Home » Buy This Pristine 1988 Daihatsu Charade To Save On Gas This Summer

Buy This Pristine 1988 Daihatsu Charade To Save On Gas This Summer

Diahatsu Charade Ts

If you’re looking for a hatchback that’s practical and cheap to run, you might be thinking about a used Toyota Yaris, or maybe a Mitsubishi Mirage. If you’re anywhere near Oklahoma, though, there’s a far more interesting option available to you—it’s a 1988 Daihatsu Charade CLS!

This Charade has led an interesting and weird life. The seller, one Eric Lieberman of Oklahoma, reported it has just 7,000 miles on the clock. The car presents as virtually brand new, inside and out. And joy of joys, this time capsule is a manual to boot.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The car was apparently originally a prize in a competition run by South Park Daihatsu, shortly after the brand reached the United States. A newspaper clipping held by the seller indicates it was originally won by Mr. and Mrs. John Harmon of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

That dealership is long gone, with Jim Norton Toyota now operating at the former site. Similarly, it appears the sales manager involved, one Rick Mattioni, is no longer with us, so it’s not easy to verify the provenance of the car. At a glance, though, the story appears to check out. Lieberman has a huge pile of documentation to go with the vehicle, including a dealer survey filled out by the original owners. Apparently, the couple were regular watchers of Good Morning America.

440409133 10232502971093211 3493782911040096174 N


Lieberman says the car hasn’t spent a night outside in its entire life, and that’s easy to believe. The paint, trims, and lights all look brand new. The interior is much the same, bar a couple of tiny blemishes on the carpet that suggest someone has indeed had their shoes in there. The outside has some marks that look like faded decals just behind the doors, though. I’ve contacted Lieberman for more details on this and to learn more of the car’s back story.

442435283 10232502908931657 3701886465740029016 N

438301796 10232502928252140 3863384614873575113 N

So what could you expect of a 1988 Charade? Well, the three-door hatchback had an inline-three engine good for 52 horsepower and 58 pound-feet of torque. It wasn’t much chop in the acceleration stakes, but it only sipped at its fuel tank. It would hit 38 mpg city, 42 mpg highway, and 39 mpg combined. That’ll beat a non-hybrid 2024 Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, no problem.

The Charade was a basic car, but the model was up with the times. It came with electronic fuel injection, so annoying cold starts aren’t a thing. There’s precious little other fancy equipment on this stripper model, though. It has steel wheels, no tach, and there’s no mention of air conditioning on the window sheet, either. A glance at the dash seems to indicate it’s not fitted.


440445397 10232502929212164 6785975978321333553 N

441381775 10232502907611624 3240002623881868418 N

There is one major item that stands out to me as a bit of a tragedy, too. The original stereo is nowhere to be seen. Sadly, a Pioneer head unit has been installed in place of what was presumably a tape deck and AM/FM radio. The interior was virtually perfect in every other way.

Weirdly, too, the car has a “Dukakis ’88” sticker on the rear window. If you’re not familiar with Mike Dukakis, he’s the ex-governor of Massachusetts. He famously scored the Democratic presidential nomination for the 1988 election and ended up going toe-to-toe with George H.W. Bush as the Republican nominee. Dukakis went on to lose, partially because he looked so damn goofy in a tank.

438241125 10232502928332142 2541269758817506919 N



438299500 10232502971573223 7864865184152027650 N

438301088 10232502938612399 7320927238587717672 N

438299633 10232502971333217 5376141772398594860
The underside looks like it’s never seen a road in its life.

Maybe you’re a big Dukakis fan. Maybe you just want to drive one of the super-rare Daihatsu Charades in North America that are still in new condition. Either way, you’ll have to try and cut a hard deal with Lieberman. He’s looking for $11,950. That’s a big pile of money for a very small car. Even if you’re driving a really thirsty truck right now, it would still take you ages to come out ahead by driving the Charade instead.

Still, there simply aren’t a lot of 7,000-mile Charades lurking around the US right now. I’d wager this might even be the only one. Most examples died or rusted out long ago. This isn’t just a runner, it’s a hair off as-new condition.


441935624 10232502906131587 7761213285072289439 N


438300560 10232502974773303 3674333854494002132 N

441057660 10232502914651800 7743853600616100344 N
A couple of blemishes on the carpet are just about the only sign that this thing has been driven.

Hopefully, this one can find a loving home and will be preserved in the same glorious condition it’s currently in today, while maybe racking up a few more miles for good measure.

Image credits: Eric Lieberman

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Master P
Master P
17 days ago

The “decals” behind the doors are actually rock chip protection overlays.

But youve seen it run
But youve seen it run
18 days ago

Geo Metro in this condition yes!!! Diahatsu Charade no.

Zelda Bumperthumper
Zelda Bumperthumper
19 days ago

Wow.I forgot these existed at all. It’s at least pleasant to look at; like a Honda City overlayed with a Renault filter, and maybe compromised with a a drop of Toyota. It must have been deeply unpleasant to daily drive though.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x