On Saturday night my family and I were heading home after an Arizona Coyotes game. Waiting at a stop light a very small convertible rolled pass us, my wife was shocked at its diminutive size, and my son shared the sentiment. I explained that it was a kei car, a Japanese car largely developed for crowded cities in Japan where roads can be jammed, and parking is a premium.
Introduced in 1949, a kei car falls under strict government guidelines and is the smallest highway legal passenger car in Japan. The rules govern the vehicle’s maximum size, engine capacity, and horsepower. Kei cars have vehicle tax and insurance benefits.
Current parameters for a Japanese kei car:
Maximum length: 11.2 feet
Maximum width: 4.9 feet
Maximum engine displacement: 660cc
Maximum power: 63 horsepower
Due to U.S. federal laws you cannot import or register a foreign-market, non-federalized vehicle that is not at least 25-years old, but the Pick of the Day is 1991 Honda Beat kei car available on ClassicCars.com that’s eligible for you to register and drive in America. This right-hand drive, yellow convertible is for sale by a dealer in Palmetto, Florida for $11,595.
“Honda introduced the Beat in 1991 for the Japanese market, in the kei-car segment and it help re-invent the class,” the listing states on ClassicCars.com. “While most kei-cars were boring econoboxes with the Honda Beat being a completely different vehicle. It was designed to have fun while driving to your next destination. Honda made it for the customers who didn’t want to drive boring cars. It is a mid-engine roadster that could fit in the kei car regulations and started a culture.”
With seating for two, the Honda Beat tips the scale at 1,676 lbs and is powered by a 656cc inline-three engine that produced a factory-rated 63 bhp when new. The engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission and this Honda has a top speed of 83 mph.
“It has AC that needs a recharge R12, power windows, 4 wheel disc brakes, power steering, AM/FM/CD player, intermittent wipers, detachable steering wheel for added security, and allow wheels,” the listing notes.
If you need a fuel-efficient car to use in a congested urban environment this Honda Beat convertible is a pretty good option. Plus it’s more stylish and unique than a Smart Fortwo.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.