Daihatsu never made ‘em like this, but obviously someone out there wanted it this way. It’s difficult to enumerate the many odd additions slapped on this poor car, but the most egregious is that gaping Aston-DeSoto-Buick maw, which gives this hopefully unique Copen its ravenous look. Mind your fingers, I think it bites!
In standard form, the Daihatsu Copen looks rather innocent. Its rounded ends, its circular lights and diminutive size make it look like a 21st Century Beetle variant. But this one gave me a hell of a start when I saw it out of the corner of my eye, lurking in its lair.
I approached gingerly. There was so much extra bling all over such a tiny car – it was like some sort of dare: “Betcha can’t stick a ’58 Mercury’s worth of brightwork on this thing and still be road legal.”
The “chrome” was laid on thick, and I mean really thick. From that audacious grille and front bumper combo to the moon discs and side trim, there was a lot of extra cheese on this thing. Even the wipers were contaminated.
Got to admire the attention to detail. I mean, those windshield washers? Cor blimey, guv!
Here’s the mark of a truly committed otaku Anglophile owner-customizer: for once, the madness was also extended to the interior. That handbrake is just over the top!
I have not seen anything this extreme on such a small scale. Copens are really small – they’re usually registered as keis, except this one, for some reason (the extra length of the tacked-on chrome bumper?).
I’d really like to know the thought process behind that grille. The Aston shape, though awful, is pretty evident, but that toothy trim really makes the whole thing horrendous, like an angler fish with a thyroid condition.
Mitsuokas are one thing, and kits to turn Micras into Vanden Plas 1300s are another, but nothing can come close to the sheer weirdness of this Copen. Eccentricity is a quintessentially British trait, so one can only approve, though this is a bit too much to stomach.
CC Capsule: 2002-12 Daihatsu Copen – Parp Parp!, by William Stopford