By on December 7, 2017

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletOur last Rare Ride was a little first-generation Honda Civic from 1977. Since everyone seemed to like that little red box, today we bring you a little blue box from Honda. It’s a bit newer, and also a bit worse.

It’s the Honda City, and other applicable adjectives include Cabriolet and Pininfarina.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletThe first Honda City appeared in Japan in 1981 and was unusual on the Kei market. Sporting boxy styling which Honda called “Tall Boy,” the City had a raised roofline allowing for a more upright seating position.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletThis meant the City had legroom that compared favorably with cars in a larger size class. An instant hit in the Japanese market, the City was exported around the world — often labeled as the Jazz.

Image: Honda City Motocompo Scooter

In addition to the Cabriolet, there were two, four, and five-seater versions (both hatchback and van varieties), and even one which came with a folding Honda Motocompo scooter mounted in the back. The extra weight certainly didn’t help motivate the City. Under its hood was a 1,231 cc, 44-horsepower inline-four engine.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletThe first-gen City was on the market between 1981 and 1986, and the Cabriolet joined the lineup in 1984. Built on the wide-body Turbo II version of the City, the Cabriolet was never available with a turbocharged engine.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletPossibly one of the worst hinged trunks ever designed, the trunklid does not assist with the loading and unloading of cargo.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletThe awkward Pininfarina styling came with many standard features, and even a glass rear window. There were also 12 color choices that were off-limits to hatchback buyers. It looks like this one has air conditioning, which would’ve been installed by the Honda Clio dealership where it was first sold.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletJapan was the only market to receive the Cabriolet, and only from 1984 to 1986. Future generations of the City did not have a convertible version.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletThis one is available in the pious and fireproof city of Los Angeles, and is a bit worse for wear. The seller is asking $3,2oo, which doesn’t seem that bad considering the trouble and expense one would have to go to in order to import an example from Japan.

Image: 1984 Honda City CabrioletAnd you can tell people you own a car designed by Pininfarina.

[Images via seller, Wikipedia]

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16 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1984 Honda City, a Microscopic Cabriolet From Japan...”

  • avatar

    Seems like a candidate for a home-built electric car conversion – that will change that silly trunk into an access panel.

  • avatar

    That a/c compressor mounting is crazy. How much trouble would it be for a shop to replace the top? Would they have to custom make one?

  • avatar
    bumpy ii


    Yeah, that top is going to be a custom job.

    The City eventually became the Fit we all know and love, but you could pick up this one if your ’80s nostalgia is still strong:

    • 0 avatar

      Those pictures load sloooooooowly – is their site running on a 286?

      That one has a/c too! The prices are kinda high, but if all the import paperwork is done, it would be relatively hassle-free.

      Check out the alloys on this ’91 CRX SiR – they look like giant fan clutches.

    • 0 avatar

      Who needs a top in L.A.?

      • 0 avatar

        People with skin cancer. The rest of us _need_ Honda to reintroduce this car. Vtec the crap out of it, until it pumps out 60Hp at 9000. Or just leave the engine as is. Aside, perhaps, from being asleep in the back of an autonomous hearse, the best car to beat perma-gridlock in, is one which demands full on street racing just to keep up with it.

  • avatar

    Just the thing to celebrate the Date That Will Live In Infamy – happy Pearl Harbor Day. (Not all of us have forgotten.)

  • avatar
    Vipul Singh

    Well, as our cities have grown, so has the car:

    • 0 avatar

      Appears to be the same basic vehicle as the U.S. market Fit, just with a trunk instead of a hatchback.

      Interesting lineup Honda has there in India…some stuff we don’t get here in the States.

      • 0 avatar
        Vipul Singh

        It is, indeed, based on the Fit/Jazz. The City is the established leader of this segment, though now being challenged by the new Accent (‘Verna’, in India)

        Honda has done well with the platform in India, with 3 cars raking in the numbers: Jazz, City and W-RV.

      • 0 avatar

        If you look at the red one, you’ll see it is the 2 door hatch, if there were a 2 slow hatch Fit.

  • avatar

    basically a carbon copy of a 1979-1985 vw rabbit convertible which pininfarina also designed. same plaid fabric inserts, same top hinged useless trunk, same glass window and high rear boot stack, same “basket handle” rollover protection.

  • avatar

    I remember clearly all the hateful comments that owners of the first Honda cars had to endure! Wonder how many of the big mouth end up in later life owning a Honda car?

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