Tag Archives: Kei Car

Not a WRX

Subaru don’t just make the WRX. In fact they’ve made all sorts of weird things, from trains and planes, to wind turbines and generators.

From a vehicular perspective Subaru’s products vary widely too, some of which are rather further from the WRX than you might think.

This is one of them, the dinky Sambar micro-truck. A ‘kei’ car in Japan also badged as the Daihatsu Hijet and Toyota Pixis, the Sambar first launched in the ’60s, and today is on its tenth generation, powered by a 660cc engine and available in a variety of body-styles.

This is the pick-up variant, as built rather nicely by Joey Klusnick in Miniland style, replicating a Sambar owned by his local model shop. There’s more to see at Joey’s Flickr album, where his model is pictured alongside its real world counterpart.

Click the link above for a Subaru that’s not driven by an irritating bro with a blow-off valve.

Every Wagon

The Suzuki Wagon R was roundly mocked when it arrived in TLCB’s home nation in the late 1990s. These days though it’s, well… still roundly mocked, but we think Japan’s kei cars deserve to be taken seriously outside of the country that created them.

After all, as the population rises and urban dwelling intensifies homes have become smaller. Appliances have become smaller. Even chocolate bars have become smaller. So why not cars?

Oh yeh, because size somehow signifies social importance, and f*** the planet. Sigh.

This is the Wagon R’s successor, the Suzuki Every Wagon, and whilst the name is undoubtedly silly, we’d happily take one of these over a BMW X7. We could probably take three of them for a BMW X7 and still have room left over to be honest…

This one comes from previous bloggee Ralph Savelsberg, and there’s more to see of his kei creation at his photostream. Click the link above and think small. It’s all you really need anyway.

Half-Size Supercar

This is an Autozam AZ-1, and it’s awesome! Produced from 1992 to ’94, fewer than 5,000 units were built across all three brands that marketed it (Mazda, Mazda’s kei car brand Autozam, and Suzuki, who supplied the engine), with sales hampered by a high list price, collapsing economy, and it being weird even by the standards of the Japanese kei-class.

Effectively a 1:2 scale mid-engined gull-winged supercar, the AZ-1 we have here is even smaller, at 1:11, but it’s as packed with interestingness as the real thing. Built by syclone of Eurobricks, this brilliant Technic recreation of the coolest kei-car of them all features remote control drive, steering and headlights, a working steering wheel inside a detailed cabin, independent front and rear suspension, a working piston engine (in there somewhere!), and – of course – opening gull-wing doors.

Building instructions are available and there’s much more to see of syclone’s brilliant Autozam AZ-1, including a video of it in action, at the Eurobricks discussion forum. Take a look at this fantastic 1:11 recreation of a 1:2 supercar via the link above!

Smaller than Expected*

This may look like a normal cab-over light duty truck, but it is in fact a kei car, Japan’s microcar class in which vehicles can measure no longer than 3.4m, no wider than 1.48m, and have an engine size no greater than 660cc.

It is, therefore, absolutely tiny. Plus, obviously, it’s a Lego model, so it’s even smaller than that…

This superb Technic kei-class truck is a Daihatsu Hijet S110P, and it comes from syclone of Eurobricks who has packed it with an unfathomably large amount of features.

Under the really rather good exterior is a full remote control drivetrain, complete with all-wheel-suspension, all-wheel-drive, servo steering (linked to the steering wheel too), opening and locking doors, dropping bed side walls, and even working headlights.

There’s loads more of syclone’s Daihatsu Hijet to see at the Eurobricks forum, including a video of the kei truck in action. Take a look via the link above!

*That’s what she said.

Box Clever

Japan has two car markets; one for ‘normal’ cars like Corollas, Crowns and suchlike, and the other – the kei class – for vehicles such as these two.

Designed to ensure that car ownership in Japan’s tight streets and congested cities doesn’t completely break the road network, kei cars must measure less than 3.4m in length, 1.48m in width, and have an engine no bigger than 660cc (if powered by an internal combustion engine).

Denoted by their yellow number plates, kei cars benefit from lower taxation than regular cars, but they must comply with reduced speed limits too. Although that’s probably so they don’t fall over.

Over one in three cars sold in Japan are in the kei class, and the specs can be wild, with turbocharging, all-wheel-drive, and even convertible sports cars available.

Most kei cars however, look like these two; a box measuring exactly 3.4m long and 1.48m wide, precisely maximising the interior space within the permitted exterior dimensions.

The Daihatsu Move Canbus and the Honda N-Box Slash pictured here are both the work of Flickr’s Ralph Savelsberg, who has constructed them in his trademark Miniland style.

Each packs as much detail as possible into a tiny package, which is appropriate, and there’s more of each build to see at Ralph’s photostream. Click the link above to see what’s inside the box.

Purple Haze

The Honda Acty is not a fast car. In fact, in second generation 35bhp 550cc form, it is a very slow one. We therefore very much appreciate the mildly deranged mind of someone who decides to turn the 1980s kei van into a dragster. Cue Michael217, who has done just that, equipping his Model Team recreation of the Acty with dragster wheels, a wheelie bar, and a LEGO Buggy Motor – which explains the requirement for the first two items. Plus it’s purple.

There’s more to see of Michael’s brilliant remote control Honda Acty dragster at both Eurobricks and Bricksafe, and you can find today’s awesome title song by clicking here.

Cute Cops

Lego Daihatsu Mira Gino

We love Japan. It’s home to the newest technology, some of the world’s greatest cars, Takeshi’s Castle, and even a giant city-destroying lizard.

But for every amazing thing to come from Japan’s industrious population something completely perplexing will emerge too. Pokemon, used underwear vending machines (yes, really), and the Daihatsu Mira Gino all probably fit into this category. It’s the Gino we’re featuring here today, looking like a sort of tragic copy of an original Mini, and… er, resplendent in Japanese Police livery.

We Googled the Mira Gino and luckily for the Japanese cops we didn’t find one image of it in crime-fighting form, so Seiji N‘s Lego recreation is hopefully only a work of fiction. But it does look kinda cute…

You can see more of Seiji N’s Daihatsu Mira Gino police car at his Flickr photostream – click the link above to make the trip.

Lego Mira Gino