If there are two shorthand examples of the bizarreness of Japanese car culture, they are Liberty Walkand the Honda S660.
The former is a borderline crackpot tuning house, one which sees no shame in dropping supercars to undriveable levels, before sticking on riveted wheel arches the like of which haven’t been seen since thePorsche 993 GT2.
The latter, meanwhile, is one of the odder examples of the kei car. Keis fit a set of strict regulations – limiting physical dimensions and engine size – and are normally cheap, tax-efficient city cars. The S660 follows all of the criteria yet somehow ends up as a mid-engined, rear-driven roadster. A Micro Machines NSX, perhaps.
Well Japanophiles rejoice, as the two have gloriously met. The end result is – well, take a look for yourself above. You might love it. You might hate it. We suspect you won’t occupy any middle ground between those things. This is not a ‘meh’ car.
Perhaps surprisingly, the S660’s modest 63bhp three-cylinder engine (with 660cc, if you’d not guessed) is untouched. The changes are all cosmetic. The plastic bodykit is quite a thing to behold, with a front bumper and side skirts that would shatter into a million pieces on the speed bumps of London’s rat runs, and a rear diffuser we’re going to surmise does naff all for the S660’s aero profile.
Then there’s the ducktail rear spoiler, humongous arches and those heavily cambered wheels, which are tucked right into the bodywork. Notice their slick tyres, which look far from legal. We suspect this car isn’t really for driving anyway.
Nope, it’s for showing off at late night meets in moody Tokyo car parks. Where it probably stands a very good chance of being star turn among the LED-draped Lambos. It’s an extraordinary looking thing, and surely peak Japan in car form.
Go on, then: love it or hate it?