1991 Custom Honda Beat

Sold: $8,495

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Stock Number: 4146

Pedigree and heritage mean something and Soichiro Honda believed that in the fiber of his being. Mr. Honda had many core values, each of which trickled down to Honda engineering and design staff. Simplicity, reliability, and joy all come to mind when describing the Honda Beat. As the last car personally signed off on by Soichiro Honda, is has come to symbolize much of what is great about the Honda brand. This 1991 was redone in a striking Space Gray Metallic (A52); this custom color stands out against in a sea of typically red and yellow Beats that make up most of the US imports. The body is in good shape, other than some minor scuffs and scratches. Fashioned with a brand new top, tasty manual gearbox, and factory individual throttle bodies, the Beat is perhaps the most fun one can have, legally, on four wheels.

Size is always a consideration when designing a Kei vehicle. Balancing comfort, performance, and ease of service were all considerations in this radical Kei platform. To save space and promote balance, Honda mounted the motor and transmission behind the driver in a midship position. This opens up the interior to loads more storage options and created a sloping cockpit that provides lots of visibility. Wider than many competitors, such as the Cappuccino, the little Honda is pretty easy to climb in and out of. The top peels off to provide infinite headroom and can be dropped without having to exit the vehicle. The new Robbins top does have the usual dime-size tears by the rearward window edges, but the material is taut and uniform in color. Electric windows and factory aircon are surprising convenience features, but the next owner of this vehicle will likely only care about how it drives. The zebra striped seats are still well-bolstered and provide tons of comfort on long drives. The material does suffer from the typical driver bolster tears but is otherwise supportive. The dash is uncracked, and undistorted, and features nonoperational Gathers speakers. The center-mounted driver's cluster, a race inspired design, sits directly in front of the pilot. Except for the tach, the gauges work properly and are well illuminated. The carpets and door panels are in fine shape as well, but the best part of the platform is beneath the body.

Utilizing the same mid-engine, rear-drive layout as exotic sports cars, the three-cylinder E07A has the best soundtrack of any of Japan's microcars. With only 62K verified miles on this Honda powerplant, it is only just now getting broken in. The high revving 656cc mill also features factory individual throttles bodies and a custom straight pipe exhaust with real carbon fiber tips. It has benefitted from an oil and filter service and doesn't require maintenance for another five thousand kilometers. Upon startup, the fuel-injected Beat settles into a constant idle. A new fuel pump was installed when the vehicle arrived to us to ensure this Honda stays reliable. The revs climb to kingdom come, and the little terror accelerates up to highways speeds without an issue. The suspension is surprisingly compliant, does well over anything but the largest potholes. The brakes are incredible, although the Beats lightweight dimensions are probably responsible for that. The size and short wheelbase allow for superior handling in tight, technical turns. To further performance, one of our trained technicians has mounted some all-season, low profile rubber at all four corners on the 15 inch refinished alloys.

This pint-size drop-top delivers wonderful efficiency, Honda reliability, and top-notch driving dynamics. This one-off Beat is surely an instant Japanese classic.

*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB compliant first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.

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