My love of Kei cars started when I first laid eyes upon a little yellow Honda Beat, with no one to love it I figured it needed me as much as I needed it.
In 2006 I started the car club ‘Kei Kars in the Park’ for fellow Kei car owners. As part of that I spent a great deal of time and effort publishing articles on the various Kei car variates. Claims to fame include helping the BBC research teams with information for shows such as ‘James May’s Cars of the People’ and providing press releases for automotive magazines.
Restricted by law to 660cc and 64bhp as well as their physical size, Kei cars were the answer to the Japanese post-war slump in production and limited land to build on. Kei cars are exempt from regulations applied to their larger cousins and enjoy benefits such as being permitted to park in non-approved parking spots. Their small physical size allows them to dart about the Japanese towns more easily than the larger vehicles, but limit the available size for full scale safety application. Though most were offered with air bags it’s probably not wise to take on a large truck; hence the restriction on power.
The most popular Kei cars hail from the 90s, but Honda and Daihatsu are bringing out some wonderful new models such as the 660S and the new Kopen. The club hosts an annual gathering in autumn, so if you’re interested in learning more feel free to pop along.
You can visit www.KKITP.com for more information on the club and Kei cars.