December 2nd, 2005 by Wattsy
First released in Japan in 1980 was daihatsu’s replacement of their popular Max model with a new car known as the Mira. It was a small 2 cyl 550cc hatch that was available in both 3 and 5 door versions with a 4 speed manual or optional 4 speed clutchless manual known as “Easy Drive”. The Mira was marketed differently in many countries, in the UK it was sold as a Domino and as a Cuore in many other parts of the world.
In Australia the Mira was sold only as a 3 door commercial version called the Handivan and was released in 1981. The L55 handivan was soon upgraded to the L60 model in 1982 which had a new grill and increased engine size of 660cc.
This first generation body continued untill 1986, the only other changes were the introduction of a conventional 3 speed auto that replaced the unloved “easy drive” and an optional 5 speed manual.
The 1986 L80 saw an all new body and the introduction of a 3 cyl 850cc engine, this motor was probably only used on export cars as Japan favors 660cc or lower engines to comply with a tax rule that allows cheaper registration of these cars known as Kei class cars.
In 1990 the Handivan name disapeared from the Australian market when the L201 Mira passenger car was released, by 1992 a comercial version was also released (same car, just no rear seats). The L201 still featured a 850cc engine but in a new body.
In 1995 the Mira name was dropped in Australia and the Handivan returned, now with a 660cc engine again possibly due to production of the 850cc engine finishing. The Handivan continued untill 1999 when the new L701 was released with a 1 litre engine. The name was shortened to just Handi and a new passenger version called the Cuore was released.
The Cuore continued until 2003 when it was replaced by the L251 model and renamed Charade, the Charade was formally a seperate model altogeather that had not been sold since 2000, the Handi commercial version was dropped in 2001.
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