Model: Daihatsu Charade Turbo 0 to 100 km/h: 10,52 seconds Top speed: 159 km/hFuel index: 5,70 L/100 km (at 100 km/h) Price: R9 995 CAR test: January 1985 plus one other
Founded in 1907 by Hatsudoki Seizo as an engine manufacturer, Daihatsu is Japan’s oldest motor company. Vehicle production began in 1960 in the Osaka region and the company specialised in diesel mini trucks before branching out to cars; the first, a 1,0-litre, four-cylinder sedan called the Compagno Berlina. Early Charades even competed in the Monte Carlo Rally and East African Safari in 1981 and 1982, respectively. In 1983, the Alfa Romeo factory in Brits took on a project that introduced the Daihatsu name to the South African passenger car market.
Despite its diminutive frame, the Charade’s neat packaging gave it a spacious interior with seating for five adults. The boot accommodated 170 litres of packing space with folding rear seats freeing up 740 litres of utility space. Instrumentation is spartan; the Turbo substitutes a boost pressure gauge with a green light that merely tells you there is some boost occurring, which is wonderfully quaint. If it’s an old-school turbo-petrol with full-blown instrumentation that blows your hair back, rather look at the Uno Turbo.
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