RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


Fight for the Right!

A new challenger appears!

Since Quebec has banned right hand drive cars, there has been a lot of stir. The latest movement is on the part of Dominique Poirier, a fellow right hand driver. He has recently founded the Vehicle Choice Freedom Foundation to fight the change that Quebec has made. Dom has been part of the fight for a long time, but this is a solid rallying point for Quebec RHDers.

He's organizing a rally on September 6th (Labour Day) and all Quebec RHD drivers and supporters should head out to support the cause.

Dom: Thanks for creating a rallying point for our common cause. We're all behind you.

Somewhat related

I thought this was odd.... someone posted a link to my site on the CNet forums.  It looks 1/2 like spam, 1/2 like a cudos.  I'm flattered either way.  I just REALLY like the title: Speakeasy: Quebec, so left wing they won't even allow Right Hand Drive. I don't even think it makes sense... but it's awesome.

Site news

Other news: Site is back up. The cable internet connection at my new place was totally fubar'd. There'll be spotty service until my servers settle into their permanent spots in the house. Bear with me during these changes.

Delica Meetup in BC

I can only approve of this.  I'm glad to see people getting together and enjoying their Right Hand Drives.  AMAZING photos on the site helps too!  Cudos to Delica.ca's members for organizing this and sharing!


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Citroen Racing in the UK & site news

Citroens line up to race! Image from bbc.co.uk

I'm glad that Canada/North America isn't the only place that reveres old vehicles. I just stumbled across a great race that happens in Wales. It's a 24 hour race, where the only vehicles allowed to race are Citroen 2CVs.  Great idea!

Check out the article here, and a video here!

All that aside, there'll be some server downtime this coming weekend.  The server will be under maintenance from Thursday or Friday night to Monday or Tuesday.

Sorry for the inconvenience.



Skirting the law

There are a few ways of skirting the law to get an RHD into your hands in Canada that would otherwise be impossible. This isn't supposed to be a tutorial on how to skirt the law, but as a way of avoiding accidentally getting one that has been illegally (or legally-grey so the legality is questionable) put on the roads.

How people illegally register RHDs that aren't 15+ years old

The VIN number swap - this one is pretty obvious and the most common. Buy two cars, one legal LHD and one illegal RHD.  Say you did a right hand drive conversion... take the VIN off the LHD, put it on the RHD. Done. This is called 'VIN Fraud', and is illegal. If you do a proper RHD conversion..... it's... well... it's complicated. That topic will come up later when I know more about the legal side of it. Buyer beware of these if you're in the market.

Insuring as a different car - "Yeah, it's uhhh... a Nissan Sentra......." Yeah right. This is about as legal as swapping VINs. You're insuring one car as another. If you get in an accident you might not be covered by insurance.

Not actually importing the car officially - The registrar of imported vehicles won't give you the paperwork to insure your fancy RHD that just came off the boat.  You have it as a shiny paperweight on your driveway. Well, you can find plates for it somewhere and just drive it! Yeah, that means you're driving without insurance.

Have the car insured somewhere legally and drive it in Canada - Now you're getting clever. This is possibly legal, depending on your insurer.  Most insurers require the vehicle and owner be in the province/country/state/place where the vehicle is insured for some amount of time per year. So, again, if you're not smart you're driving without insurance.

Illegal stuff on Legal RHDs

JIS logo you may see on your car

This can happen too, and you need to protect yourself from it.

Compliance - I talked a little about this last week, and still implore you to go to ivoac.ca if you have compliance questions. I've heard of a lot to bad stuff going on here.  Not all provinces will accept JIS (Japanese equivalent of DOT) as acceptable parts for cars.  This really affects headlights, seatbelts and taillights. Some people that can't find a good DOT replacement stamp DOT onto the non-DOT stuff, or in the case of seatbelts, will sew on DOT tags from a different car.  Clever, yes.... highly illegal?  Yes. Adding fraud to a list of offenses.... not clever.

Aftermarket mods - This is a common problem for any car, not just RHDs.  People like shiny things that just aren't legal.  Tires that stick out further than the fenders, taking off catalytic converters, not street legal tires (racing or offroad).... the list goes on.  Any old codger car buff can tell you all the stuff that he's done to cars that's illegal.

In Conclusion

The new JIS logo, as of 2008

Ok, so what does it matter that you're driving without insurance. Other than the fact it's illegal, if you get in an accident you are liable to pay all the bills even if the accident wasn't your fault. If you wrecked someone else's car.... you're buying them a new one. If you maim someone, you're paying their wage for the rest of their life. Well, it might not be quite that bad, but it's not inconceivable.

You're allowed to love and want an RHD, but don't bring the RHD name down by being an idiot.


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He’s got the Beat, he’s got the Beat….

