Tokyo Motor Show: Daihatsu saves the day

The Tokyo Motor Show was largely disappointing this year, mainly caused by high expectations. There was no Gran Turismo reunion of Supras, Zs, and Evos. In fact, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi all highlighted some sort of electric crossover van thingy. It was up to tiny Daihatsu to show something, anything of interest to JNCers. 

The Daihatsu DN Compagno is a swoopy “coupe” sedan with styling inspired by the company’s 1963 Compagno. Helpfully, Daihatsu brought out a classic one to display side by side with the new concept.

Both are 1000cc, but the concept is turbocharged, which presumably means it will have more power than the 55-65 horsepower (depending on spec) of the original. A proposed 1200cc hybrid would be another option.

Beyond that, Daihatsu didn’t really specify details on the powertrain, probably because this is just one of the company’s many wild Tokyo Motor Show concepts.

The styling is really what the DN Compagno is all about. It has some wonderful touches, like beautiful taillights that hint at the original’s. It also has a retro grille shaped like the ’63’s and interesting creases that mimic the classic’s lines.

While the original was available in 2-door and 4-door sedan, wagon/van and ute body styles, the new one is one of those annoying 4-door coupes that has a swoopy roofline and rear doors that try to be hidden as much as possible.

The original Compagno on stage is probably a privately owned car, as it sports several grille badges that wouldn’t be on a museum car. Among them are badges from the Daihatsu Compagno Owners Club, Suzuka Circuit, and an Excellent Driver recognition from a Japanese insurance company. The most important one, however, is the special 1964 Tokyo Olympics JAF grille badge.

Right now, there are ads all over Tokyo promoting the 2020 Olympics. The original Compagno debuted a year before the first Tokyo Olympics, in 1964. That was a pivotal year for Japan, which had mostly been seen as a somewhat backwards aggressor during World War II. Japan fast-tracked development of the expressway system, Shinkansen and many other technologies to show it was ready to join the society of first-world nations. It’s a time of great nostalgia for all Japanese citizens, not just enthusiasts, so perhaps it is more resonant than a new Supra would be.

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7 Responses to Tokyo Motor Show: Daihatsu saves the day

  1. John Moran says:

    It came without Supras.
    It came without Zs.
    It came without GT-Rs or rotaries.
    And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.

  2. Mark says:

    I’m happy with the Dai’s 😉

  3. エーイダン says:

    Say what you like about the little Dahatsu hiding it’s rear doors, to me it looks like something I would go into a showroom and take a good look at, because it’s small, it’s Japanese and it’s styling is without the pretentiousness of the cars seen in recent years. Cars like the Civic with the Lambo-esque rear fascia have ruined cars of the past decade for me and I’m only 18. This and that Honda EV Concept look like the Japanese car makers are waking up and reigning in the stylists and with this harking back to the retro designs, it seems styling will look good again.

    • Ant says:

      Agree wholeheartedly. This Daihatsu was comfortably my favourite car at the show – beautiful inside and out and the perfect size. Both this and the Honda Sports EV (and the Urban EV) seem to bring back the style and class (and proportions) of the 1960s but are thoroughly up-to-date at the same time.

      Since the last Tokyo show I’ve been pining for a production version of the Toyota S-FR, but I think I’ll spend the next two years hoping Daihatsu produces the DN Compagno…

    • Randy says:

      “Cars like the Civic with the Lambo-esque rear fascia have ruined cars of the past decade for me and I’m only 18.”

      THAT says a lot, since YOU are the group they want to get interested…

  4. RX626 says:

    This car will not be sold on the market, surely.
    However, I would like to see how this car runs through the city.
    It is similar to mk1 Daihatsu Copen and Fiat 500. It makes smile just by being there.

    Many of today’s cars are designed to be angry.
    Compagno has a tendency a little, but this car is still cute.

    The world needs such a car.

  5. Baskingshark says:

    Original Compagno was also available as a 2-door convertible, the Compagno Spider (which wasn’t a Spider, but anyway…)

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