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Thread: Add some Life to your spice

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2009
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    Nagoya, Japan
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    Add some Life to your spice

    Hello all!

    So, not long ago, I decided to sell my daily driver, which was a K10 Nissan March Super Turbo (more info here). This was because it had expired inspection and a differential that felt it no longer needed to do its job (just listen to the sad noise here). I've been driving my girlfriends K11 March as a loaner car since, but I knew that I needed a new daily.

    So, the hunt was on. I knew I wanted some older than 25 years (so I could bring it home with me), something with a manual transmission and preferably, something with two doors. I narrowed it down to four candidates and after a lot of hemming and hawing and checking of the bank account, I made a decision on this little gem!



    It's a 1973 Honda Life Touring SL. I'm not sure what it is about these little 360cc kei cars, but one just isn't enough for me! Maybe I felt that my Mitsubishi 360 needed a friend, haha.



    Now, I haven't actually received the car just yet. It is supposed to get delivered next Monday (the Monday after Nos2Days... it's going to be a busy weekend). So, all of these pictures are pictures taken by the shop in Ehime.



    The reason I don't have any pictures of my own is because I'm buying this car sight unseen. First time I've ever done this and I'm putting a lot of trust into the seller. The reason I'm buying sight unseen is that Ehime is about an 8 hour drive from here!



    So, information about the car! As you can see, being the Touring SL model, it has the fantastic little water cooled twin rocking twin Keihin carburetors. That should be good for 36 hp, which is about 15 more than my Mitsubishi 360 pumps out. That neck snapping power is pumped through a 4-speed transmission, although the hunt is on for a dog leg 5-speed.



    The car is relatively rust free except for one worrisome spot on the bottom of the passenger door as seen above. This seems to be the biggest problem spot, but there could be other surprises lurking about; let's hope not. The car is also a respray (as is evidenced by the different color engine bay). Given the trouble spot on the door and the lack of matching colors under the hood, it will need a new paint job in the future, but the current job should last me at least a year or two.



    Now all the pictures up to now were taken before he pulled the car out and gave it a thorough clean. After he made it look much nicer, he sent me a few more photos. The interior is really what clenched the deal for me. It's in amazing shape for a car that is 40 years old!



    Aside from some god awful red floor mats and a horribly installed Daihatsu radio (both of which will be promptly removed), the interior elicits nothing but smiles from me! The driver side door panel looks like it might have a small tear in it, but the passenger side door panel, seats (front and rear) and dash all look to be tear and crack free.





    I am missing a few trim pieces it does look like. It seems like something should go over the shift lever, the horn button is MIA and the pull handle on the driver side door is broken. The dash controls all look to be present and in good shape. Even the factory radio still looks to be in tact. I'll be removing that Daihatsu lump and then modifying the factory radio to plug into my cell phone so I can still rock some tunes!



    Of course, pulling the Daihatsu radio out means that these box speakers are also coming out. I've never been a huge fan of box speakers, so we'll see if I can remove these without leaving huge nasty holes in the rear parcel shelf.



    One of the things so many people forget to take pictures of is the head liner. Fortunately, this gentleman did not forget! The head liner looks immaculate and the little box with the room lights on it looks un-cracked and very nice (although it's missing the plastic lens for the back room lamp).



    The top of the dash has no cracks in it, which is like finding a stack of 50 dollar bills in your happy meal.



    The whole instrument panel seems to have stood the test of time! This is a view I'm really looking forward to!



    Once washed the paint looks pretty good too. The car has door mirrors, they've just been removed and placed in a box to ensure that no one breaks them off shuffling around the car. Still, I think I'll locate a good set of fender mirrors and mount those instead.



    I just love the tiny little bumpers on this car. They're all but useless in an accident, but they look so good.



    So, there you have it, that's my new Honda Life!



    As I said earlier, it's not getting delivered until Monday, so I won't get my first proper look at it until then. I'm so excited about it, I can hardly wait, haha. Unfortunately, it needs a bit of brake work before I can inspect it and drive it, so when it does arrive, the first order of business will be making sure that everything is mechanically up to scratch!

    Thanks for looking guys and more information on the little Life to come soon!

    Cheers
    David

  2. #2
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    North Carolina, USA
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    That is a very clean looking car from those pictures. The interior really is incredible! Best of luck with the project :tu:

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010
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    bakersfield, ca
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    what a cool little car!

    It's like it's morphed between an N360 and a 73 cvcc.. cool! Congrats on the find and for taking the long-distance risk :wink:

    -ccrunner

  4. #4
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Seriously David, are you going to fit in there ? Congrats on another purchase, are you going to leave any cars for anyone else ?

    Dan.

  5. #5
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Thanks for the comments guys!

    Hondafiend, I'm really pleased with the interior. I just really hope it's equally as impressive in the flesh. There are a few missing bits, but nothing I shouldn't be able to hunt down eventually.

    ccrunner, I actually really like those first gen Honda Civics. I didn't pursue one here as it goes against my only rule when buying a car: don't get a car you can get in the States. Maybe when I get back to the States, I'll hunt down one of them!

    Dan, I aint planning on leaving any cars for anyone else, haha. I probably won't fit very well, but I reckon since I got a welder and an angle grinder, I can totally make the seat rails work to give me more room.
    (Off topic - I got an email headed your way soon buddy!)


