Little automobiles are stuffed with character, enjoyable to drive and simple to navigate round small again streets. This Mazda Carol 360 is all of these issues, but in addition terrifying.
Proprietor Hiroshi Hagiwara began his love affair with traditional automobiles as a young person, cruising round in massive previous American automobiles. Should you ask me, that’s fairly a mature begin in automobile appreciation, so how did he find yourself in a tiny Carol kei automobile?
Properly, it was actually only a case of curiosity. After years of captaining V8-powered boats by tight Japanese lanes, Hiroshi-san puzzled what it is likely to be wish to be behind the wheel of a Japanese micro automobile. The grass at all times being greener on the opposite facet and all that…
Should you’re in search of the JDM polar reverse of massive previous American iron, then there are many choices to select from within the traditional kei class. However there is one thing extra-special about early Mazda mini automobiles – they’re elegant.
The Subaru 360 was Japan’s first mass-produced passenger automobile, however was certainly not the prettiest. The Mazda R360, nevertheless – Mazda’s very first passenger automobile – was objectively fairly good-looking, albeit no greater than a child stroller. Even at the moment, I assume Mazda are making among the best-looking automobiles within the trade.
When the Carol 360 changed the R360 in 1962, it was an prompt hit. In reality, it was so fashionable that it rapidly grabbed nearly a 70% share of Japan’s kei automobile market. That’s a giant quantity for a little bit automobile.
Should you thought the annoyingly-angled toebox of your Lamborghini Countach was a decent squeeze, then the Carol shouldn’t be for you. At slightly below 3.0m lengthy, passenger house within the Carol is at a premium. The entrance wheel arches take up half the footwell, and your ft sit so near the bottom that the psychological picture of Barney Rubble from The Flintstones is tough to shake.
Regardless, the 9-inch tall entrance and 10-inch tall rear wheels that Hiroshi-san has fitted to his Carol are so fats they require overfender flares to maintain them contained. They tie in properly with the the one-off entrance lip and customized fender ducts.
There’s no want to enter particulars concerning the suspension setup, as a result of there isn’t any. Initially fitted with entrance and rear torsion bars for a really comfy trip, these have all been eliminated and the automobile is mainly siting on the chassis for a particularly uncomfortable trip, however super-flush tyre-to-overfender-lip fitment.
However simply have a look at the smile on Hiroshi-san’s face. It’s not the cool, figuring out stare of a muscle automobile proprietor; that is the pure, carefree pleasure that comes with being a modified traditional kei automobile proprietor.
The work that has gone into the tiny 358cc powerhouse of an engine is actually inspiring. On the time of its launch, the Carol’s engine was one of many smallest manufacturing four-cylinders in automotive historical past.
Hiroshi-san’s engine options massive valves, cylinder head port work, Keihin FCR carburettors, and a customized stainless-steel header and exhaust. Within the driveline there’s a lightened flywheel and a taller closing drive.
The Carol solely weighs a smidge over 500kg, and is subsequently surprisingly pokey. However because it bounced throughout the streets of Hachioji I genuinely feared for my life. I felt no extra secure than if I used to be driving a child’s toy, the faux plastic yellow roll cage behind me not serving to to enhance my religion.
That stated, it’s extremely cool.