Small cars are what Japan does best, and the Nissan Be-1 is no exception. It debuted in 1987, and well kept examples, usually painted a strident canary yellow, can still be found with great regularity on the streets of Tokyo. Mine is a prototype, a very early rendering that possesses many experimental features that never made it to the production Be-1. The first photo illustrates the car in its entirety, with its optional glass moonroof:
The first of its James Bond-like special features is the underhood eraser and brush, cleverly disguised as an engine block:
Flanking the hood are a ballpoint pen and mechanical pencil, accessed by rotating the front tires slightly forward, and causing the faux headlights to extend dramatically:
Convertible fans, among whose number I count myself, will really like the removable hard top:
Under the hard top can be found a staple gun, a “spare tire” tape measure (metric, naturally), and a compartment for paper clips, staples and a staple remover:
The back bumper ejects, and turns into a pair of scissors:
And finally, when straight-line speed is required, simply turn the car over, and you will find a cleverly stored clear plastic ruler:
Is it any wonder that Japanese cars continue to lead the pack?