Roadsters, you might argue, are best when they're small and nimble. If you're thinking of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, you're on the right track, but there have been even smaller ones: pint-sized, three-cylinder roadsters like the Daihatsu Copen, Suzuki Cappuccino and Smart Roadster. But the most iconic and enduring of them was surely the Honda Beat.
Designed by Pininfarina, the Beat was – not unlike the F40 was for Enzo Ferrari – the last car approved for production by company founder Soichiro Honda. It complied with Japan's strict Kei car regulations and packed a tiny, naturally aspirated 656 cc that produced just 63 horsepower. The cult classic ended production in 1996, but six months ago Honda hinted at a revival with the presentation of the S660 concept at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. Now it seems Honda – or Yachiyo, we should say – is gearing up to put it into production at the same factory that produced the Beat two decades ago.
That plant is the Yokkaichi factory, a facility owned by Yachiyo Industry Co., Ltd. that builds small cars on contract for Honda. It was slated for a major expansion a few years ago until Honda shifted some of its small car production to its own plant in Suzuka, but continues to build the N series of boxy, upright hatchbacks, as well as small commercial vehicles like the Life and Vamos lines. The reintroduction of a small roadster line to the factory's output sometime in 2015 will undoubtedly be a cause for celebration in Yokkaichi. For our part we can only hope that American Honda CEO Tetsuo Iwamura gets his way and manages to bring the S660 to the US in the near future.