Other Kei cars....

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Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Thu Apr 17, 2014 09:40

Now that I have my Cappo, I'm considering another Kei car like the Honda Beat or the badge engineered Suzuki Cara/Autozam AZ-1. :)

I'm very familiar with the two variants of the Cappo: the EA11R and EA21R; thanks to the very comprehensive information on the SCORE website. So what I'm looking for is the equally-comprehensive info on the Beat and Cara/AZ-1's. (e.g. how many variants there are for each model and what their differences are etc.)

Can anyone assist, please? :)

And no, I'm not disposing of my Cappo - just adding to it... :D

Many thanks
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Fri Apr 18, 2014 16:24

Afaik there are no variants to either the Beat or the Cara/AZ1.

I don't know anyone with a Beat, but Marcel Spoelstra in NL has a Cara - you could PM him for more info if he doesn't spot this thread. One thing I do remember is that the seat gets very hot from the engine compartment right behind it, so maybe not the best choice for sweltering Oz.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Fri Apr 18, 2014 17:34

I have already sent a msg to Marcel in the NL regarding my intention to buying another Kei car; but I haven't heard back from him yet.

The Beat is just like the Cara/AZ-1 in that its engine is also behind the driver; and in the Aussie summer, having that engine there is not a good idea for obvious reasons! 8O

I read that the Honda Beat seems to be pretty popular on the Indian sub-continent (although there's no mention of the Cappo or Cara/AZ-1 over there); and one can imagine how hot and humid it gets in India! Wonder how those owners get over that [heated seats] problem...?? :confused:
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Fri Apr 18, 2014 20:21

Another thing about the Cara/AZ1 - the windows (apart from a little "ticket window") do not open.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Sat Apr 19, 2014 02:40

Ah! - That's inconvenient! :(

That looks like leaving the air-con switched on almost all year round!

"Ticket windows" are usually found on track/competition cars from the [now-defunct] Can-Am Series or [current] 24 Heures du Mans et al.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby John Matheson » Sat Apr 19, 2014 23:13

There is a reasonably good entry in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autozam_AZ-1

I have seen a red AZ-1 in Adelaide, so at least one made it to Australia. I have also seen one in Kyoto and took a couple of pictures. The AZ-1 is such a cute Testarossabino! At one stage I desperately wanted to own one, but it is very crude compared to a Cappuccino and I don't think I could live with the engine arrangement for day to day driving. Interestingly, at one stage I thought of buying a Smart Roadster thinking it would be a much more advanced design than a 1993 car. I took one for an extended test drive, but compared to the Cappuccino it is a POS IMHO. The engine location in such a small car is a disaster.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Sun Apr 20, 2014 02:18

Hi John

Now that's interesting! :)

Japanese cars are usually noted for their level of equipment and quirky use of space in a car's interior. Going on how the Cappo is kitted out, I thought they did a very good job with it considering the lack of space available. Following on for there, I would have expected a similar treatment with the [Honda] Beat, [Suzuki] Cara and [Autozam] AZ-1. But your description relayed a different story to me! 8O If you have images of the interiors, could I persuade you to send them to me, please? :) My email address is ccsparthenia@optusnet.com.au.

The rear-mounted transverse engine of the Cara/AZ-1 is as you said, a Testarossabino (sic) and you are probably quite accurate: Ferrari and Lamborghini have rear-mounted/midship engines in their current range of cars but their owners don't seem to mind it! So if the Cara/AZ-1 is just a scaled-down version of that same concept, what makes it unpleasant to drive? (I haven't seen one in real life let alone drive one...!) :o Ian Linden mentioned something earlier in this thread about the heat emission coming from behind the driver and passenger....

Like you, I also thought that the Smart Roadster is a POS (apologies to all Smart owners) so that one didn't come into my reckoning! Other [not so exciting to drive] Kei cars are the [Daihatsu] Copen and the [Nissan] Figaro(?). I have also given them the flick; which leaves just the Beat and Cara/AZ-1 - as likely stable mates to a Cappo which I already have.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby John Matheson » Sun Apr 20, 2014 03:13

I would still love an AZ-1, but not as an everyday car. The engine noise and heat would be too tiresome I think. There are plenty of interior pictures on the web: http://tinyurl.com/mx54w9q

BTW a gullwing door conversion is one of the most popular alterations to the Cappuccino in Japan: "https://www.google.com.au/search?safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&biw=1679&bih=914&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=カプチーノ+ガルウイング&oq=カプチーノ+ガルウイング&gs_l=img.12..0j0i24.35369.35369.0.37037.1.1.0.0.0.0.231.231.2-1.1.0....0...1c.2.41.img..0.1.230.bi3FZ9yKs9E"

You will have to copy and paste the whole URL as something breaks in the forum posting, and TinyURL doesn't work either.

