At $10,500, Is This 1991 Honda Beat An Unbeatable Deal?

Nice Price or No Dice 1991 Honda Beat
Nice Price or No Dice 1991 Honda Beat

While it may be fun to be “large and in charge,” today’s Nice Price or No Dice Honda proves that it might be even more fun to be itty and bitty. Let’s see how much fun this tiny import’s price offers.

A later rear bumper and tail lamps, plus a respray and a questionable fit to the driver’s side door, implied past shenanigans for the 1986 Porsche 928S we looked at yesterday. The seller wasn’t too forthcoming regarding its history, and all that led to some serious consternation around the car’s $17,500 asking price. The resolution? An 80 percent no Dice loss to start our week.

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Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

Enough time has passed that now a number of Beats are beating a path to our doorsteps, all thanks to the Federal 25-Year Rule and the car’s inherently cool nature. But does the teeny-tiny Beat accommodate itself to the American driving environment? Well, one former Jalopnik staffer seemed to think so. As ebullient as they might have been with their acquisition, the small number of Beat owners that I’ve personally spoken to have noted that the cars, while fun in certain circumstances, are not particularly well suited for things like long-distance highway driving or not being terrifying around other, normal-sized cars.


Of course, your mileage might vary. That’s why we’re looking at this Beat, as it is described by its seller as being almost as-new, and all the hard work and potential paper cuts of its importation documentation have already been handled.

The car also only has 8,000 miles on the clock. Well, 12,000 kilometers since the car is all metric. Being intended for the Japanese market exclusively, it’s also naturally right-hand drive. It rolls on a set of aftermarket wheels that, in the pictures, at least, look a little too big for the car’s britches. If a new buyer feels the same, the seller notes that the factory wheels will come with the car as well. The paint looks to be in excellent shape, and the car comes with both its fabric roof and a hardtop for those with the need for extra masochism related to ingress and egress. The only “major” flaw on the car noted in the ad is a crack in the fiberglass on that removable hard cap. The seller says the tops are readily available to purchase separately, which kind of negates the point of offering one on the car to begin with.

Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

The cabin is claimed to present well, with just some minor fading on the upholstery about which to complain. The factory steering wheel looks to have been supplanted by a wood-rimmed replacement, but everything else seems to be there. Sadly, this Beat doesn’t appear to have the oddly cool speaker pods on the top of the dashboard.

You probably wouldn’t want to listen to the radio anyway, as, according to the seller, this Beat has an exhaust system that “actually sounds insanely good.” The little 656 cc triple behind the seats breathes through three individual throttle bodies, making some fun intake sounds as well. With just 63 horsepower on tap and found only the top of the rev range, that’s some consolation for the car’s meager performance.

Photo: Craigslist
Photo: Craigslist

But it’s always fun to drive a slow car fast, right? And this is a small, slow car that might be pretty fun around town and at local car meets. It should be noted that, while the car is offered in California, those towns and meets will have to be somewhere else since California doesn’t abide by the Federal 15-Year rule when it comes to non-compliant emissions. The cost of a BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repair) sticker and the work necessary to make the car legal in the state would probably be almost as much as the car’s $10,500 cost to outright purchase.

For non-Californians, does that price feel fair for this little Honda? What do you think? Is this Beat a bargain at that $10,500 price? Or does that price tag simply miss a beat?

You decide!

Orange County, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Surftwenty2 for the hookup!

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