For awhile now I have been wracking my brain on what I should buy next as a daily. I had a decent budget, but we want to buy another house in the next couple of years, so I decided to dial it back a bit. The higher horsepower cars can come till after we have a better garage setup and we have our new place. I don't really know what got me started on the subject of K-cars this time around, but I have been looking at the Beat off and on for a couple of years now.
I started looking at my options for K-Cars (wiki link), and first started looking at the Nissan Pao and then the Nissan Figaro. Both of them didn't have much aftermarket support. At that time I was still looking for a car with a back seat. In further discussions with the wife, as it will be used as my commuter (we carpool most of the time and have a Q5 TDI for this), I didn't really need a back seat... So, I started looking at roadsters again, mainly because I missed my S2000 a ton.
The Beat (wiki link) is a Mid Engine, RWD, roadster with a 660cc engine, producing 64hp. It is 3 cyl engine, and can rev up to the 8000rpm range in stock form. With an ECU tune, it can rev up to 10,000 rpm. It is a fairly high strung motor, so aftermarket products only raise the HP negligibly, similar to the S2K.
I started looking at ways that I could import a car from Japan and came across some reviews for Pacific Coast JDM. The reviews were very good and I decided to pull the trigger to start the process. Derek the owner, has been very responsive and helpful with answering any questions I have had. You pay 100,000 yen as a deposit, and they get you signed up with an auction account to multiple auction sites and have a nice portal to be able to see all of them at the same time. The service also offers translation of the auction sheets and bidding on your behalf for the auction. Derek does a good job of trying to keep you in line with not bidding too much or to stay away from a car that seem like it might be a bad deal.
I bid on one car and didn't get it, as it went slightly above my max. It still went cheap, but had some major corrosion issues and I mainly wanted it for the parts. About a week later another car came up for sale, it was a one owner with original paperwork and 10 years of history (not that I can read Japanese). I bid my max and thankfully the car didn't sell for that, but still sold for a very fair price. It has around 30,000 miles on it.
Auction sheet for the car:
Translation of the auction sheet:
HAA Kobe 60966 (plus 12,000 yen transport)
5sp, AC, PW, AW
Purchased from user
Mugen aero parts - front, side, rear
Original rear spoiler
History from 1994 - 2014 x11 sheets
Front tower bar - aftermarket
Exhaust centre exit
Aero parts scratched
Windshield rock chip
Interior dirty, scratched
Exterior has one part paint cracked and paint peeling
Underside surface rust and corrosion (the corrosion should be repaired, usually we don’t recommend these cars but this one is otherwise very nice so it might be worth it to buy with the intent of repairing that)
Rear spoiler paint fade
Various scratches, dents
Rear bumper misaligned
The grade pretty much maxes out at 5, so this one being a 4 is actually pretty nice considering the age of the car. The rating of the exterior and interior was a B, with A being the best. A rating of a B for this old of a car is pretty good as well. For the rest of it, you can see how detailed they get with the sheet. They do call out issues with the engine if they feel like it isn't running right.
At this point, I have been invoiced and paid for the car. The car will be shipped from the auction house to Pacific Coast JDM, where they will check it over and take around 80 photos plus 10 minutes of video. If they find any major issues that were not disclosed, I have the right to refuse the car (I don't think this will happen). I can also choose to have them help facilitate repairs if needed. Then they will arrange to have it shipped. They also already have a relationship with a local customs broker and have set that up for me already (it's mandatory for the US). So, I am still looking at a couple months before I'll have the car.
Yes, the zebra interior is factory.
Believe it or not, the Mugen aerokit on it was a factory option, so the car is still mostly stock with the exception of the front strut bar and exhaust. I plan to continue the OEM+ theme on it, similar to how I built my S2K. Since, I bought it for so little, I still have a budget to be able to modify it, and I hope I really do enjoy it. I am expecting the fun factor that I from my Classic Minis as it is similar in size, but just a few more modern amenities in it.