Honda City Turbo II | Spotted

The fun white Honda hatches aren't all Civics…

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 15 June 2022 / Loading comments

There’s perhaps no more interesting genre of Japanese cars than the teeny tiny stuff. Alright, the high performance turbo icons of the early 21st century are pretty cool. But who can forget about the Daihatsu Cuore Avanzato TR-XX R4, the Suzuki Cappuccino, Mazda Autozam AZ-1 or Toyota Sera? So much ingenuity, so little space. They could only come from Japan.

This Honda City Turbo is a perfect example of the breed. Though not technically a kei car – at least not according to Wikipedia – it is tiny and packed full of intrigue. If you know the City at all the Turbo is the best known model, but there were all sorts of variants in its five-year production run during the 1980s: van, cabriolet, high-roof and more. Again, it couldn’t be more Japanese – don’t forget there was the option of a Motocompo 50cc scooter for the boot in certain models. Honda was solving the last mile commuter issue 40 years ago…

Plus, of course, the Turbo was a little ripper. It was the idea of Hirotoshi Honda, son of Soichiro and founder of Mugen, which would help explain his desire to make something small and light go very fast indeed. There was only 1,231cc of swept capacity, but maximum outputs of 110hp and 108lb ft, which sound like more than plenty with less than 750kg to shift. Fast turbo Hondas have a longer history than you might think. So do sturdy and durable ones, too – 40 years ago this summer, two Honda staff members drove a City Turbo more than 6,000 miles around Europe. It’s not clear whether they were chosen, or volunteered!

This is the ultimate as far as City Turbos go, the second generation car known as ‘Bulldog’ thanks to its more aggressive bodykit. It was introduced at the end of 1983, continuing to the end of 1986. This particular one is from ’83, so a very early example, and only imported to the UK in 2020. It’s the first one we’ve ever seen for sale over here, and looks in great nick. Which, for a 40-year-old city car, even a top of the range performance flagship, is some achievement.

It’s covered a little more 30,000 miles in that time, with all the City Turbo quirks – graphics, mudflaps, bigger bumpers, incredible floor mats and red-topped engine like all the best Hondas – in fine fettle. There’s inevitable some wear, but it’s a remarkably well preserved survivor.

Quite what the next buyer will do with the City Turbo II now is difficult to determine; in this condition and on offer at £15k, it’s probably too nice to use regularly, however mega it might be as a commuter vehicle. On the other hand, nobody needs reminding of the faster, more popular and readily available fast Honda toys that the money buys. Still, the Bulldog only needs one person to fall for its considerable charms, and there’s nothing quite so valuable as uniqueness. There’s not going to be another one at your next Japanese car meet, that’s for sure…


Engine: 1,231cc, four-cyl turbo
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],000rpm
CO2: N/A
Year registered: 1983 (2020 in UK)
Recorded mileage: approx 32,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £14,895

See the original advert here

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