The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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Someone Use Magic To Send My Ass To Daihatsu In The 1990s, Please

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If a magic horse were to come up to me today and tell me that if I pleasured them, physically, that horse would grant me a wish, I’d have my horse-pleasuring gloves on so fast your eyes would cross and the next thing you know there’d be one satisfied horse, a flash of bright blue light, and me, in 1990s Japan, surrounded by Daihatsu concept cars.

Really, if we could do it without the horse part, even better, but I just want to be clear about how much I love what Daihatsu was doing in the 1990s. Creativity and a genuine, palatable joy of living are dripping off pretty much every concept Daihatsu touched in the ‘90s, so let me just give you a quick little tour of a few of their concept cars, so, hopefully, you can understand.


Here we go.


1991 Mira Milano

Based on Daihatsu’s basic little Mira Kei car, the Milano version manages to transform that little hatchback into a living caricature of a Citroën 2CV, but still it’s own thing. It feels like Postmodern architecture and industrial equipment and a giant toy all at once.

Plus, I can “enjoy comfortable driving even in a mini skirt,” according to the flyer, which I’d give a try if it meant driving this wonderful thing.

This is somehow even more of whatever the Nissan S-Cargo is.


1989 Hijet Dumbo

Okay, it’s late 80s, but that’s basically ‘90s. I’m guessing this is called Dumbo because of the pachydermic-ear-like rear-view mirrors. This thing feels like an adorable, helpful robot. What kind of sorcery manages to so perfectly combine machine-like utilitarianism with a strange, animal-like sweetness? How do they do this shit?


1989 Fellow 90

Look at this thing! T-Tops! Novel sportscar-like proportions, but with a tall greenhouse! It’s fun and sort of tough and I can’t think of anything that looks quite like it.


1995 Midget III

This reminds me of a car from an alternate universe where the BMW 600 was a wild success and everyone was developing modern versions of that. But this has a central driving position, too! It looks thrilled just to be a part of whatever you’ve got planned.


1997 Akindo

I don’t hang up a single shirt I own, but I love a vehicle with room to hang up a goddamn wardrobe. Look how useful this little thing is, and that it has gullwing doors! Why aren’t these everywhere? Isn’t this the future?


1993 Personal 4

This eventually grew into the Daihatsu Copen, but I just wanted to show something that’s just conventionally pretty. What a charming little car.


1995 Town Cube

Never has cold, hard rational design been so cool.


1997 Naked

I just want to point out that Daihatsu isn’t just all show-car and no go-car. A concept like the Naked, with its exposed fasteners and wonderful machine-like look made it to production from this concept pretty much intact. Look:


Dammit, maybe I can at least take a vacation in 1990s Daihatsu? It’d be so wonderful. You can come with me! Let’s do it. Anyone know any magic horses that need some special attention?