Alternatively paste this カプチーノ ガルウイング into Google Images search.

For hours of fun seeing the wacky thing the Japanese do to Cappuccinos, bang this into Google Images: スズキカプチーノ
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Sun Apr 20, 2014 13:36

Had a look at the interiors of the Cara/AZ-1 and they don't appear to be too bad - perhaps just a touch underdone when compared to a Cappo! But I can live with that (Yep - I've seen far worse, believe me...) :roll: .

IMHO, I think putting in a gullwing door kit is a little outlandish for me; and as someone with conservative tastes [in car designs and originality], I feel that would really be too personalized! I would just keep the original-spec doors.

As for the rear-mounted engine heating up the passenger compartment, is there anyone out there who has found a solution? Ferrari and Lamborghini cars sport considerably larger engines which in turn mean a proportionate increase in heat emission. Yet to owners of these vehicles, their occupants remain cool and unruffled (with the air-con running) even after a long run.

There should be a heat insulating kit (even an after-market one) available for the Beat, AZ-1 and Cara, shouldn't there? :confused:

BTW, only the Cappo and Honda Beat are listed on the SEVS list. Unless someone puts the Cara/AZ-1 on that list, it would be nigh-on impossible to bring it into the country...
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Sun Apr 20, 2014 13:47

Chris da Silva wrote:
There should be a heat insulating kit (even an after-market one) available for the Beat, AZ-1 and Cara, shouldn't there? :confused:...


I wonder if there is any room to fit insulation. Perhaps other mid/rear-engined cars arrange for good airflow in the engine compartment to conduct the heat away, which would be more effective than insulation.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby John Matheson » Sun Apr 20, 2014 14:15

Correct Ian, the AZ-1 is very small and you are practically sitting on the engine. It is not a great design for NVH (noise, vibration & harshness). Fine for a track car, but tiresome for everyday driving, IMHO. I would still love to own one, as long as I had something else to drive everyday!

Some AZ-1's made it to Australia under the special import schemes that predated SEVS, which only started in 2003. Here is one that was up for auction at the 2007 Melbourne Motor Show: http://www.shannons.com.au/auctions/lot ... LZWWE09HW/
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Mon Apr 21, 2014 13:55

Had a look at the AZ-1 images from the Shannon's website and it looks very crowded in the engine compartment! I gather that this example [of the blue AZ-1] has since been sold.

I'm also beginning to think that insulation of any description (for noise and heat) is going to be an impossibility to fit. Again, this is unusual for a Japanese car because when they build a car, they are very meticulous (and thorough) about these small things which can cause problems!
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Mon Apr 21, 2014 14:01

I think the AZ-1/Cara is an example of form over function.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Mon Apr 21, 2014 17:28

Perhaps...but they got it just right with the Cappo.. :)
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Mon Apr 21, 2014 17:39

Chris da Silva wrote:Perhaps...but they got it just right with the Cappo.. :)


So they did :hearteyes:
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Sun May 25, 2014 13:17

Well, here I am, back again! :)

I haven't lost interest in the Cara/AZ-1 or the Beat; but perhaps one of you kind gentlemen out there in cyberspace can shed some light on the following...

The Cappo came in 2 principal guises, the EA11R (with an F6A engine) and EA21R (with the K6A), right? In that case, did the Cara/AZ-1 also follow suit? That is , for the last year(s) of their production run, did the Suzuki engine fitted to both badge-engineered models also go to the K6A? And was there an automatic box option too? :confused:
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Sun May 25, 2014 13:24

Afaik, the production ceased in 1994 (sales continued into 1995), and only the F6A engine was used.

There is some evidence that the production line actually closed in 1993, but that some unsold cars were re-bodied to try to shift them. See this site.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Sun May 25, 2014 13:33

Thanks, Ian. That would mean that none were fitted with the later K6A engine. Can I suppose that they were all equipped with 5-speed manual boxes too ...? (The Auto boxes came out in the autumn of 1995 with the second series - the EA21R's - of the Cappo...)
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Ian Linden » Sun May 25, 2014 13:35

I think that's a safe assumption.
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Re: Other Kei cars....

Postby Chris da Silva » Sun May 25, 2014 13:38

Might have to go through the whole shebang again with getting the Cara/AZ-1 on the SEVS list. :!: Will keep you posted. Cheers! :)
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