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


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!