Nissan Be-1

The Nissan Be-1 is the first of the four special cars to be based on the first generation Nissan March, or Micra as it was called in other continents. Released in January 1987, the Be-1 was a more retro styled lifestyle hatchback taking design cues from other famous small cars of the past.

The design is simple with just two round lights and the indicators at the front, and three light bars at the back. It can also be noticed that the window area is large, which provides good visibility around. At this time the safety regulations were not so strict which gave designers a lot more freedom. As such the front of the car is also quite upright, giving the car a bold look. The disadvantage of this is that car is prone to stonechipping causing rust. This is one of the reasons, that the front bumper, rear bumper and front fenders were made out of plastic.

Four available colors represented the colors seen in vegetables and plants. So there was Tomota Red, Pumpkin Yellow, Onion White and Hydrangea Blue. The seats in the interior were either ivory (light) or black (dark). In the interior a simple theme was adopted with the speedometer in front of the driver and a small rpm gauge next to it. In March 1987 a new option came available, which was an electronically operated canvas roof.

Only one engine option was available for the Be-1, a 52 horsepower 1.0 liter 4 cylinder from the Nissan Micra. Either a 5-speed manual transmission or 3-speed automatic transmission could be chosen. With a weight of around 700 kilogram, this power was sufficient for city driving but for the mountains or on the highway the engine was a bit weak. Surprisingly Nissan but more powerful engines in the March.

The sales price of the Be-1 was more than double than that of the Nissan March base model. However, the Japanese economy was blooming at this time and the were a lot of prospective buyers for the Be-1. So much even, that a lottery was held for the 10000 to be sold units, produced at the Nissan Oppama plant in Kanagawa prefecture, just south of Tokyo.