The Truth About Cars » rocky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 09 Dec 2014 13:02:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » rocky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1990 Daihatsu Rocky http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/junkyard-find-1990-daihatsu-rocky/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:00:43 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=775281 Remember the Daihatsu Rocky? No? That’s OK, several vehicles of this type sank without a trace during the late 1980s and early 1990s (e.g., the Dodge Raider), and Daihatsu itself fled the United States in 1992. I see Daihatsu Charades in self-serve wrecking yards about every six months these days— including this ’89 and this […]

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13 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinRemember the Daihatsu Rocky? No? That’s OK, several vehicles of this type sank without a trace during the late 1980s and early 1990s (e.g., the Dodge Raider), and Daihatsu itself fled the United States in 1992. I see Daihatsu Charades in self-serve wrecking yards about every six months these days— including this ’89 and this ’90— and I don’t bother photographing most of them. A Rocky, on the other hand… well, let’s just say that this is the first Rocky I’ve seen anywhere in at least five years. How many are left on the street in North America? Hundreds? Dozens?
01 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThere must be at least one in the Denver area, because this junked example has been picked clean.
07 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThese little trucks came with a 1.6 liter engine and front- or four-wheel-drive.
04 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinAre project Rockies worth anything? Apparently not.
20140315_120504Right after I photographed this Rocky, I felt compelled to go on eBay and buy a vintage Daihatsu Racing sticker for my travel laptop. I also got a Daihatsu patch for my race suit.
DaihatsuTerios2-900x540I was so inspired by the sight of this Rocky that I dove down the rabbit hole of 21st century Daihatsu mini-SUV ads, and there I found some seriously frenzied Daihatsu Terios-thrashin’ stuff. Perhaps Daihatsu will return to the US soon, with a Rocky-badged Terios. All right, let’s watch some Rocky ads!

The actors in this JDM Rocky ad need to lay off the helium, is all I have to say.

In Germany, a romantic approach was used to pitch the Rocky (badged as a Feroza in Europe).

For Australia, the Rocky (Feroza) was compared to the body of Surf Iron Man Champion Guy Leech.

Another Australian (or maybe New Zealand) ad shows the Turbodiesel Rocky, which was apparently half Ferrari and half tank.

Also an excellent choice for surfers who liked to crash through sand dunes. Wouldn’t some of those impacts have set off the airbags? Oh, right— pre-airbag era, carry on!

01 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin 27 - 1990 Daihatsu Rocky Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Curbside Classic: 1989 Daihatsu Charade http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1989-daihatsu-charade/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1989-daihatsu-charade/#comments Mon, 22 Mar 2010 18:36:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=349939 What a difference twenty years makes. The eighties was the Japanese decade, when they were going to take over the US, if not the world. They bought prime real estate assets like Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. They wrote books telling the US how to fix its problems. And their car makers were swamping the […]

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What a difference twenty years makes. The eighties was the Japanese decade, when they were going to take over the US, if not the world. They bought prime real estate assets like Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. They wrote books telling the US how to fix its problems. And their car makers were swamping the US like a tsunami. The last of the holdouts, Daihatsu, finally showed up on our shores at a rather inauspicious time: 1988, one year before the great Japanese stock market collapse. Did Daihatsu’s failure and retreat in 1992 have to do more with Japanese hubris in trying to sell a “BMW quality” Geo Metro, or was the Charade just an overpriced charade? Or is there a difference?

Let’s just say that among other things, Daihatsu’s timing generally wasn’t so hot, and their judgment questionable. Gasoline prices had been dropping all through the eighties. Buyers were abandoning small hatches for bigger cars and SUVs, and the Geo/Chevy Metro (Suzuki Swift) pretty much had the bottom feeder market to itself, modest sized and priced as it was. But Daihatsu priced the Charade substantially above the Metro, despite its similar size and 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine.

Daihatsu tried to create an upscale image for the Charade, making or implying references to “BMW style quality” in a small car. Well, it was the time that Toyota peaked in terms of content quality, and as Toyota’s captive mini-maker, Daihatsu probably and rightfully tagged along. American car mags generally agreed in their tests of the Charade, duly impressed in its build and material quality. Its interior alone looks more Camry than Metro. The little three pot impressed with its flat torque curve and eager-beaver demeanor, even if objective performance wasn’t significantly different from the Metro. And forget about smoothness with only three cylinders.

I have to admit to liking the styling of the Charade, and it did exude a more substantial image than the lowly Geo, probably in part to its significantly wider stance. And its handling was pretty consistently praised too; with a little more power and style, the Charade could have been the Mini of its day. Perhaps that’s what it was trying to do, but it came off way too business-like and with not near enough self-conscious style and verve. The Nissan Pao of the same vintage had plenty of that, but that cutie was a limited production only model, and never officially imported.

The Charade was built in a turbocharged version, the GTi,  with a whopping 100hp, but not for us. And a little turbo-diesel was also available in other markets. Speaking of Daihatsu’s other markets, it wasn’t just the US that they retreated from. In 2005, they pulled the plug on their Australian operations, after some forty years. And there are rumors that Chile, one of the Charade’s most popular export markets, may be next to go.

Toyota took a minority ownership stake in Daihatsu in 1967, and upped that to 51% in 1999. Daihatsu was the source for kei-cars for Toyota, allowing it to not spread its resources into that narrow segment. But there has always been an overlap with Daihatsu’s larger cars, many of them having been Toyota rebadges. That’s not the case with the Charade, but Toyota’s Tercel was clearly stepping all over it, especially in the US. It begs the question as to whether Daihatsu has a real future as a word brand, or whether it will eventually be absorbed fully into the Toyota family.

Daihatsu added a four-door sedan sometime along its brief four-year assault on the US market, and in addition to the two extra doors it also sported an extra cylinder, to/and boot. They also sold the rugged Rocky, a compact Jeepster also just a cut above the popular Suzuki Samuari. We’ll take a look at one soon. Anecdotal evidence suggests the Charade had typical Toyota reliability from that era, as there are a fair number of them still on the streets on the West Coast. Considering that only some 15k units were sold in 1989, that tends to support that supposition. Try finding a Peugeot 504 today, another victim of the US market about the same time as Daihatsu. I’ll keep looking for the 405, but it didn’t take much to stumble on these Charades.

More new Curbside Classics here

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