With the prices of gas fluctuating, the trend has pushed automakers to produce cars and trucks that can squeeze the best gas mileage. Options such as Hybrid, bio-diesel, EVs, and natural gas are becoming more prevalent. Other than “green” tech rolling out the production line, we notice more smaller cars on the streets; Scion iQ, Nissan cube, Smart fourtwo, Fiat 500, and just the other day, I saw a Mitsubishi “i”. Are Kei-cars invading the US market? Honestly, these small economical “green” cars may be cheap, reliable and can be a mileage-meister, but they sure are ghastly.
One thing I admire about the Japanese car culture is they work with what they have. No matter what car they drove, they made/mod it their own; without an exception of the Kei-car culture. From VIPstyle, deko, Boso and race inspired, kei-cars were modified to fit one’s taste.
One good example is the Autozam AZ-1. Manufactured by Suzuki but sold by Mazda under the Autozam brand, the AZ-1 was a turbo-charged, MR(Mid-engine-RWD) 2 seater sport kei-car. It’s not the prettiest (looks like a squished NSX) but it’s one of the best platforms; a turbo MR with a gullwing yo!
It didn’t take long for Mazdaspeed and RE Amemiya to notice it’s potential. Mazdaspeed added aero, suspension and little engine mods. However, RE Amemiya totally transformed the car with a wide body aero kit, 20B 3 rotor engine, Porsche suspension, and Ferrari F40 brake setup. The only original AZ-1 part that was left was the gullwing doors.
Just shows that no matter what car you drive, take care of it, keep it clean and remember each car has it’s own unique quality; harness it. At the end of they day, you’re the one who parks it at night and turns of the lights.