Rather, a car full of playfulness that should be evaluated now
When it went on sale, it was “just a strange car and people didn’t even look at it.” However, as values changed in later generations, the popularity of the car increased, and there was a lot of noise about the car, saying, “Why aren’t you making a car like this now?” , there are many.
Honda’s “Vamos Honda” introduced this time is one of such cars, but if it is a car with an open top and no doors like a military vehicle, there are not many people who actually buy it. , In the first place, it will not sell as a current kei car where various equipment is compulsory.
Even so, if it is a car with a body of this design on a floor chassis like the Beetle (VW Type 1) as a “ultra-compact mobility (type-approved vehicle)” that is registered as a light vehicle but has lax collision safety standards, it will be from Asobi Gourma. There seems to be quite a demand for it, even for shipping.
Were you born too early?Unique light tiger, Vamos Honda
Basically, it is an open body with different sides based on the light tiger “TN III 360” released in November 1970.
Like the later Daihatsu Midget II, it has a spare tire in the middle between two round headlights, and except for the charming front mask, it looks like a military vehicle, but the front has independent strut suspension. The rear is a de Dion axle that is surprisingly flexible.
At first glance, it feels like an off-roader version of a light tiger, but at that time even part-time 4WD was not common, and speaking of 4WD mini cars, Suzuki Jimny (1st generation) debuted in the same year, or its predecessor, Hope Motors, Hope Star. About ON type 4WD.
In the compact class, the Isuzu Unicab (1967) was a FR car with a Jeep-like body, the first compact 4WD, and the Daihatsu Taft (first generation) was released in 1974. That’s Vamos Honda.
Three types are available: the 2-seater “Vamos Honda-2”, the 4-seater “Vamos Honda-4” with rear seats, and the 4-seater “Vamos Honda-Full Holo” that covers the cargo area in addition to the riding part. , I think it was easier to use for passenger use than the TN, which had no van body and was basically a truck for two people.
As a kind of light tiger, even in the news release at the time of its release, it was described as “optimal design for speedy business activities” and “a car that is perfect for work that particularly requires mobility”, but it is now called outdoor gear. It was clear that they were also considering leisure products.
The problem was that in 1970, when ordinary people began to buy their own cars, there were few users who wanted a car without a roof or doors. It was a car that the times and technology could not keep up with.”
Later, not only Honda, but also domestic cars, it was evaluated as a car that combines playfulness and practicality. .
For leisure, it is a pity that there is no canvas door
Instead of having doors, protective guard pipes were placed on the left and right, and safety awareness was so lacking that “there are seats for passengers, but there is no fall prevention equipment,” just like the auto three-wheelers until the mid-1950s. I haven’t done it, but it’s still an idea that there is no canvas door (hood door).
Currently, Toyota Auto Body’s (*not Toyota itself) EV minicar “COMS”, which is gradually gaining popularity as a kind of city commuter-like ultra-compact mobility, is comfortable and safe even with canvas doors. There are complaints and aspirations for hard door standard equipment.
Moreover, it doesn’t even have a canvas door, which even the original Jimny had, so it’s difficult to use in winter, and I don’t want to ride in the back seat, which is likely to get cold wind from the outside instead of the warm air from the heater.
Even outside of winter, the inside of the car will be soaked if it gets caught in the rain, and the front and rear seats are described as “tough canvas waterproof sheets”, but it seems to be quite difficult for leisure use unless consideration is given to waterproofing for humans.
Even in the catalog at the time, there was a photo of the car with the hood removed and leaning forward on a sunny day with the hood removed. It seems that it was a car that lacked the perspective of where to use it in Japan.
If there was a canvas door setting as an option, or at the end of the model, the end of production was regretted due to the focus on sales to the first Civic, or it might have been made in parallel with the TN.
There are regrettable issues in the appearance of being active as an active light truck
Even in the 2000s, it was still active in farms as a light truck, which is, so to speak, a “main business”. was seen occasionally.
Although it does not have a three-way swing like a normal light truck, it seems that it was not difficult to load and unload fertilizer bags and sandbags of about 10 to 20 kg.
However, in the “orchard” where the open top seems to be the most useful, the roll bar for leisure use and the integrated front windshield are rather obstructive.
In actual orchards, instead of cutting the license plate and giving up driving on public roads, many “orchard specification light trucks” are used that can be harvested while riding by cutting the roof of the cabin.
If the Vamos Honda had a mechanism to fold the windshield forward and fold or remove the roll bar like the Jeep and the first generation Jimny, there would have been a certain demand as a “light truck for orchards”. Huh?
Whether it’s for leisure or for business use, there are many parts of Vamos Honda that you can think of as “If you do this here, the materials are good, so it should have been evaluated at the time!” It’s a pity that it ended in one generation without being made.
While saying, “A car that can be used infinitely depending on the ideas of the rider” (official news release), the manufacturer’s lack of consideration narrowed the possibilities, and it did not sell well, so Oshimai is a little too lonely. It is one of the Honda cars that I want you to make a comeback with ultra-compact mobility.
* The author information of the images used in this article is as of the publication date.