At 125.8 inches in length and 1,410 pounds, the Today was Honda’s first “kei” class passenger car since the Honda Life was discontinued ten years prior. Although it only offers 31 horsepower, the light weight and small size made it popular with many Japanese urban dwellers.
During the 1970s light, rugged utility cars were very popular with the public in Europe. Vehicles in this category included the Volkswagen Thing, the Citroën Méhari, the Mini Moke, and this model, the Honda Vamos.
Honda was becoming increasingly well-known in the USA for its line of fun and reliable motorcycles in the 1950s. The N600 was the first sedan Honda sold in the United States in 1967. The same car with a smaller 360cc engine satisfied Japan’s Kei (light automobile) class, and was popular there.
China is a country just entering the car market. Tianjin Huali Motor Co. is a Chinese joint venture between Malaysian Lion Group and Tianjin Automotive Industries. This company was established in the early 1990s and manufactures light pick up trucks and mini vans in China.
IFA is not a brand name of a particular automobile, but rather the state-owned company to which all the automobile factories belonged (such as Audi, DKW, Horch, Wanderer, and Phanomen). The f9 was jointly produced by Horsch (who produced the bodywork) and Audi (who assembled the vehicle) and was based on a pre-war DKW design. This rare convertible IFA is a very close copy of the DKW Auto Union 1000.
In 1931, the Italian Industrialist, Ferdinando Innocenti founded a successful engineering company most well-known for producing scaffolding and other steel pipes and joints. Just after the war he saw the potential for an economical means of transport and created the Lambretta, so called because its factory was in Lambrate, an eastern suburb of Milan.
Ferdinand Innocenti’s company started in 1931 as a major steel tubing manufacturer. His patented “Innocenti pipe” is still used in scaffolding today. Before the war, the company also developed heavy press machinery. After World War II, Innocenti was mainly known for their Lambretta scooters until they began production of a license-built Austin A40 in 1960.
Italjet has been making scooters, motorcycles, and now electric bicycles since 1959, with over 150 designs to their credit. The Dragster seen here is a mid-range 125cc model; a 50cc and 180cc were also offered, but differed only in power.
ItalJet founder Leopoldo Tartarini was a pilot, and later a factory racer for Ducati. The Kit Kat was ItalJet’s 73-lb non licensable-for-street-use transportation solution. It was powered by a 49cc Gyromat two-stroke engine.