We live in an era where almost every car takes itself very, very seriously. Crappy Nissan Versas come in serious-business Anthracite Gray and glower at you like they’re BMWs. SUVs and crossovers wear big, serious tires and want you to think they’re tough. That’s why the Yamaha Ami is such a wonderful gift to humanity: it’s the one of the only cars factory-built to laugh at itself.
Fundamentally, the Yamaha Ami is a first-gen Daihatsu Opti kei-class car, and comes with a Kei-maximum 660cc engine making 55 screaming horses.
But that staid little Daihatsu hatch, when handed over to Yamaha’s YM_Mobilemates division, became something absolutely wonderful and unexpected: a tiny, cartoon version of a Ferrari F40, complete with a wing tall enough that you could use it as a standing desk.
The Opti was extensively modified to make the Ami; the doors and front fenders remained the same, but the roofline looked like it was modeled on a party balloon and the all-new boxy rear got some fake air intakes to suggest it was mid-engined like a Ferrari F40, which it wasn’t.
A set of four round taillights mimicked the Ferrari further, and the overall effect was unmistakable, hilarious, and charming.
Sadly, it seems like only three other people agreed with me enough to buy one, even though Yamaha very optimistically planned to build 600 of these!
They’re incredibly rare, of course, and the sad part is what’s even more rare is the car’s powerful “fuck it—let’s have some fun” attitude and concept.
I know it sounds crazy, but I think what the automotive world needs more of today is a big, wet injection of some ridiculous, underpowered Ferrari F40 knockoff juice.