Surprised by Daihatsu

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Indy Lifestyle Online

I was reading up on Daihatsu's plans for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. For some reason I've never really given much thought to the company or its products; for some reason I had categorised it as a manufacturer of interchangeable, small, boxy cars.

The company website includes a section on Daihatsu's heritage; a virtual museum that goes from the first three-wheeled vehicle to the 1980 Mira. As well as the 1964 Compagno Berlina – the first Japanese car exported to the UK – it includes a 1960s coupé styled by Vignale (Italian coachbuilder, responsible for some beautiful bodies for Maserati, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo) and a sports racing car that looks a bit like a scaled-down Porsche 917. Have a look at http://www.daihatsu.com/brand/craftsmanship/classical/index.html.

As for the motor show line-up; the emphasis is on small, boxy vehicles. There the e:S a lightweight supermini concept that should do nearly 85mpg; Deca Deca, a versatile "super box" with a low floor and pilarless doors. The best concept is called "basket" an open four-seater designed for slow-placed life taking the family to the allotment. With its corrugated side panels and load space designed to carry dirty garden implements it looks as though Daihatsu has re-invented the Citroen Mehari (an obscure, plastic, utility version of the 2CV) for the 21st century.

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