Rare and Odd: 1965 Mitsubishi Minica

Mitsubishi Minica

When it comes to oddball cars, micro cars tend to take the cake as the oddest. The compact size usually leads to odd proportions and styling unlike anything else. If you know your micro car history, you know they’ve been around nearly as long as full size automobiles and that their popularity comes and goes based on government regulations and fuel prices. Every continent has had at least one decade in which they were popular, but one country stands out for having a near continual production of micros of various shapes and styles. After WWII, Japan was in need of cheap transportation and a boost to their economy, so the Kei car was born. This 1965 Mitsubishi Minica is a great example of the Kei car and is actually believed to be the only one on American roads. Take a look at it here on eBay or check it out in person in Gardena, California. One strange thing to note is that the seller also lists a Honda N600 with it, but doesn’t mention if it is included in the auction. Thanks to Jim S for this tip!

Minica engine bay

The Minica was based on the company’s 360 light duty truck and was powered by the same 359 cc air-cooled 2 stroke motor. In ’64 the Minica received a face lift and an updated motor, with an automatic oil mix system and an additional horsepower. All 18 horses are routed to the rear wheels of this Minica through a 4-speed manual transmission. The setup allows for a 55 mph top speed, but you’ll need a long stretch of road to ever see those kinds of speeds.

Minica Interior

As you can imagine, Kei cars tended to be quite simplistic. They needed to be both affordable and light enough for their tiny motors to propel them to usable speeds. The interior of the Minica is as Spartan as they come, which I find to be rather nice. There isn’t any of the clutter or mess of gauges and switches typically found in many modern cars or even some cars from the same era. For such a small car, there appears to be a surprising amount of space. I doubt I would want to make long journeys in it, but I’m sure it would be more than capable as a daily driver!

1965 Minica

In a time when nearly every small car is front wheel drive, it is great to see a micro car in the classic front engine rear wheel drive layout. With their low weight and traditional layout, I’ve heard that they can be surprisingly fun to drive. This one looks to be in nice shape and should make for a great project. I am curious as to why the seller included photos of the Honda, but never mentions it in their listing. If it comes with, this could be a great buy for two Kei cars! If both are included in the deal, which one would you want to keep, the Minica, the N600, or both?

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Comments

  1. Jim

    Looks like the Hillman Minx I had years ago. Same body style but this looks more compacted.

  2. stanleystalvey

    Oh my goodness. Look at that tiny, ugly little car. It’s so ugly it’s actually pretty. It’s pretty ugly.! Ok, don’t get mad I am just kidding. I would actually drive this and hopefully it would get 50 miles per gallon.. I’ve been making the gasoline payments since I was 9 years old and gas was 25 cents per gallon. I can’t seem to get this paid off. Maybe I can find a city in America where they have rickshaw or bicycles instead of cars..

  3. Murph

    This thing is adorable. I love microcars; always have, and always will. Just based on the fact that I am against boat-sized cars (which are just as nice, no hate), and that I cannot stand the prices (of gas), and how it was only a couple of cents to the litre many, many years ago. Eco-Cars for the win! ;-)

  4. Mark E

    Take it to a Mitsubishi meet and take home first prize in the ‘other’ category!

  5. Tom Cotrel

    I wonder if it could take a Subaru 360 at the stoplight?

    • Rick

      I would go with the Subaru 360. I had a Suzuki LJ (light jeep)in the early 70’s and it had a 359cc motor in it. With the gear ratios it had you clocked the speeds with a calendar not stopwatch. Still it was a blast to have, one of many vehicles I wish I had back.

  6. Clay Bryant

    When you restore a car most people use Coker tires but it looks like this one takes Coker tires. First 6.70/15 air cleaner I have ever seen.

  7. Kerneroptical

    Reminds me a lot of the Autobianchi Bianchina we use to have that was based on a Fiat 500 (with the engine in the rear).

  8. Scarecrow

    Wow this thing looks just like a Trabant :D

  9. RoB K

    Looks a lot like a DAF

    Like 1
  10. Chris H.

    I can’t help but look at it and immediately plan a devious and over-the-top engine and drivetrain swap. This needs to be a barking mad hoon-mobile in the worst sort of way!

  11. RickyM

    At first glance, side on it looks a bit like my first car, a Hillman Imp, but the engine’s at the wrong end !

  12. yanmarley

    I just asked the seller and he says that he will sell the Honda n600 also, however this auction is just for the Minica. Sorry Josh, but I guess anyone interested in the Honda could use the ebay “ask seller a question” route to find out how much he wants for it.

  13. Dan

    Almost looks like 67′ thru 69′ Camaro bucket seats…

  14. Mark E

    Glad I checked the comments here again first! Was gonna ‘ask seller a question’ to find out if the Honda was included. The bid still has not met reserve and I figured if the van was included that would help pick up bidding.

  15. Jesse Staff

    The auction ended at $2,325 with 16 bids, but the reserve was not met.

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