ah, so, FHI != Fuji Toshuda
The Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum
15 - 16 February 2013
1955 Fuji Cabin
Sold for $126,500
A highly sought-after, painstakingly restored example.
Manufacturer: Fuji Toshuda Motors Corporation
Origin: Tokyo, Japan
Motor: Gasuden 1-cyl, 2-stroke
Displacement: 122 cc
Power: 5.5 hp
Length: 9 ft. 7 in.
Identification No. 57570076
The delightful, jelly bean-shaped Fuji Cabin is one of very few three-wheeled microcars built in Japan.
With Japan in devastated turmoil, many companies scrambled for survival.
In March of 1946, the automobile division of the Diesel Automobile
Manufacturing Company was divided into the Hino truck and Isuzu
automobile manufacturing companies. The aviation division became Hitachi
Aviation. Developing new aviation technology was strictly forbidden by
the Allies, as it was considered a war industry. So Hitachi Aviation, as
well as other aircraft companies, tried to survive in non-war-related
Hitachi subsequently changed their name to the Tokyo Gas and Electric
Manufacturing Company, which, in 1952, began producing 60-cubic
centimeter engines for motorcycles and had established itself as an
engine producer of mainly small two-cycle engines. It merged with Fuji
Automobile, and together, they built their own motorcycles under the
names of Fuji Motor and Gasuden FMC. They also supplied engines to other
motorcycle makers, such as Miyata, Zebra, Yamaguchi, Hikari, and Lucky.
A decision was soon made to produce a scooter with full weather
Ryuichi Tomiya was commissioned to design the car. He had been in charge
of body design at Nissan Motors Ltd. before the war, and afterwards, he
was responsible for the design of the Suminoe Flying Feather for
Suminoe Manufacturing, of which 150 examples were built between 1954 and
1955. His work was highly respected, and he was known as “the Leonardo
da Vinci of Japan.”
The Fuji Cabin made its appearance at the 1955 Tokyo Motor Show. It was a
beautifully streamlined two-seater coupe on three wheels, and it was
powered by a Gasuden scooter motor with kick start. It was a monocoque
design, strengthened by a full-length tunnel bringing cooling air to the
motor. There were two rounded beetle-wing lids providing access to the
motor and allowing warm air to exit. At first there was a single door on
the left, but the car in the Tokyo museum has two. It appears to have
been designed to be driven only by the tiny models seen in the publicity
pictures, as the interior is somewhat cramped, and some effort is
required to climb over the central tunnel and attain the staggered
driver’s seat. The steering is by a closely-placed set of handlebars.
The small but well-engineered motor incorporates a reverse gear, unusual
for the typical Western scooter-powered microcar. There is a feeling of
solidity to the entire structure, which is helped by the coat of dense
insulation material sprayed inside the cabin roof, dashboard, and sides.
The front wheels are independently sprung on rubber, and the rear is on
a swing arm with a coil strut, providing a comfortable ride. A single
Cyclops headlamp graces the shapely nose.
Competition in the marketplace took the form of the 22-cubic centimeter
Rabbit S-61scooter from Fuji Heavy Industries, at $450, and the
250-cubic centimeter Honda Dream motorcycle for $490. At $650, the Fuji
Cabin offered full weather protection and high style for relatively
little more money. It was planned to manufacture 400 to 500 units per
month, but only 85 were built. Unfamiliarity with the handling of the
fiberglass material and a limited marketing strategy were blamed.
Edited by 1 Lucky Texan, 14 March 2013 - 02:45 PM.