Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II

Ok, so this isn’t the fist time I featured a Honda City Turbo II here - we had the Regular and Limited versions already here - a bit over a year ago.

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But today we are looking at the Tomica Dandy version. This model is in exactly 1/43 scae according to the packaging. That’s a nice change for a Dandy, as they usually are a bit larger or smaller than that - for reasons only known to Tomica.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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Back in 1981, Honda introduced this sub-compact mainly for domestic consumption, but also for export in some markets. This “AA” City (also called Jazz in some markets) featured the novel “tallboy” design, making it just comfortable enough for four adults to sit inside despite being only 3.38m (133in) long. The engine was a 1200cc four-banger - so we are not looking at a “kei” car here, but rather a model slot underneath the Civic.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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Meanwhile, Hirotoshi Honda, the son of Honda founder Soichiro, had started his Mugen tuning firm and also wanted to make a faster version of the City. The engine had about 65hp - about normal for a small hatch of the time, but certainly nothing to shout about.And so Hirotoshi did what everyone in the 80s did - add a Turbo! The early Turbos could be spotted by a small “power bulge” on the left hand side of the bonnet - and of course by the Turbo decals. Power was up to a respectable 100hp - combined with the light weight, that turned it into a proper pocket rocket. A face lift had also given all City models an asymmetrical grill.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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Mugen could not really leave it at that. This was the 80s, so what else do we need? Box flares! Body kit! Colour coded bumpers! An intercooler! And so it happened. In November 1983, the Turbo II came out. The power bulge now covered the full width of the bonnet, the licence plate was moved to the side to enable a larger air intake. And the full 80s body kit was installed, box flares and all. And this is the car that we see here.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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And Tomica decided to also include something that was an optional extra - yes, it’s the “Motocompo”!

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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It’s a a foldable 50cc Scooter designed specially to fit in the back of a small car. In the regular Tomica, it’s moulded as part of the interior. In the Dandy, it’s a separate model, though not really terribly well detailed. But the handle bars do fold!

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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This little car earned the nickname “Bulldog” in Japan - and its 110hp engine gave the performance to back that up. At least in city traffic, but that’s what it was made for after all. And it’s one of two cars only (that I know of anyway) that have the mirror image “turbo” script on the front. The other being of course the BMW 2002 turbo.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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The Dandy model once again comes across as a high quality item, being heavy metal everything, having a great suspension and everything opens and shuts with a satisfying clunk. Probably more so than in the real car. I only recently acquired this one - all the way from France and it still was a relative bargain for a Mint in Box one.

Illustration for article titled Land of the Rising Sun-Day: Honda City Turbo II
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That’s all for today - enjoy the rest of your weekend - and thanks for voting for Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest ;-)

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