A Honda Beat, Leather Seats, and Other Deets

Odometer (Legend Coupe):  561,566

Odometer (Legend Sedan):  158,203

“Midship Amusement” – what in the world could that possibly mean?  Sometimes a translation comes across a little funky when crossing continents.  When Honda engineers put together the Beat, a 3-cylinder compact car, in Japan 27 years ago, they thought that would be a fun tagline to promote the car with.  And I can say with a certainty that this little 2-seat, mid-engined car did indeed provide the most automotive amusement that I’ve had in years!

A friend recently went through extensive efforts to import and register one such car to the states: a remarkably well-kept 1991 model in yellow with only 47,000 kilometers on it (about 29,000 miles).  He was in Arizona with the car earlier this week and I got to try my hand – my left hand, that is – at shifting through its 5 gears.

One of about 33,000 total cars produced between model years 1991 and 1996, the car is a total grin-machine.  It turned heads from the second we backed it off a trailer, on every street corner, and in my own driveway.  Speed demon it is not, but the handling is precise and the shifter operates with typical Honda flawlessness.

I was able to get comfortable in the small cockpit and got acquainted with the controls.  Everything is the same as a left-hand-drive car except for the turn signals & wipers being reversed.  So the pedal layout, shift pattern, and everything else is exactly as you’re already used to.  My friend and I blasted through the gears in urban Phoenix for a few miles and by the time I’d gone a couple of blocks, I was already comfortable managing it.

That zebra-patterned interior is really one of the best parts!

Here’s a video of my experience trying the Beat out.

I spent some time over the weekend performing a leather seat conditioning on the Legend sedan.  It has original seats, and they’re in nice shape but have some cracks on them.  The process involved a product called Fiebing’s Neatsfoot Oil from the local Tractor Supply store.  It’s a regimen usually reserved for other saddles, boots, and other leather items but I’d heard from a few people it was good for car interiors.

What I discovered is that it does a nice job of moisturizing, but on lighter seats like mine, it will permanently stain the cracked areas darker so they become more visible.  I only recommend this process if you have black seats or they’re still in nice condition. This is a picture from when the oil was soaking in.

Midway through ‘soaking’

And here’s a video capturing the start-to-finish process, including a few scenes from other things like a 72,000 mile Integra GS milestone.

Since you’re already on YouTube, check out this video montage capturing the most recent 220 submissions to my “spy shot” collection.  I don’t have time to crop and upload all of them like I’ve done in spy shot blog entries in the past, but I did put them into a video which I hope you’ll enjoy.  Thanks to all who have contributed!

I have a few more links to share as we close out this week’s updates.

Darren from IDrewYourCar.com finished the latest piece of artwork for the gallery in my garage.  Check out his rendering of the 1992 Integra sedan.

And Pat from Honda Vintage Culture has started releasing T-shirt designs that revolve around Honda motorsports heritage.  A couple of weeks ago, his first 3 designs came out on Blipshift.  Subscribe to his website, VintageCulture.store and follow his page on Instagram at @hondavintageculture for more information!

My friend Kai has listed the 1989 Honda Accord SE-i that was being stored at my house for the last 6 months.  It only has 43,000 miles on it.  The 7-day, no-reserve auction began on Monday.  It’s a great car and I hope it finds a good home.

A few shots I helped Kai with ended up making their way into the auction.  Here is the listing.  He’s off to a strong start already.  At the time I type this, it’s been online for only about 1 day with bids in the low $2,000s, 156 watchers, and over 3,400 views.

Here’s the 72,000-mile readout on the Integra GS.

My friend Michael visited from Chicago last week and we met up for a bite to eat.  He has a gorgeous Vortex Blue TSX.

I also met up with my friend Daniel who has an awesome TLX A-Spec.

Thought you’d get a kick out of this license plate on a Civic Si.

Have a great holiday week!

12 Responses to “A Honda Beat, Leather Seats, and Other Deets”

  1. autoscribe1974 Says:

    Love Scott’s Beat, and really love how your Integra was rendered with the motorized mouse belts in the “Welcome!” position!

    • Haha, I noticed the same about the rendering! Gotta love those belts. It’s shocking to me that the mechanism that runs the belts never wears out. I’ve gotten in and out of my green Integra hundreds and hundreds of times and even at 250k miles, the belts are probably the most reliable part on the car. Haha

  2. Very cool post. What jumped out to me was the prominent placement of the tachometer in the Beat- definitely designed for a manual transmission driver! Was it strange working the stick shift from the left hand as opposed to the right? What did you think of that 3-cylinder E07A engine?

    Really enjoyed the seat cleaning vid- I think I’ll stick to Griot’s for now, though. Maybe if my seats were newer, I’d give it a try, but I’d worry about some of the cracks discoloring.

    Also- I was glad my Accord’s dashboard made it into your spy shot video!! 😀

    • Thanks for your contributions to the spy shot collection, as always! You’ve seen some great ones. I’m still waiting for another pic of that insanely clean Canterbury Green G2 Legend sedan you keep seeing at your gym.

      I loved the Beat. In fact, I’ve browsed classified listings and considered picking one up in the next few years. A red one would be cute 🙂 Have a great 4th!

  3. Hmm…. Honda Beat or Honda Pilot – tough call. NOT!!!
    That little Beat is the anthisis of just about every new vehicle purchased today. Too bad Honda didn’t see “fit” to import it to North America.

    Love the wall art excellent work and who knows nay become collectible in it own time…

    Too bad about the leather treatment. I looked into this and other products and regrettably there aren’t any miracle in a cans. At some point you just have to bite the bullet.

    Hope you have a great 4th today. Stay cool my friend…

    • Hope you have a great 4th as well! I see what you did there with your play on words about Honda not seeing “Fit” to bring the Beat here. Haha. Agreed, people are moving in droves to the SUV marketplace. And here I sit with 7 cars in my name and not a single one has AWD or off-road capability. Except the ILX when I feel like taking a dirty gravel road on occasion. We should have your SE done up as wall art. I bet he hasn’t rendered one yet.

  4. Yikes. Maybe you should hire your bro again to redo the seats? The ones he did for your NSX are phenomenal. Happy 4th!

    • That’s not a bad idea. I think he used a vendor called LeatherSeats.com. I’m curious if anyone still makes “kits” for the Legend given the cars are 23+ years old now. Based upon a local friend’s recommendation (and having seen their work) I think I’ll take it to a place here in PHX called TrimFit. Happy 4th to you as well!

  5. The Honda Beat looked like a real hoot to drive. I was particularly impressed with your right-hand driving skills! I’ve driven plenty of left hookers, but none have ever been manual. I don’t think I’d go all that well. The leather cracks on your seat didn’t turn out great, but surely there’s some leather craftsman who could refurbish the cracks by filling them with some sort of compound? Hope your week is going well.

    • Yeah I think the thing with the left-hand shifting is just to not “over-think” it. The gear layout is the same, the pedal layout is the same, you really just have to start rolling and see what happens, haha. But I tried it out in a parking lot before I dared go out onto a busy street 🙂

  6. Great post. Does Darren draw anything other than cars? He did a great job! I will check out his website. That’s a great gift idea for anyone…

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