91 Honda Beat

I recently met with Barry, who is the owner of a 91 Honda Beat, to take some beauty shots of the Beat and to ask him about his experiences. Photographs by Derek Martens, who did a fantastic job capturing the Beat. More photos can be seen in the gallery.

Righthanddrive.ca: Great ride! Did you import yourself, or buy it once it was in Canada?

Barry: I know some people who do importing and worked with them to get this car across. Shipping was very cheap, since the car takes up very little room. The shipping I used charged a rate per cubic foot, and the Beat isn't really very big at all.

Righthanddrive.ca: Any troubles getting it a safety and getting it on the road?

Barry: Not really. Japanese cars are usually in very good condition when they get to Canada. I had to add some extra lighting. Canada requires that signal lights are visible on the side of vehicles, while Japan does not. I bought some DOT markers with LEDs and a wired them in right before the door and right near the rear of the car. It wasn't too hard. There were a few other things, but nothing too major.

Righthanddrive.ca: What about parts for something as rare as this?

Overhead view of the Beat

Barry: Amazingly easy. Tie-rod ends, oil filter and many other mechanical parts are the same on the same aged civics. There's some things that are going to be more difficult to get, but there's a great Honda Beat club in the UK that parts out Beats for reasonable prices.

Righthanddrive.ca: What kind of modifications have you made?

Barry: The main thing I did was replace the radio. Since I brought it in myself it still had the stock Japanese radio. The Japanese FM band is different than here in Canada, so it would only get AM... which isn't great. Replacing the radio wasn't quite as simple as it should have been. I couldn't find a deck that had the same dimensions as the existing one, so I had to modify the dash and widen the hole for the deck. While I was in there I put a sub in the front (which I had to put into the spare tire) and some speakers behind the seats. It's kind of a big portable radio now.

I also had to make a custom tonneau cover for the convertible top and the speakers. It wasn't hard, but it wasn't easy.

Righthanddrive.ca: Well, since this is here on the prairies, how does it do on the highway?

Front end of the Beat

It does highway, yes.

It's revving pretty high... about 5000rpm. It's not too bad, and handles pretty well at 100. I guess the 3 cylinder doesn't have the power to push it that fast without revving it up a bit. I've had it up to about 140, where the speed limiter kicks in.

Righthanddrive.ca: Any problems driving it in Canada?

No... well.... I've been pulled over a couple of times. Each time the officers ask me what the car is and where I got it from. I guess it's so unique that they just feel that they have to check it out! Other than that there's just a lot of people who watch me drive. I'd say most people in Winnipeg or Canada haven't seen one before, and are surprised by the Honda badge.

Righthanddrive.ca: It has to be asked.... how much room is in there?

Well, I wouldn't want to be much taller! I can fit in fine, but I don't think too many people bigger than me could fit into this car.

Righthanddrive.ca: What does 'Midship Amusement' mean?

Midship Amusement?

Barry: Honestly... I don't really know. Functionally, it could mean the mid-engine... that is amusing.  Or, it's Engrish... Which is more likely.

Righthanddrive.ca: Thanks for your time! You've been great. Hope to see you around!

Some Honda Beat facts and stats:

MR drivetrain: The 3 cylinder motor is mounted over the back axle, which makes the car very well balanced, much like 1st generation (and to a lesser extent, 2nd generation) MR-2s.

The Beat is a Kei car, following the same regulations as Kei trucks and microvans. the 660cc (that's about 40 cubic inches) does well in the beat, due to the very light weight of the car.

Since the car is light, well-balanced and rear-wheel drive Beats are often modified to be used in Autocross-style events.
The Beat was only made in a convertible model, much like the Mazda Miata (or Eunos Roadster.... since this is a right hand drive website) was only produced as a convertible.

Thanks again to Derek and Barry for their help!



Right hand drive in a parking garage

Doing the drive through

There's a big post coming up next week... I'll leave this here to tide you over!

Hope you all had a good week!



Winnipeg Meetup Review

660 Action!

660s At the meet

I give it a resounding ok. Not a huge turnout, but given the circumstances.... we'll call it a 'win'.

For those who don't know, meeting at the Pony Corral is a Winnipeg tradition, but it's better known for the 60s and 70s muscle cars. So, some rhd-ers where a little intimidated (though most of them have more horsepower).

Also, last weekend the VIU, or Vehicle Inspection Unit, was cracking down on non-compliant gear on cars, especially ones that are... unusual (heavily modded, or an RHD). So most RHD drivers were too afraid to leave the house!

I have a compliance post I'm working on... expect something along those lines in the future.

So, in hindsight, long weekend, not the best place and circumstances were all against me. The next one I'll plan will be somewhere else, and maybe on a Saturday!

Check out the gallery for some new snaps!


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