Limerence Motor Co. is proud to present what may be the lowest mile and most unmodified example of a Honda Beat Version Z in the United States!
Exclusive to the Japan market between 1991 and 1996, the Honda Beat is not like any car you can or could buy new in the United States. It's absolutely minuscule, lacking in any ability to store anything besides a half gallon of milk, but that's where anyone with anyone bad to say about this car has to stop. And for some, maybe it's not so bad to be small.
The reason a vehicle like this exists is to oblige the regulations to remain in the lowest annual tax bracket in Japan. In the land of the rising sun, vehicle owners are assessed an annual road tax depending on the dimensions and displacement of the vehicle they own. Vehicles are organized into classes, and that class has a particular tax associated with it that you must pay in order to continue to own your car. In the 1990s, the class with the lowest tax assessment, referred to as "Kei-jidosha" or "light vehicle" consisted of vehicles that were no larger than 3.3 meters long, 1.4 meters wide, and 2 meters tall. Their engines also had to displace 660cc's or less in order to comply.
As you might imagine, auto manufacturers for the Japan domestic market wanted to supply cars to frugal-minded owners and so, for the most part, designed vehicles that filled the dimensional restrictions close to bursting. After all, frugally minded folks probably intended their cars to at least carry goods if not people. Most Kei-class cars closely resemble boxes on wheels, and the kei-class car most are familiar with in the United States is the infamous "mini-truck". Cab-over, short bed, and typically 4WD and manual, kei-trucks are popular as farm vehicles, rolling marketing for business who haul small items around, and efficient get around vehicles for hobbyists. But this mentality was flipped on it's head in the early 90s, when Japanese auto manufacturers set their sights on not efficient, cheap, transportation, but on DRIVING AMUSEMENT.
I say it this way because the Beat has two slogans hidden in various places around the car. The first is (and yes, in all caps): MIDSHIP AMUSEMENT. "Midship" refers to the fact that the engine is mounted between the rear axle and the front seats. Access is via a bolted down panel beneath the rear deck where the convertible top lays when retracted. The second slogan is (and again, in all caps): OPEN-AIR MOTORING. Printed on the floor mats, it's telling you, put the top down and enjoy the sound of this 8500 RPM 3 cylinder equipped with individual throttle bodies that revs like a motorbike.
Honda set the bar high for other manufacturers in this segment. Other competitors, like the Autozam (read Mazda) AZ-1 and the Suzuki Cappuccino, sought power despite the displacement limitations by way of turbocharging. Not so with the Honda Beat, all motor here, and it's unlike anything you can get on 4 wheels.
Driving the rear wheels, the engine sends power via a 5 speed manual transmission. Let's take a moment to talk about Honda manuals from the 90s. They shift with the confidence and clarity of cars 50 times as expensive. Looking back, you can say anything you want about what was a naturally aspirated golden era for Honda, but if you haven't experienced what it's like to shift one of their machines at high RPM, you don't know what you've been missing. This is probably one of the best examples of what Honda could offer. Using this tiny gear lever is an experience that's almost telepathic. After the first few shifts, you completely forget that it's there, your hand finds it and places it into gear correctly every time, no vagueness, no guessing which gear you're in, and this fully engrosses you in the other elements of the driving experience. The manual steering rack is precise and not darty, the light weight translates your momentum around corners with ease, and the braking is quick and confidence inspiring. This car may be small, but it's balance is quintessential Japanese motoring.
So enough history and rhetoric. This example here is special for a few reasons. First and foremost, the condition. Sporting just under 19,000 KM (~12k miles), this Beat appears just as it did off the showroom floor. It has accrued a couple of paint imperfections in the intervening years, but these are limited to very minor items that would bother only people looking to put this in a museum. Which would not be a bad place for this example to end up. Second, it's completely intact and original. All of the important goodies are here, the virtually un-sat-in White Tiger interior, complete with matching Honda OEM floor-mats, the Honda installed Gathers audio system with dash speaker pods and a 4-disk changer in the trunk, the Momo steering wheel, alloy phone dial wheels, and even the original spare. It is unknown how many of the Version Z cars were made, however, they were the highest spec production version. Distinguished by a black gauge cluster instead of the original white, Version Z came in two colors, this here Blade Silver Metallic, or Everglade Green Metallic. The options listed above were standard on the Version Z, and there was an optional factory trunk spoiler available. Total production of the Honda Beat was just over 33,000 vehicles between 1991 and 1996, the vast majority of which were produced in 1991 and 1992, making later models considerably rarer.
So what are you waiting for? Time to jump in and enjoy an experience unlike any other. Park it in a show room and admire it, or better yet, do what it was meant to do, and find a backroad or two and unlock pure OPEN AIR MOTORING MIDSHIP AMUSEMENT.
It's also worth noting to interested buyers that there is a very active English speaking community behind these cars. All the potential issues are well documented and parts availability is still high. Certain important items, such as the floor mats and seat fabric, are highly valuable in this community, but fortunately, with this model, you won't have to worry about that! Many models continue to bring smiles well over 100K miles in.
Talk to us about the 1994 Honda Beat PP1 Version Z by filling out the form below. We will get back to you as soon as we can!