14 May 2020

Miscellaneous classics #4: Daihatsu Hijet S91

It has been a while since I covered our humble work vehicles, so I decided to bring the spotlight on this forgotten workhorse: a 1999 Daihatsu Hijet S91!

The S90/S100 Hijet succeeded the S80 model when it was unveiled to the public at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1993. Its wheelbase had been extended by 100 mm, and was praised for its large indoor volume and quietness at high speeds. Interestingly, Daihatsu also entered the Indonesian market, where all its vehicles were sold by PT Astra Daihatsu Motor. This particular unit is more accurately known as the Daihatsu Zebra Espass, which was a 'Completely Built Up' model: JDM cars never had these rounded headlights.
They were available in both truck and van models, although I do not know why these Indonesian-market vehicles were imported in the first place. It was powered by a 1295 cc HC-C i4 engine, but as with commercial vehicles here, its top speed was limited to 70 km/h. It was 3395 mm long, had an unladen weight of 830 kg and a laden weight of almost twice is mass at 1655 kg.

Production of the S90 Hijet ended on 2007, although its successor, the S200 was introduced back in 1999. They were sold by Sin Tien Seng, our local Daihatsu dealer between 1997 to 2000. Uncommon to begin with, none are known to exist today in Singapore, although one can still see a handful of its Malaysian equivalent known as the Perodua Rusa.

Back then, I had always wondered what this unusual-looking truck was back when I was younger, and I was fortunate to be able to snap a shot of this classic before it got scrapped last year. I am sure that no one else would have bothered about an old, beat-up truck, much less photograph it. To be honest, I do not know how many of you would appreciate its existence, but I hope I have done my part in capturing a forgotten slice of history!

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