Daihatsu Trimobile: The Three-Wheeled Mircocar from Japan

Here's a rare beast in the US.  The Daihatsu Midget was a utilitarian microcar sold in Japan for several years and sold and marketed in the US as the Trimobile for a few years starting in about 1959.  Apparently, these were primarily used inside large manufacturing plants in the US, but can be registered and driven on the street - possibly qualifying as motorcycles.

This example is claimed as a restoration project, primarily because the engine and trans have been removed.  One could thus choose to reassemble it with is single-cylinder, ten (or less?) horsepower engine or attempt some sort of modern motorcycle engine swap.  Hmm.

So far, the price isn't crazy, but we wonder how much higher it can go, given its disassembled state.  What would you do with this cool, little ride?

Click for eBay ad
Elmer, NJ, USA
$3,000 with 19 bids and two days to go

What's not to love about this face?  Windscreen is out, but the cracked original and a lexan replacement are both included in the sale

There's really not another profile quite like this.  Fast cornering is not recommended...

This angle doesn't give much of a sense of scale,but one must realize that's a tiny wheel and tire and probably a motorcycle license plate.

Bed should hold several cases of Blatz.

This is the pinnacle of modern luxury!

Two rats nests are included in the sale.

It looks like the major mechanical bits are present, but any potential buyer should take a more detailed inventory unless a swap is planned.

Ad text:

 This is a 1961 Daihatsu Trimobile. In 1959 Daihatsu opened a dealer in California in hopes to promote their great new product. The Trimobile!  Sales were a flop. This is a 1959 model that properly didn't sell till 1961. It has a clear title matching the car dating 1961. It came from California in the 80's as you see it and has been inside ever since. It looks to be complete but will need to a restoration to be perfect. 
     This is one of somewhere between 12-50 shipped to America. It had the American badges, Mph on the speedometer, and drives on the correct side. It is tiny. With the 59 cadillacs and impalas, these did not translate well into the American culture. 
       Pickup in south jersey within 3 weeks of purchase. Rolls great and brakes work. I can help load. 856-xxx-xxxx. No calls after 7pm eastern time please. 

On Dec-17-16 at 00:21:44 PST, seller added the following information:
I have only seen 2 others from the original shipment for sale and both were no original. there are a couple in microcar museums in California and that is it. I want this to go to someone who can care for it better then me. My reserve is less then 1/10 of what they sell for once finished. Good luck and please treat my baby well.  

On Dec-18-16 at 10:04:41 PST, seller added the following information:
This car is a great car for a restoration. It looks like everything is there. I revived it as seen in photos. The side curtains are original I believe and in good condition. The glass winshield is included but cracked. There is a lexan one made to size and included in sale. There is no rust seen anywhere. The cars been repainted. It should be done again to a higher quality. Would be ok for a street car but this little car deserves much better. It will be sold to the highest bidder. I will not End the auction early but thank you for the gracious offers. I wish the best life for this car. 


  1. Be the only one at the club with a Japanese golf cart!

  2. Great article! Loved it! Appreciate the patience in putting up such determined content. Sports Cars