Pocket Rocket: 1991 Honda Beat

Roads are often smaller in Japan, so by necessity, there is a special class of vehicle devoted to these small roads. Kei cars have their own cult following here in the states, and the Honda Beat is highly sought after in its niche. It’s truly a unique vehicle in North America; there are no other mid-engined, 8,500 RPM, 656 cubic centimeter, convertible, rear-drive, manual transmission sports cars here. Because of its small size, high-revving engine, and almost perfect weight distribution, the Beat is a blast to drive. You can find this one here on eBay.

It looks like the seller likes quirky cars. In one of the pictures, you can see a ZE1 Insight, and I only bring it up because I used to own one and understand how criminally underrated they are. The seller of the Beat clearly knows how to spot underappreciated gems. They include no images of the engine, but it’s mounted behind the seats and in front of the rear storage compartment. For such a small convertible, you’re actually left with a lot of storage options. The little 656 cubic centimeter engine produced 63 horsepower at 8,100 RPM when new, and a five-speed manual was the only transmission option. It was the last car to be approved by company founder Soichiro Honda himself, and he obviously had good taste.

All of the nooks and crannies that are visible look clear of rust and rot, especially important in a convertible. They include no images of the undercarriage, though, and that’s worth noting. Japan does get snow in the northern regions, so depending on where this car spent most of its life, it might have seen some road salt. Regardless, the factory paint is exceptional for thirty years old. They say it’s got some blemishes, but from a distance, this would be a great car to bring to your local American muscle car show to confuse people.

Inside looks decent. There might be some missing trim pieces like the shift knob, but other than that, you’re good to go. This specific Beat has a particularly sought-after color-matched hardtop built by prominent Honda tuner Mugen, giving better weather seals and slightly more headroom than the soft top. 63 horsepower doesn’t sound like a lot, but remember: this car only weighs 1,600 pounds and is scarcely bigger than the typical American coffee table. 63 horsepower is all you need, and in a convertible like this, you’re not going to be able to stop smiling.

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Comments

  1. CCFisher

    I want to buy it solely to remove those yellow side skirts.

    Like 17
  2. Vegaman Dan

    I have a 94 Honda Acty truck with the same 660cc engine, but the horsepower is much lower at 37hp, so I wonder where they got that extra push, perhaps with EFI whereas the trucks got carbs?

    My truck can do freeway speeds, but it is happier in town. Pretty snappy for handling, and it always causes people to take a second glance. Being a 4WD vehicle, it is actually quite capable on and off road.

    Kei cars and trucks are a strange breed, so if you get one, be ready to answer curious onlookers. They are simply a blast to drive.

    Like 2
  3. Terrry

    So, if the car was hammered and in run-down shape, would it be called a Honda Beater? Anyway, this little automobile only weight 300 pounds more than my Can Am Spyder!

    Like 2
  4. AMCFAN

    In Japan the government TELLS the auto manufacturers what to build. Thus the Kei class. They are micro cars in the sense are very small. Think a new Mitsubishi Mirage is small? People gripe those are too small and no power at 78 hp.Well these are smaller.

    They are designed for roads in Japan. In town only. At 50 mph they are screaming. With all the quirkiness going on if that isn’t enough you are driving and shifting on the wrong side. If you are tall forget it.

    I follow many JDM sites and read parts are a problem and service is a nightmare. In the US if you can find a clean EG or EK Civic still the best way to go. A hatch with a stick and a/c is gold.

    Like 4
  5. Paul in Ma

    These sound great and can be drive 10/10ths on the street without being arrested. Listen to this sound https://youtu.be/EzoOLQ1oQ1Q

    Like 2
    • MattR Member

      Thanks for the link Paul. Now I want one!

  6. Rick in Oregon

    Terribly overpriced, nice examples can be had just above the Canadian border for less than half that price, even in Washington state well under the $10k mark…I’m pretty sure this seller is fishing for a sucker…..

    • Gdut

      Or maybe the seller is looking for a “sucker” who doesn’t read through to the end of the listing: “I am giving it away for $6,900.00 CANADIAN DOLLARS OR BEST OFFER. “

      Like 1
  7. wedrive

    OY! Not even sure where to start. We have a 1991 Beat and it is THE most fun car to drive! For purists, this one is an awful example. The two-tone paint is incorrect, the interior has been redone incorrectly, the wheels are aftermarket as-is the Pioneer stereo. There are other areas as well that have clearly been monkeyed with. We looked and waited a long time to find a really nice, clean correct original example–and it was worth the wait. And yes–this one–in this condition is wildly over-priced. Of course, this is all my opinion and I am sure others may feel differently.

    Like 1
  8. Araknid78

    BIN Price:C $16,900.00
    Approximately US $13,541.67

    Located in:
    Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

  9. chrlsful

    can’t see out, then RHD, nawhhh

  10. Car Nut Tacoma

    Nice looking car. It’s a shame they weren’t sold here in the States. I don’t know how safe they would’ve been on our freeways, but I can imagine it would’ve been fine for back roads and less driven roads.

  11. roland schoenke

    I have owned a Suzuki Carry, and now own a Honda Acty. I would love to get one of these because I think the trucks are fun and would have a blast in the bends.

  12. Bones in AK

    Seller say great condition….then currently does not start-needs going over

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