The Daihatsu Handi, also called the Cuore and Mira in other countries, was initially sold in Australia as the Handivan in 1981 with the L55 chassis designation. At the start, the Handivan was only available in Australia as a 3-door commercial model.
Its interior was spartan as the design objective set by Daihatsu was to produce a small commercial and passenger vehicle, which they can market as cheaply as possible.
Powered on its first offering by 2-cylinder 547cc AB30 petrol engine producing 23 kW of power and torque of 41 N⋅m and coupled to either a 4-speed automatic transmission or the 4-speed manual gearbox.
In 1982, Daihatsu upgraded the Handivan with a new grille and came with a 617cc AD inline 2-cylinder petrol engine which had a rating of 23 kW and torque of 45 N⋅m but now only available with a 4-speed manual gearbox. The following year, a 3-speed automatic transmission replaced the unpopular 2-speed “Easy Drive” and later on a 5-speed manual gearbox replaced the old 4-speed unit. There were minimal changes to the Handivan until the introduction of the 1986 model.
The 1986 model rolled out with an all-new body, powered by a 3-cylinder 847cc ED-10 petrol engine that produced 32 kW of power at 5,500 rpm and torque of 67 N⋅m at 3,200 rpm coupled to a 4-speed manual gearbox for the base model and a 5-speed for the Deluxe model. The exterior retained the boxy shape but incorporated smoothened edges and a new front fascia. This version sold continuously until 1990.
Daihatsu dropped the Handivan name from the Australian market in 1990 with the introduction of the L201 Mira powered still by the 847cc bundled with the same transmission options. The Mira belonged in the passenger car class, but in 1992, Daihatsu introduced a commercial model with practically the same mechanicals and features, but without rear seats.
In 1995, the Mira badge reverted to the Handivan nameplate. A smaller 659cc EF 3-cylinder petrol engine powered it with an output rating of 32 kW and 58 N⋅m. This version continued to sell until 1999, sporting a new exterior based on the Japanese L500 series.
In 1999, the Handi name replaced Handivan, with the new version featuring a rounder exterior. Its redesigned front and rear fascia exuded a more modern look fit for the era. Chassis designation for this model is now the L701, powered now by a 989cc 3-cylinder EJ petrol engine producing 41 kW at 5,200 rpm and torque of 88 N⋅m at 3,600 rpm with a 5-speed manual gearbox.
Its standard safety equipment included dual front airbags and front seatbelt pretensioners. Options at extra cost were available for a two-speaker sound system with radio cassette player and installation of air conditioning.
Daihatsu sold the Handi in Australia until 2002 and eventually replaced it with the Charade, which is an entirely different series.
The Handi, or Handivan, is a practical and capable vehicle, and we still see some of them on the road used as daily drivers and for business. Simple mechanicals, not much electronics, low fuel consumption, and compact size – all these qualities make the Handi feasible to use even today. With periodic maintenance and occasional repairs, these cars can continue to be roadworthy for several years to come.
If you are looking to sell or buy a Daihatsu Handi or its parts, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can surely help you.