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So I was scrolling Cars & Bids the other day when I saw a cute little imported micro truck: a 1996 Daihatsu Midget II. I dug its front-mounted spare tiny and tiny bed. But as I scrolled through the pictures, I noticed something odd: no passenger seat. This truck is so tiny that the driver sits in the center of the cab.

What the truck is a Daihatsu Midget?

The Daihatsu Midget is a very unique Japanese-market compact truck. When the automaker began building it in 1957, it was a three-wheeler mini truck with a partially open single-seat cab.Later generations had four wheels, a closed cab, and were even available with two seats.

Wood trim interior of a 1996 Daihatsu Midget II compact pickup truck.
1996 Daihatsu Midget | Cars & Bids

Travelers would recognize it as something akin to the half-motorcycle rickshaw taxis you see in much of Asia. Fans of quirky American cars might think it looks more like the Cushman Truckster, an American microtruck introduced in 1952.

Daihatsu sold various configurations of its “mid-size” rickshaw Midget–including a luxurious fully-enclosed cab–until 1972. Then it ended the Midget compact truck’s reign.

Then in 1996, Daihatsu dusted off the Midget name and slapped it on an all-new generation of micro truck: the Midget II. The Midget II had a 660 cc engine and was available with either a manual or automatic transmission. It was also available with either one or two seats in its enclosed cab. And the cargo box could be a tiny van or an open pickup. And here’s the major upgrade, the Midget II comes with 33% more wheels than the original. That’s right, it’s a four-wheeler.

The 1996 Daihatsu Midget II on Cars & Bids

This is a 1996 Daihatsu Midget II compact pickup truck, with a front-mounted spare tire.
1996 Daihatsu Midget | Cars & Bids

The 1996 Daihatsu Midget II on Cars & Bids has an open pickup bed, a manual transmission, and only one seat. That’s right, the buyer didn’t want to spring for the second available seat belt. Or maybe they just didn’t want to share their truck’s tiny cab.

It’s a very fetching little truck, finished in an Emerald Green Metallic paint with optional chrome bumpers and roll bar. It’s got a gray interior with aftermarket wood trim. It also has aftermarket Pioneer Carrozzeria door speakers, shift knob, headliner, and window crank handles.

Why upgrade your window crank handles? There aren’t many other options when your truck has three dozen moving parts.

Other equipment includes 10-inch wheels, fog lights, air deflectors around the windows, and air conditioning.

Would you drive a Daihatsu Midget II?

Profile view of the single-seat Daihatsu Midget II compact pickup truck.
1996 Daihatsu Midget | Cars & Bids

At the time of this writing, the Daihatsu Midget II on Cars & Bids hasn’t hit $4k yet. So would you buy it to toodle around town?

The seller admits that they had it on the highway and somewhere between 60 and 65 mph, it was going full blast. But the good news is it has a metric instrument cluster, so it can hit 100!

Mor good news, this compact trcuk has been imported to the U.S. and has an Arizona title. That will make it much simpler for its driver to register and drive it than if they had imported their own from Japan.

So what is the Daihatsu Midget for? Well someone wrote on Wikipedia that these microtrucks are popular with bar owners because they are the perfect size to transport one keg. I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly would be better for around-town errands than anything that takes you on the interstate. Perhaps a farmers’ market run, if you are keeping the shopping light. One smarty pants in the comments section said they wanted to buy it so they could go for a drive with everyone they love.

If you like mini trucks, check out this Kei-Class Suzuki mini truck–it has two seats! Or you can see the Daihatsu Midget hit its top speed in the video below:


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