Tips, Tricks & Trends

Everyone’s Going Gaga Over This ’80s Honda Scooter

Classic styles aren’t limited to the 60s and 70s anymore, both for cars and motorcycles. As the rise of Radwood and the continuation of Hot Import Nights shows, the 80s and 90s are in, man. JDM vehicles are especially popular, and not just performance stars like the Skyline GT-R. Obscure models like the Autozam AZ-1 and Honda Beat are also having their moment in the spotlight. And at the intersection of JDM oddness and 80s rad-ness is the Honda Motocompo and its City Turbo II carrying case.

The Honda City Turbo II came with a built-in scooter

Japan’s cities faced the same issues in the 1980s as they do today: lack of space, Hagerty reports. It’s why native automakers created kei cars and trucks, for cheap, economical, compact transport. The Honda City is technically a subcompact, not a kei car, RideApart reports, but it’s designed on the same principles.

The front seats and dashboard of a 1983 Honda City Turbo II
1983 Honda City Turbo II interior | Bring a Trailer

However, the base Honda City wasn’t particularly fast, Automobile reports. Although it only weighed about 1650 pounds, its 1.2-liter four-cylinder originally made just 44 hp. In comparison, the Honda City Turbo II is practically a hot hatch. With an intercooler, its 1.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 108 hp and 118 lb-ft, Bring a Trailer reports.

A blue 1983 Honda City Turbo II with a yellow unfolded Honda Motocompo scooter on a brick driveway
1983 Honda City Turbo II with Honda Motocompo | Bring a Trailer

The Honda City Turbo II is fairly well-equipped for its time. Its features list includes A/C, a sunroof, fog lights, an aero kit, and even an in-dash drink cooler, RideApart reports. But its most impressive feature is in its rear cargo area. That’s because, instead of a spare tire, it has a scooter.

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Even though the Honda City Turbo II is very small, Tokyo traffic often forced owners to park miles away from their destinations, Jalopnik reports. To make the commute easier, Honda offered all City models with a folding Motocompo scooter.

But it wasn’t simply shoved in, though. The Honda Motocompo is specifically designed to fit in the City’s trunk, Nippon Imports reports. The seat, handlebars, and footpegs fold into the scooter’s plastic body. And the hatchback has built-in straps to hold it in place.

Driving/riding the Honda Motocompo and City Turbo II today

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The Honda Motocompo has more in common with the modern Ruckus than the ADV150. It has a 49cc two-stroke single-cylinder rated at 2.5 horsepower and a max speed of 30 kph (19 mph). However, it weighs less than 100 pounds, Automobile reports. Basically, it’s a moped that you don’t need to pedal.

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As for the Honda City, it’s sportier than you might imagine, SpeedHunters reports, especially the more powerful Turbo II. There was even a one-make racing class for them which briefly ran in the 80s. Like the Fiat 500 Abarth and classic Mini Cooper, there’s a joy in driving a slow car fast. There’s a reason it was nicknamed “Bulldog.”

It’s Radwood royalty and getting more expensive

The Honda City was never sold in the US, but thanks to the 25-year import rule, it’s now legal to import. Finding one with its accompanying Honda Motocompo, though, maybe difficult. Honda made roughly 54,000 of them, RideApart reports, and they were often separated from their original City cars.

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Given that rarity and their 80s Japanese design, it’s not surprising that both the Honda Motocompo and City have risen in value. And they’re at their most valuable when sold together. In 2017, a 1985 City Turbo II sold for $5,100 on BaT. Meanwhile, in June 2020 a 1984 non-Turbo example with its Motocompo sold for $10,000. And on August 18th, 2020, a 1983 Honda City Turbo II with a Motocompo sold for $25,000.

1992 Nissan Pulsar GTi-R
1992 Nissan Pulsar GTi-R | Toprank Importers

$25,000 can buy you a great Nissan Pulsar GTi-R or Toyota Celica GT-Four. Or, you could almost buy a brand-new Volkswagen GTI for that much. But then, this is the same kind of situation as the $50,000 90s Civic Si. And how many GTIs come with a fold-up scooter in the back?  

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