No one ever really asks me “Why are you obsessed with Japanese cars?” But I’ll tell you anyway - because of an encounter with one of these, back when I was maybe 10 or 12 years old. And I thought it was the cutest thing ever. It was in orange, too - just like the one below.

The Honda Z (marketed also as the Z600) was a two-door hatchback kei car/city car manufactured and marketed by the Honda Motor Company, from 1970 until 1974. Exports mostly ended after 1972, when the domestic market models received a redesigned pillarless bodywork.

Marketed as the “sport coupé” version of the N600, the Z360 and Z600 were sold side by side at American motorcycle dealerships until the first stand-alone automobile dealers opened to market the Civic. Total production was 40,586 units.

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Outputs were 31hp at 8500 rpm for the Act and Pro versions, and 36hp at an astronomical 9000 rpm for the sportier TS and GS models.The sky high revs betray the origins of the engines - they came from Honda motorcycles, and sounded accordingly.

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The model you see here is a Tomica Dandy, which originally was released in 1970. The one in the pictures is a 30th Anniversary from the year 2000.

In typical Tomica fashion, it doesn’t adhere to any standard scale. While you could consider it 1/43ish, the true scale is (for whatever reason) 1/36. But the real cars were tiny. Really, really tiny.

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And while they were never really common here, you can still find them occasionally for sale for very little money. Which makes it even sadder that I can’t have one. Why not? I...just...won’t...fit...in. At 6'5" (or 196cm) and with plenty of middle age spread, I don’t stand a chance.

My (much smaller) sister once had one of those small Daihatsus, and I could only change the gear by operating the gear lever under my knee, while operating the pedals at the same time. Not really fun. And that car was bigger than the Z600. Nope, sadly, the only way I could drive one of these is if I had stopped growing at 10 or 12.

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PS: Tomica also made one in that orange, as did Polistil, so I’m still looking...