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Hagerty Employee

With quirky kei cars, it's easy as A-B-C

Think of your ideal sports car. If you’re anything like Colin Chapman, low curb weight will be top priority, so let’s shoot for under 2000 pounds. Rear-wheel-drive and a manual transmission are, obviously, a must. Four-wheel independent suspension and a limited-slip differential would be nice. I’m a fan of guilt-free driving; is Prius-level fuel economy out of the question? What about a 9000-rpm redline? Why no go for broke and  under $20,000?


Amazingly, three of these dream cars exist: the Autozam AZ-1, the Honda Beat, and the Suzuki Cappuccino. Otherwise known as the A-B-C kei cars.


So, why hasn’t everyone traded in their Corolla for one of the ABCs? There’s a catch. Even for sports cars, they’re wildly impractical.


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Advanced Driver

I'm not really looking forward to the time these become more ubiquitous in the US, and I start spending weekends picking them out of the wheels wells of my '56 Olds.

Pit Crew

With cars that small, you have to go with red or neon yellow.  Otherwise, you are just begging to be run over by a distracted driver. 

Intermediate Driver

I remember when the Subaru 360 came to the U.S.  One local radio station had a contest with the First Place winner getting a new Subaru 360.  The Second Place winner would get two (2) of them!