Celebrate President's Day with a Daihatsu Taft!

"Why, that's a fine motorcarriage! Mighty fine!"

It’s a well-known story in Japan that when the as-of-yet-unnamed Daihatsu Taft prototype was weighed to establish its gross vehicle weight, the engineer assigned to record what the scale read was an amateur history buff particularly interested in – nay, obsessed with – Presidents of the United States. When he glanced at the scale, he had a startling revelation: the diminutive SUVlette weighed exactly the same as William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, the heaviest man to ever hold that particular office. What are the odds?

def. – 2. A readily perceived pretense; a travesty: went through the charade of a public apology.

Impossible. Because that story is a crock of axle grease. Did the Daihatsu Taft have anything at all to do with the President of the same name?
PETA would have an absolute fit.

Probably nothing. Let’s be honest for a second – any company that named their most prominent subcompact the Charade should not be scrutinized too closely where names are concerned. But back to Taft for a second (the man) – at 300lbs during the presidency, and big throughout his lifetime, his morbid obesity was always a topic of conversation and jokes. Once, while Governor-General of the Philippines, Taft telegrammed Washington D.C. with the message “Went on a horse ride today; feeling good.” It was intercepted by Secretary of War Elihu Root, who replied, “How’s the horse?” Were Taft alive right now and had he gone driving in a Daihatsu Taft, the very same interchange could have occurred. Would the 1.6L 12R engine be as out of breath as a horse with that much weight on board? Probably.
As far as I can tell, the Taft was never sold on these shores, where the Suzuki Samurai puttered where the buffalo roam, and was subjected to some of the same re-badging-as-a-Toyota nonsense that other Daihatsus have had to put up with since the larger company acquired the little producer of little cars. We did receive the Taft’s successor, sold here as the Rocky, which succeeded brilliantly in failing to compete with Suzuki. Perhaps if they’d painted more of them that awful teal color so many Samurais were cursed with. However, if you have 3,000EUR burning a hole in your pocket, this F20 Taft is for sale in Italy in half-dead-because-it-had-to-carry-President-Taft-a-quarter-mile slightly used condition.
Wikipedia and Anamera/Finecars.cc

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  1. Jim-bob Avatar
    Jim-bob

    The Charade was a very good little car. Sadly, it had a horrible name and never sold well here either. That's too bad too as it had a lot going for it. The US needs more three cylinder cars and the Charade was one of the best ever made.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      Especially the late '80s to early '90s GT-ti, 99hp of turbo-three-pot fury. A true giant killer.
      <img src="http://www.classicandperformancecar.com/front_website/octane_interact/modelpicture.php?id=8608&quot; width="350/">

  2. FЯeeMan Avatar
    FЯeeMan

    I kept eye-balling the 911 behind Mr. President's head.
    Three chances to get the red car behind the 911. For this crowd, the first two won't even count.

    1. Jim-bob Avatar
      Jim-bob

      Citroen 2CV?

  3. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    Mr. Taft wouldn't fit in a Taft.

  4. Alff Avatar
    Alff

    The real story – This model is called the Taft because it is extremely prone to rollover. So much so that if you drve one you are likely to die in that tub.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      This one's a real PCH candidate, too. I can barely remember any Italian, but the ad seems to state that the engine turns over but won't run, the body needs restoration, and it has no title. Buon' fortuna finding parts for it.

    2. Van Sarockin Avatar
      Van Sarockin

      But if it rolls over, it will keep on rolling over, given the general rotundity. Feature, not bug.

  5. dukeisduke Avatar
    dukeisduke

    I used to see a Charade on my way to work most days, but I haven't seen it in a couple of years. I also used to see a maroon Rocky around town, but I imagine both are now in the junkyard or have been shredded.

  6. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Just so you know, the Daihatsu above, HFP227V is still registered as being on the road. Comes up as a 2500cc diesel, first registered 17 12 1979.
    <img src="http://www.martingordon.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/the_more_you_know.jpg"&gt;

    1. Jim Brennan Avatar
      Jim Brennan

      So, how do you look up that information? Is it just for the dealers?

      1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Aha! Use this link and click on Vehicle Enquiry. All you need is the license plate number and the vehicle manufacturer. It tells you when the car was registered, when the licence is due for renewal, fuel, engine capacity etc. Useful free tool us Brits get.

        1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar
          BlackIce_GTS

          *click*
          W112 BHG
          TVR
          (yes, I know it's number plate offhand)
          Date of Liability 01 04 2010
          Date of First Registration 20 06 2000
          Year of Manufacture 2000
          Cylinder Capacity (cc) 7730CC
          CO2 Emissions Not Available
          Fuel Type Petrol
          Export Marker Not Applicable
          Vehicle Status Unlicensed
          Vehicle Colour RED
          Vehicle Type Approval
          Vehicle Excise Duty Rate for vehicle
          6 Months Rate £112.75
          12 Months Rate £205.00

          1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

            So that particular monster is overdue tax by eight months, meaning it's either off the road or being driven illegally. Either way, yes please. My favourite car on Gran Turismo 3.

        2. Slow Joe Crow Avatar
          Slow Joe Crow

          So does somebody still have Number 6's plate KAR 120C (last know owner was Caterham)?

  7. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    A Rocky-engineed Charade was our Nemesis at Thunderhill '10.
    It seems they caught our bad luck bug later in the year at Buttonwillow.

    1. smokyburnout Avatar
      smokyburnout

      Was "Dai Hard" their theme or just a name?
      In other words, was team Überbird their Hans Gruber?

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        Basically just a name.Their theme was “we have a frighteningly fast Daihatsu that's self-disassembling”.

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