CC Capsule: 1985 Honda Acty 4WD Pickup – ¡Kei Suerte!

It’s fascinating to discover the bigger JDM cars, but there are many, many kei cars, vans and trucks around that also want a little attention (usually just 300-600cc’s worth). Trouble is, old cars are not often seen and old keis are rarer still – and I happen to like my CCs to be on the classic side. You know, like it says in the site’s name. Fortunately, I got lucky and found this wee veteran.

Thing is, I have a lot of ancient kei truck pics from Thailand. Daihatsu Hijets, mostly. I need to string these into a post someday. These are used as short-distance taxis in certain parts of Bangkok. Some were 40+ years old and still merrily darting about the streets.

That is certainly not the case in Japan. JDM kei cars rarely make it past their 10th birthday, while kei trucks seem to die off at age 20, if they’re lucky. They don’t all actually die – some get shipped off to other countries (or “to a farm upstate”?), but they do disappear. This Acty is well past its 30th birthday, so it’s a really uncommon sight around here.

Pre-1982 facelift Acty pickup and van

Just a quick Acty refresher, for the sake of context: Honda launched the model in 1977 to replace their previous generation kei trucks, which had become obsolete due to the 1975 revision of the legal parameters regarding these vehicles: dimension and weight limits were increased and the maximum engine size went from 360cc to 550cc. The Acty pickup was joined by a 5-door van in late 1979, got a facelift in 1982 and 4WD capability in 1983 before being replaced by a new generation in early 1988. So there.

The Acty gracing your screen at the moment is a 4WD model with a 5-speed manual. Its 550cc OHC twin, situated amidships, is thus a more powerful one – they went nuts and added 0.9 hp to the standard 27.6 hp engine, if you can believe that. Those 350kg of cargo can therefore climb every mountain and field every stream, provided said stream is shallow enough for the 12-inch wheels to wade through. By the way, the sticker that sort of looks like a flower is there to signify that the owner is over 70. You see these a lot – Japan’s ageing and folks here live longer than almost anywhere on Earth. I’m just not sure why people following you need to know that you’re a pensioner. Reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Marge gets a “Baby on board” sign, saying “Now people will stop intentionally ramming into our car!”

As per previous episodes of my continuing exploration of JDM CCs, the interior is so clean you could use it as a bento box. In a 30-year-old pickup truck. The mind doth truly boggle. And for a tiny ‘80s economy truck such as this, the dash seems to have everything that a bigger truck would – HVAC, radio, cigarette lighter. What more could you expect to get?

It’s the same on the outside, cleanliness-wise. Tiny traces of rust on the tailgate, but other than that, this pickup is in great condition for its age. Odds are, the same thing could be said about the guy driving it. He just needs to watch his tailgate and he’ll be fine. Just like all of us, really. That’s the secret to a long life: don’t overdo anything, watch your tailgate, keep clean and stay Acty.


Related post:

CC Outtake: Honda 4WD Acty pickup (2nd generation), by DMan