Looking for a no-frills Japanese classic that’s certain to turn heads? No, not George Takei.
Since the NHTSA’s 25-year exemption on foreign vehicles means that anything built before May 1991 is now A-OK to bring to the U.S., the Canadian owner of a ’91 Honda Beat listed on eBay hopes to cash in with American car buyers.
Honda’s 1991-96 two-seat Beat convertible was supposedly the last car approved by company founder Soichiro Honda, who died in August 1991. The car is small, both in stature (less than 11 feet long) and power (665cc SOHC inline 3-cylinder engine). And it isn’t very fast, either. But what the heck, since there aren’t many around you can own a vehicle that will remain rather unique for a while.
The owner of this Beat, listed on eBay, writes: “Selling my 1991 Honda Beat from Japan. Own a trendy micro car that works for the city! 2-door convertible, 5-speed manual sports car with only 55,555 km on the odometer (that’s about 34,600 miles) … It's fun. Turn corners FAST and flat. Just like a go kart for the streets. It's reliable, good condition. Fuel efficient 660cc slant-mounted inline 3-cylinder with MTREC technology (no not VTEC), and it sounds like a Porsche 993 when revved up.”
Among the features listed are power windows (which work) and air conditioning (faulty electromagnetic clutch).
“You won't find a cooler micro-car on this side of the Pacific! Turns heads everywhere you go! You won't believe the attention this little car gets on the streets!”
And, by the way … “Small rust spot under the door sills (not through yet) and a new roof is recommended for all-season motoring. Runs and drives excellent like a motorcycle on four wheels!”
Considering the number of “new” Japanese classics now available, AutoWeek wrote recently: “(The Beat) looks a little like an MR2 that shrunk in the wash… (But it is) said to be nimble, quick-feeling and well-engineered, due to its diminutive size and less-is-more design philosophy. And until someone locks all of Honda’s accountants in a room and loses the key, a freshly importable Beat is probably the closest you’re going to get to enjoying the purist roadster fun of the new S660 in the United States.”
If you’re interested, check it out here.