    Short update, I just ordered nearly 50,000 yen worth of parts last night from these guys: http://auto-spot.net/

    The current owner said it needed a cup kit, so I figured why not just order everything. I got new shoes front and rear along with cup kits for all four wheel cylinders and a master rebuild kit. If the brake lines need replacing too, I'll pick up some stainless braided lines from the local motorcycle speed shop (although that's mighty pricey so I'll try to avoid it if possible). There was a bunch of other stuff packed in with that order like wheel bearings and a water pump rebuild kit.

    Hopefully the parts will get here soon so I can tear right into the car from next week. Hoping to get it road-worthy by the first week in March!

    Thanks again guys!

    Cheers
    David

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Lyon, France
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Waouh !

    What a nice little Honda ! It is true that it looks like a mix between the N, Z and Civic 1st gen models.

    Congratulations :tu:

  7. #7
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    Melbourne, Aust.
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    87

    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Wow that looks great and the Touring spec. details icing on the cake, with the twin carbs, bumperettes and roof console.
    I didn't think Honda had got around to giving these a 5-speed or front discs like the Air-cooled cars.

    I had noticed some of the 1980's Daihatsu Cuore/Mira front discs & hubs seemed to slide straight onto Honda's Life/Z driveshaft splines and shared the 4x110PCD wheel stud pattern with 12" wheels, though unfortunately used much larger thread for those studs. '80's Subaru Rex also seemed to fit for 4x100PCD).

  8. #8
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    Snohomish County, WA
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Im in love!!! :mrgreen: :tu: :tu:

  9. #9
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Nice!

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2009
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    Nagoya, Japan
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    Re: Add some Life to your spice

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    79cord, I may just have to look into the disc brake option from the Miras, these little cars are supposedly notorious for having brakes that just can't keep up. If I can get my hands on the dogleg 5-Speed from the GS model, I think and upgrade to disc brakes would most likely be necessary.

    So, on with the story of my Life (heh). I ordered a ton of parts from a shop call Auto Spot (http://auto-spot.net/). They seem to specialize in 360cc Hondas and they were an absolute pleasure to do business with. Very prompt and very professional. They will definitely be getting more of my hard earned cash in the future!



    Hardly looks big enough to contain 50,000 yen worth of parts, but it's definitely got the goods! Inside I have new brake shoes, front and rear cup kits, a brake master kit, a timing belt, oil filter, water pump repair kit, thermostat, oil seals, gaskets, wheel bearings and a horn pad. I most likely won't need to put all these parts on the car, but I felt it was better to get my hands on them now while I could instead of waiting for them to be no longer available.



    So, now that I had all the parts, I just needed the car. Well, the very next day, the car arrived on the back of a truck clean from Ehime!



    He backed it off the truck (using the side brake only), fired it up and drove it over to my parking spot for me!



    The guy was a complete gentleman and hugely fun to chat with. He wandered through my garage looking at the Bellett and admiring the effort put into it. He even said he had a line on an air compressor and that he might be able to locate some fender mirrors for my Mitsubishi 360. All in all a pleasant guy and I'm glad to have gotten the car from him! Of course, after he left, headed back home, I couldn't just let the car sit there. So, I drove it back over to the gravel parking lot, parked my Mitsubishi next to it and grabbed a few pictures (also I think my camera is actually just broken because the right half of all my pictures is blurry...).



    Unfortunately, light was dwindling fast and my camera falls on its face in low light conditions. So, my pictures are kind of blurry and crappy, but I will be definitely grabbing proper pictures of the two with a proper camera once I get the Life squared away.



    They are nearly identical in size (well, length and width are the same due to kei regulations), but I think the Life might have a slightly smaller back end due to it being a bit more round.



    The trunk has enough room for a spare tire and some very small and compact luggage!



    You can also see another confirmation that the car was originally silver. I think when it comes time to repaint, we'll stick with the white, I really like it.



    There's a bit more rust than I was hoping, but actually less rust than I was expecting, which is pretty good. The bit on the bottom of the door is worse than I thought, but the surface rust in the engine bay is just that, not serious at all. Of course, I won't be fixing any of the rust until it comes time to tear it down and repaint, which won't be happening anytime soon, I have far too many projects on at the moment.



    The interior is every bit as fantastic as I hoped. Very clean with minimal work needed. A few things need to be cleaned up like the radio and a switch or two, but other than that, everything works and looks great!



    Around the back of the car, with the trunk closed you can see that there is a sticker on the back glass.



    Upon closer inspection, a single name is still visible through the faded colors. Ayumi Nakamura. I had never heard of her, but my girlfriend started laughing like crazy. Apparently Ayumi Nakamura was hugely famous in the mid 80s and is the epitome of what was cool in Japan back then.



    Foe those curious about Ayumi Nakamura, here's her video from the 80's that was so popular (click image or link below).


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXKnNOXUJv4

    My girlfriend still knows all the lyrics by heart!



    Before I pulled the little Life back around to park her for the night, I switched the camera to video mode and grabbed a quick video of her running. For having old gas, dirty carbs and a mostly ignored engine, it sounds pretty great! (Click image or link below.)


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwWqv3h10fw

    Finally I pulled her back to her parking spot and closed her down for the night. I took one last shot from above.



    I couldn't be happier with the car. Something about these old kei cars just makes me smile non-stop! I won't be able to get around to working on it until this weekend (I've got overtime lined up until the 1st), but it's going to be a fun weekend! I'm hoping to have it road worthy within a week and get inspected and registered within two.

    Thanks again everyone for the comments!

    Cheers,
    David

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