Sunday 12 April 2020

Almost Real: Honda City Turbo 2 and Motocompo bike

Having looked at the Honda Ballade CRX previously, it felt wrong to not look at its squarer and rather more insane contemporary, the Honda City Turbo II. 

Veritably exploding onto Japanese streets in 1982, the Turbo II was the member of the Honda City family that did all the drugs and lived its life in the most frenzied manner. It was certainly rather more wild in spirit than the earnest, ruthlessly efficient economy boxes that made up the rest of the range.

Sold in other markets as the Jazz, the City's boxy "tallboy" shape was even more perpendicular than was the norm among its European equivalents. Technically, those included the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, even though the original Mini and Fiat 126 were among the few cars of the time that could actually compete with it directly in terms of sheer diminutiveness.

The Turbo II's basic engine found its mechanical basis in the 1231cc, four-cylinder ER engine common to the rest of the range. While its siblings rattled out 67hp, though, turbocharging and sundry other changes brought power to a rampant 110hp, with intercooling adding 10hp over the regular Turbo model.

Probably the most prominent change inside, and just about visible in this shot, was the adoption of a digital speedometer mounted in the centre of an analogue speedometer. Honda was prone to this kind of behaviour, first getting up to co-axial instrumentation high jinks with the first Honda Prelude.

It's worth mentioning those fender flares, or boxed-in wheelarches, if you prefer. It was these that made the Turbo II (Or Bulldog as it was otherwise known) distinct from the less psychopathic regular Turbo. They weren't just for looks, either, being needed to conceal a wider track than regular Citys, as well as wider wheels and tyres.

Remove the rear compartment carpet from this quite frankly stunning AUTOart 1:18 model (feel free to confess in the comments section if you hadn't realised that you're not looking at the real thing), and you'll find a replica space-saver spare wheel beneath. 

What's usually carried in the boot, though, is rather more interesting.

Honda's Motocompo folding motorbike was conceived at pretty much the same time as the City, and in fact the latter's boot was actually designed around the dimensions of the former. A 50cc bike, packing 2.5hp of throbbing two-stroke power, the Motocompo's handlebars, seats and foot-pegs articulated in such a way as to occupy about as much room as a hefty suitcase when in "being lugged around" mode. 

Seemed a wonderful idea, and the model is a gorgeous thing indeed, but Motocompo production ended 1983 while the City still had a few more years in it.