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Daihatsu Charade GTti: Spotted

Hot hatch in the best Japanese fashion: incredibly dull body cloaking a bonkers engine

By Matt Bird / Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Alright, it's quite expensive. We can all appreciate a Charade GTti but it would take a real die-hard enthusiast to spend Β£9K on one. That or a significant lottery win where all car buying fantasies, however esoteric, can be fulfilled.

Pulse racing yet?

Pulse racing yet?

But now is not the time to carp on about price. That's why the forum exists. Here we can celebrate why the GTti was (and remains) a fascinating little car, and one that provides a great template for future hot hatches too.

The fastest Charade held the laudable honour of the world's most powerful production 1.0-litre car for a very long time. Three cylinders, 993cc, dual overhead camshafts and a turbo made 100hp, an incredible achievement for 1987. And it's only now in a world of Ecoboost engines where that sort of output is being matched from such a small capacity. In the PH office we've managed to suggest the Brabus Smarts too and, er, that's it. All other suggestions for sub-1,000cc rockets welcome!

With a kerbweight of around 800kg, performance was sprightly to say the least. Top speed was 115mph according to Daihatsu; depending on where you read, 60mph arrived anywhere between 7.7 and 8.5 seconds. Certainly fast enough then, and of course accompanied by a really distinctive three-cylinder soundtrack. Daihatsu even rallied them, just to prove how tough the little Charades were.

Can't be many left now...

Can't be many left now...

Like very nearly all Japanese performance car heroes, the GTti isn't what you would call a looker. It's very much plain old Charade outside, matched inside by a feast of grey plastic. To people like us it's saved by 'Twin Cam 12 Valve Turbo' on the bumpers and GTti badges, but don't expect kudos anywhere. Even at the garden centre.

Like a few old cars now though, the Charade proves what new cars should be aiming for. Just recently we discussed how the pocket rocket has disappeared and this is just the thing that should be emulated: low weight and small displacement makes it really efficient as well as fun. Keeping the exterior fairly modest is probably a wise idea too.

This particular GTti is for sale at the same place as the EK9 Civic Type R featured recently, and is well worth a look for fans of Japanese fast cars. Predictably given that price, it's immaculate, with only 24,000 dry miles, a pristine body and faultless interior. It's left-hand drive because it's a Belgian car once. And owned by an Andalucian rally team...

Whatever, it's a very cool and very rare hot hatch. Could it be used on the road again in such condition? Fingers crossed someone will. It would guarantee a Sunday Service hero's welcome for a start...

993cc 3-cyl turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 100@6,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 93@3,500rpm
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1989
Recorded mileage: 24,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £8,995

See the original advert here.


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