Every car company has to start somewhere and this Japanese curio was the first product of reliably off-beat microcar specialist Daihatsu.

Daihatsu started out building teeny delivery trucks and small military car, under the name Hatsudoki Seizo Co. This, the Daihatsu Bee, was the renamed company’s first attempt at a proper production car.

Going by Wikipedia, admittedly not the most reliable of sources, information is a little sketchy. Most photographs, such as this one, show a two-door saloon body made from fibreglass. Though some sources claim it had a four-door body. Either way, there’s strong hints of the Morris Minor around the rear.

The chassis was borrowed from one Daihatsu’s three-wheeled trucks. What little power there was came from a rear-mounted, horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder engine of 540cc.

If you’re wondering why there is so little and conflicting information on the Bee, it’s incredibly rare. It was extremely labour-intensive to build and only 300 were made. I would be very surprised if there’s more than one or two left.

By Only Motors