Cars come in all shapes and sizes, like this three-wheeled Fuji Cabin from the 1950s.

Introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1955, it was marketed as a weather-proof scooter — which it basically was.

Produced by Fuji Toshuda Motors of Tokyo, Japan, from 1957 until 1958, the cabin is considered cramped, even by the standards of these tiny little cars.

In post-war Japan, many companies scrambled for survival.

Forbidden to build airplanes, Hitachi Aviation which was associated with Hino and Isuzu, attempted to survive by producing non-war related products.

It became the Tokyo Gas-Electric Manufacturing Company and merged with Fuji Automobile, and by 1952 was producing motorcycles and small two-stroke engines, called Gasuden.

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Constructed of fibreglass, the Fuji Cabin had two front wheels and a one rear wheel, with two seats and a distinctive single headlight.

It was powered by an air-cooled single-cylinder 2-stroke 121.7 cc Gasuden engine, producing 4.1 kW and giving the car a top speed of 60km/h –and had a reverse gear.

The Cabin was engineered by Ryuichi Tomiya, a director of Suminoe Manufacturing which also produced the Flying Feather microcar and bodies for Nissan.

It featured rubber suspension, staggered seating, a cooling duct down the centre of the car and beetle-wing motor access panels.

Despite being one of the most successful cars of its type in Japan’s post-Second World War automobile market, only 85 units were built —partly because of the relatively poor quality of its fibreglass body and partly because of its relatively high price.

The thing is, if you happen to have one under a tarp in the back shed, it’s worth anywhere between $75,000 and $100,000.


1955 Fuji Cabin (Fuji Toshuda Motors, Tokyo)
Model: CabinMotor: Gasuden 2-strokeBody: Fibreglass
Years Built: 1955 – 1958No. Cylinders: 1Chassis: None
No. Produced: 85Displacement: 121.7 cc
Suspension Front: Rubber
No. Surviving: 3Power: 4.1kWSuspension Rear: Coil
Length: 2.92mGears: 3 + reverse
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Width: 125cmStarter: KickBrakes: Cable
Weight: 250kgElectrical: 6 volt3 x wheels: 4.00 x 8″
Interior: 2 seatsIgnition: MagnetoTop Speed: 45 km/h

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Tiny Cabin designed for the wet


Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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