Quick trivia question: Do you know how many new car models are on sale right now in America?
Don’t worry, that’s not a pass-fail question — I’m not sure exactly how many are kicking around right this moment, either. If the first answer that came to your mind was “a lot”, however, you’re still in the ballpark. That said, even with several hundred different cars and trucks on sale in the U.S., all the variants that fall neatly into pre-defined segments broadly fill the same purpose. Many people even say they’re all the same, and it’s hard to argue that logic with some types of cars, like crossovers.
It’s tough to find something truly obscure, but that’s what we’ve managed to do here. In this video, Tommy takes a closer look at one of the rarest and shortest-lived cars sold in this country. Can you guess what it is yet? Here’s a hint: It is an SUV, and it’s an off-roader at that. Check out the video below to see what we just purchased:
Oh yeah, eat your heart out Suzuki Samurai!
If you already guessed by the shape — or you didn’t watch the video before reading on, you spoilsport — we bought a 1990 Daihatsu Rocky. It’s really not all that different from a Suzuki Samurai, in that it uses a 1.6-liter engine and is built on a ladder frame chassis. The Japanese automaker sold only two cars in the U.S. market in its three year stint, the other being the hysterically named “Charade”.
More food for thought: The Daihatsu Rocky also shared its engine with a sedan called the Applause. If you’re curious, the excellent names throughout the Toyota subsidiary’s history don’t end there.
Still, the first-generation Daihatsu Rocky sported four-wheel drive with low range. You could get it with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual, and there was even a fully electric version in 1990, developed in collaboration with the Kansai Electric Power Company in Japan. Daihatsu eventually replaced the Rocky in 2002 with the “Terios”, but they actually brought the name back just last year for a brand new, Toyota Raize-based crossover.
Check out the video above to find out even more about it, and stay tuned to TFLclassics for more videos coming soon!