11 June 2021

More than an old car #173: Daihatsu Move


It gives me great pleasure to share about old cars in Singapore, from the overly exotic to the downright quotidian. While most people naturally gravitate to the weird and wonderful, I have a soft spot for rather common ones as well, which the Constant Reader would have known from my posts. What makes it more unfortunate is that most people would not even know of their existence until they disappear, such as this 1999 Daihatsu Move L901...

The Move first appeared in 1995, where it shared the same platform as the kei-size Mira. Classified as a light "tall wagon" or minivan, the additional overhead space was much welcomed compared to the Mira. This 2nd-generation L900 Move (also known as the L901 for export markets), was introduced in 1998 due to the revision of collision safety for mini vehicles. While it followed its predecessor's design in order to save costs, the overall appearance was modernised. Italdesign Giugario was involved in making this rather unassuming car look attractive: considering the standards of its time, it has not fared too badly.

A variety of grades were available for the Japanese domestic market although the engine size was capped at 659 cc. These included a turbocharged version known as the Aero Down Custom, on top of various add-ons like aero parts and decals on the doors. Export versions had a larger engine but consequently less varied than its Japanese siblings. Closer to home, the Perodua Kenari was introduced in 2000, where it shared many similarities with the Move.

The Move was powered by a 989 cc EJ-DE i3 engine, although JDM versions had the 659 cc EF-SE engines in order to qualify as a kei car. It could reach a top speed of 140 km/h, with an acceleration of 15 seconds [0-100 km/h]. As a result of kei car deimnsions, it was only 3411 mm long and weighed 790 kg, with a fuel consumption of 5.7 litres / 100 km

Production of the 2nd generation Move ended in 2002 where it was succeeded by the L150 series. However, the made-in-Malaysia Kenari remained up till 2009: there are still quite a handful in Singapore. The same cannot be said for the Move: this unit was scrapped just 4 days after I saw it outside the Toyota/Lexus showroom and I believe none still remain here. It happened to be driven by a car dealer: the owner might had wanted to trade it in for something newer. Interestingly, the steering wheel had been modified to accommodate a disabled driver, similar to this contraption here:

I felt it was both amazing and poignant that this little workhorse had served its owner for the past 20 years even through disability, until it outlived its usefulness: perhaps the owner may have given up driving for good, or had chosen one of the newer Toyotas out there in order to continue enjoying the freedom of the road. Truth be told, the Move just felt puny and probably inadequate for future driving duty. 

While the Move has gone the way of the dodo at least in Singapore, I was still glad to have captured this unassuming classic right before it disappeared, and I will continue to try to preserve our car history as the years go by! Hope that this has been a refreshing peek into something you might not have observed usually...

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