Owning the Honda S-MX has been an interesting experience. It’s my first example of a grey import, or a car that was sold new in Japan and had a life there, before a long trip at sea to begin a new life in the UK. If you like stuff that’s different, grey imports usually appeal.
From time to time, I find myself perusing the Japanese auction sites. I’m quite fond of the Daihatsu Tanto for instance, which is like my Honda, but squeezed down to the kei car regulations – in other words, not much longer than a Mini, with a 660cc engine. I could buy a 2004 Tanto for $2340, rising to $3470 delivered to Bristol docks. That’s £2764 for something tiny, interesting and oh so very different. Tempting!
The same importer has a Daihatsu Naked for sale, which is presumably Mira based as it also has a tiny 660cc engine.
The Naked, as well as having a very silly name, could be mine, delivered to Bristol docks for just £1514. That is seriously tempting.
For sure, there are more costs. A speedometer conversion is needed, so it reads in MPH, but an electronic unit can be fitted to do this – as it has been on my Honda. Then there’s the registration fee and probably £500 (roughly 33% of the shipping and car cost) of import duty.
I’m not sure either of the above tickle me quite enough to consider splurging such a sum of cash. However, there is one vehicle that really could tick the boxes if I could find one for sale. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce the Daihatsu Mira Walk Through Van!
Incredibly, that livery is an in-house design. This is an original Daihatsu promo shot. Perhaps this is one use they envisaged for this crazy little parcel wagon. It’s a bit like fitting a Luton body to a Mini. In fact, there were some Japanese companies that fitted Mini bodywork to these vans! There is just one seat, and many were just 550cc – with an automatic transmission! I absolutely adore them and I hope I can’t find one for sale. For my own sake.