Kei vehicles are unique to Japan, where they serve an important role in the country's automotive culture. The vehicles must adhere to many restrictions, mainly in size and engine displacement, but that hasn't stopped many manufacturers to create some amazingly fun-to-drive sporty examples.
Once such car is the Daihatsu Copen, a convertible that can be considered a genuine sport car. The second-generation model, which appeared in 2014, featured a D-Frame body and came powered by a turbocharged 3.0-cylinder engine, complete with variable valve timing. It also had what the company called the Dress-Formation system that allowed body panels to be easily removed and replaced to change the look of the car.
Using this car as a base, the COPEN RJ Vision Gran Turismo was created to explore the full sporting potential of kei cars. RJ stands for "Racing Jacket," which refers to the car's sporty exterior. The car indeed has the look of a warrior dressed for battle with an oversized front spoiler, rear wing and diffusers. The car's aggressive fender flares adds to the car's "let's get down to business" nature.
By law, the engine's displacement remains 660 cc, but boost pressure has been increased to allow the 3.0-cylinder to produce 146.9 HP and 149.0 ft-lb of torque. Also, curb weight has been reduced to just 1,323 lbs, giving the car the acceleration pop of bigger sports cars.
In the 1960s, Daihatsu competed in motorsports with the classic P-5. The COPEN RJ Vision Gran Turismo is meant to carry on that fighting spirit.