010-2012Mitsuoka Like The frontview of Mitsuoka Like (HA3WLDDB).JPG is a rebadged Mitsubishi MiEV electric car.

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