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1:1 Daihatsu Copen ^^
Well, actually... no kit, but the size of my current car almost makes it fit into the non-anime category ;) Picture was taken during holidays on Germayn's most northern island, Sylt, in 2008, I think.
I am a big fan of Japanese kei cars and was pleased when Daihatsu announced the export of their Copen roadster, which was almost 100% identical with the car study/concept car that had been prestented at Tokio Motor Show 2 years before. Not only became such a car available around here, it also had official manufacturer support, a guarantee, and the like. I HAD to get one...
My car is a specimen from the first export series, and one of the first Copen to drive in Germany in private hands (have it since Jan. 2004) at all . Everything is original, it is a slightly modified Japanese Copen with the steering wheel still on the right side and with the original 660cm? turbocharged engine with 68hp - just modified enough to comply with the rigid German legal car standards.
I am glad that I have one of the early export version cars, because this is just as authentic as it can get. 2 years later, Daihatsu introduced a left side steering wheel version for the European market, with a huge spoiler on the trunk lid (much like the 1st generation Audi TT, after instability troubles at high speeds) and a 1.2l 16V engine (which does not need service every 6 months...). More practical, but also much more boring and simply a compromise for European tastes. Boo!
Even though it is small, this is a true sports car. With only 890kg weight (due to lots of aluminium and tailored steel sheets, despite the hydraulic roof mechanism and lots of electric gadgets and an airco) and a low center of gravity, this car is fast and very agile. The German version even runs free and reaches 110mph top speed (the Japanese original is limited) and does 0-60mph in about 10 sec. . The small size increases subjective speed, too, and the turbocharged engine makes a great sound! But you just get no respect with it on the motorways... As a compensation, insurance and taxes are dirty cheap, and it just consumes about 7l/100km, or 39 MPG!
I am very happy with the Copen. It is amazing how much fun you can have with so little of a car, and it even looks good. I hope I can keep it a couple of years!
My latest car.
New car! Dad had owned this for several years now, but he just upgraded, so the Maxima became available.
I have been critical of these in the past, particularly in regards to the steering and suspension (I still think it would be a heck of a lot better if it were rear-wheel-drive), but even though it's four years older than my Pontiac, and with 60,000 more kms on the odometer, it's still a big upgrade for me. The Pontiac served its purpose admirably in being cheap transportation while I was going through several big life changes (marriage, buying a house, etc.), but now that things have settled, something bigger and comfier was in order. Highway travel, which is about 85% of my driving, is infinitely more pleasurable in this, with more power, a smoother and quieter ride, and cruise control.
I've really warmed up to this thing already. :-)
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