Rare Rides: The 1984 Honda City, a Microscopic Cabriolet From Japan

rare rides the 1984 honda city a microscopic cabriolet from japan

Our 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.

The 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.

This 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.

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.

The 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.

Possibly one of the worst hinged trunks ever designed, the trunklid does not assist with the loading and unloading of cargo.

The 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.

Japan 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.

This 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.

And you can tell people you own a car designed by Pininfarina.

[Images via seller, Wikipedia]

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3 of 16 comments
  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Dec 07, 2017

    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.

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on Dec 07, 2017

    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?

  • Oberkanone Cost of EV's will continue to increase as demand for materials to manufacture batteries increases. Owning a personal vehicle will only be attainable to the wealthy.
  • Kcflyer I think it's ugly. Unless they lengthened the cab the back row is still useless for me anyway. Price is proof that I may have purchased my last new vehicle
  • Ltcmgm78 I must laugh because this is an expansion of the old question of why car manufacturers don't build less expensive cars. There's no money in it! As long as virtue signalers have the long green to buy the pricier EVs, there won't be any affordable ones until most of the demand for the expensive ones are met. Economics, you know. New technologies always progress this way. The future Chevy Vega on the Ultium platform is a long way off.
  • Daniel J Also, the additional 20K is spread out over a loan, which could end up closer to 24K.
  • Wolfwagen When will GM and Dodge/Ram come out with a BOF 2 door sport utility? Im not one that jumps on the first year new vehicle bandwagon, but for a new Ramcharger, I'd sleep out in front of a dealership for days to be first in line for preordering (or infront of my computer for hours)