Before Honda discovered Jazz, or got Fit, they had a pet Bulldog. Right now, Nice Price or Crack Pipe wants to know if $5,500 for this Kei Cur will get your tail wagging.
Pretty much nobody was green with envy over yesterday's gray market Volvo diesel. In fact, the crack pipe lever was yanked by a bile-fueled 76% of you, stomping the 240 to death under your heavy carbon footprints, and making blue Volvo blue.
Upon its introduction in 1981, the original Honda City was most often equated by contemporary testers to a telephone booth on roller skates. When Hirotoshi Honda (son of founder Soichiro, and founder himself of Mugen) suggested dropping a turbocharged version of the 1,237-cc four cylinder into the car, that phone booth suddenly had a party going on.
Luftballoons horsepower might not seem a lot, but corralling all those ponies under the hood of a car that weighs less than 1,600-lbs can make for one rabid dog. That favorable power to weight ratio made the Turbo II good for zero to 100Km/h (about 62-mph) runs of eight and a half seconds- not far off of a contemporary Mustang GT's time. Helping keep the phonebooth earthbound are wider 165/70HR12 chew toys tucked under flared fenders. It was those wide-stance fenders, as well as the aggressive be-fog lighted airdam, that gave the car its hunkered-down appearance, and engendered the nickname of Bulldog, which has stuck with it ever since.
This 1983 City II Turbo - Bulldog comes from our favorite Canadian eBay-er of Kei cars, and, at 27 years old, is now able to slip across the border without waiting for the cover of darkness. The whiter than Jack White paint isn't the best for showing off the little car's muscles, and the Hello Kitty sticker on the grill is kind of Konnichi-wa-wa, but the seller recommends a new paint job anyway. The interior of this 73,000-mile Bulldog looks a little ruff, and you'll have to get used to shifting the close-ratio five speed with your left hand because the aftermarket driver's seat is on the right. Sadly missing is the 50-cc fold up scooter - optional on these cars, and fit under the hatch - but hey, that's what eBay is for, dawg!
The engine lacks some of Honda's more recent acronyms like VTEC, but it does have the PGM-FI electronic fuel injection feeding the cylinders, each of which also get an intercooled charge from the IHI RHB51 turbo. Take a look under the "O" in turbo on the valve cover, and you'll see another cool weight-saving measure, which was a magnesium cam cover capping the aluminum head. Brakes are demitasse-saucer discs up front and cinderella-shoed drums out back.
It's hard to tell from the pictures just how small this car is, but there's only 87-inches between the centers of those brakes, and its 342-cm overall length is only 73-mm longer than a Smart Fortwo. That means that, like the Smart, you can park it sideways on the street- you'll get a ticket, but the point is, you could do it. You could also start a clown-shuttle service as I understand they like their cars on the small side. Finally, despite being nick-named for a medium-sized dog, it's really Chihuahua-esque, and it even kinda' has those bug eyes.
So, for $5,500, is this a Bulldog whose ass you'd sniff? Or, for that kind of change, is it off to the pound with it?