At the end of the 1950’s, Daihatsu released a 3-wheeled vehicle for small lot transportation to the Japanese market. It was called the Midget and as the name suggests, it was a small pick-up truck. Sales continued until 1972 after around 340,000 have been produced. In 1996, Daihatsu reincarnated the name Midget for a small Kei-car pick-up truck.
After prototype exhibitions at the 1993 and 1995 Tokyo Motor Show, the new Midget was released in April 1996 to the Japanese market. It was actually called the Midget II in order to keep the heritage of the original model. Being a Kei-car, the regulations stipulated this car to be to have compact dimensions and a 660cc three-cylinder engine. Unique features of the Midget II were the super small turning circle of only 3.6 meter and the spare wheel mounted on the front of the car.
Upon introduction, three grades were available. Entry grade B Type, regular D Type and the high grade R Type. Prices ranged from 4.7 to 6 Million Yen. All of them came with a 4-speed manual transmission.
In January 1997 there was the first major update. For the D Type and R Type new variations were made available. Firstly, there was a new cargo variant. These did not have the open pick-up bed but a van type closed cargo space. Secondly, variants with a new 3-speed automatic transmission were added. All of these automatic grades came with in a 2-seater configuration while all the manual transmission variant were 1-seaters. Later that year, a special two-tone version limited to 300 units was made available.
Japan released new automotive regulations in 1998 which meant that the engine required an update as it was still running on a carburetor until then. The carburetor system was replaced by a electronically controlled fuel injection system. This change was complemented with a minor change in 1999 which included the relocation of the recognizable front mounted spare wheel, front bumper re-design and new safety features. March 2001 saw the end of production for this model.
Click on the picture below to see all Daihatsu Midget II versions per year and detailed specifications such as weight, new price in Japan and equipment for each version in the Goo-net.com catalog.