Home » Look At Leeza: Cold Start

Look At Leeza: Cold Start

Cs Leezas

Oy, I overslept this morning and the kid missed the bus and for once I didn’t do one of these last night so I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m a bit of a mess today. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t bring your attention to a really cool and generally overlooked car, the Daihatsu Leeza!

The Leeza was an interesting little Kei car, and I’m mostly showing you because I think it has a subtly striking design. It’s essentially a little city car/hatchback, but unlike most Kei cars, the maximization of interior space isn’t so much the main goal as a sort of sporty, hot-hatch look is. Well, as hot as you can get from 660cc, which was either about 50 hp or. up to the legal limit of 64 hp with the turbo one.

These were generally two-seater cars, and most of these were actually considered van, if you can believe that, as they only had two seats and some cargo tie-downs in the little cargo area, so they could be classified as commercial vehicles and buyers could save a crapload of yen on taxes. Pretty clever!

Cs Leezaspider

There was even this amazing little roadster version! The earlier L100 versions, like up top, are old enough to be imported, so if there’s anyone out there looking for a really tiny yet stylish “van” to keep on their yacht or roof of their RV, give the Leeza some thought!

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25 Responses

  1. I dont understand kei cars. In USA big trucks, sedans too small, two seater sports cars way too small, what we need is even smaller cars. Maybe on a carnival ride but not anything where real cars drive.

    1. It is, in fact, both functional AND required.
      It feeds the intercooler. The convertible was only sold with a “64HP” 650cc turbocharged and intercooled I3.

  2. I gotta say: I really don’t hate it. It’ll be absolutely impossible to find parts for, I’m sure. But the look isn’t half bad, particularly what they did with the door handles.

    Oh, and also there’s a Daihatsu Leeza OXY-R. Which has a 650cc making “64HP” at 7,500RPM. That’d be a nice substitute till you can get your hands on an LHD Copen with the 1.3L.

  3. Actually, some of the 50hp types were also turbocharged – the naturally aspirated 550cc version has a mere 33 metric horsepower.
    I still have the Fujimi 1/24 kit of this, one of my favorite keis.

  4. Admit it Jason! You were celebrating the hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of dollars the site is making from subscribers and stayed up late drinking Bohemian Taillights (gin, St. Germain, grapefruit juice and a splash of Campari) and passed out on your Atari keyboard.

    I’m not much of a Daihatsu fan, but that Leeza is a looker!

  5. Little engines > Big engines

    Little cars > Big Cars

    I normally hate turbocharged engines but if they’re 1.5 liters of displacement or under I almost universally like them. Same goes for direct injection engines.

  6. I really like it as a hatchback, not so much as a convertible. The rounded headlights feel a little disjointed with the styling of the rest of the vehicle. Something flush and more angular would look better, I think. Seems like a sort-of common thing with cars of the Japanese bubble era, they start off with headlights that seem oddly “eye-shaped”, only to go slim and horizontal later. Think Honda Today or Honda City

  7. That’s a great looking little hatchback. The sculpted headlights remind me of the Nissan NX which is one of my favorite underrated Japanese car designs from that era.

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