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In Pursuit of Perfection: Honda Kei-Truck Crawler – Japan’s Hidden 6-Wheel Wonder

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TEXT: 高桑秀典(TAKAKUWA Hidenori)  PHOTO: 高桑秀典(TAKAKUWA Hidenori)

  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994
  • Acty Crawler, a manufacturer's genuine 6-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994

If you remove the rubber caterpillar, it is a genuine manufacturer’s six-wheel vehicle

On Saturday 24 February 2024, the 2nd “Kei-Truck & Super Cub Meeting” was held in Ibaraki Prefecture. From the venue of this unique event organized by the Super Cub Enthusiasts’ association, we spoke to the owners who took part in the event, this time in an Acty Crawler, a genuine manufacturer’s six-wheel light truck launched by Honda in 1994.

A special version for rough terrain introduced in 1994

The Honda Acty Crawler is based on the second-generation Acty, which was produced from 1998 to 1999, and is a rare and unique vehicle that was added to the range when minor changes were carried out in 1994. With a caterpillar rear, it is one of Japan’s most famous stray cars. It could be driven on public roads, so it was active in fields, muddy areas, slopes, rough terrain, snow-covered and uneven terrain, meadows, golf courses, mountainous areas, and sandy beaches.

The base model was the Acty Attack for farming, which had a special four-speed manual transmission with ultra-low and ultra-reverse gears and a real-time 4WD rear differential lock function as standard equipment, with four wheels plus crawlers (rubber caterpillars) at the rear of it.

Acty crawler, which he was used to seeing in his hometown

“Thirty years ago, a farm equipment shop near my house had a Honda Primo shop, where they sold Acty crawlers that could be used in the fields. I often looked at them, but I had the impression that they were there, but I never wanted or wanted to buy one.”

The owner, Yutayan, who was 59 years old at the time of the interview, said that 30 years ago he was still young and never thought about buying an Acty Crawler, but one day he had an irresistible urge to buy one.

“Okay, let’s buy one! After about three or four years of searching, I found out from a major used car information website that there was someone who had many Acty Crawlers in a distant place, and when I checked, I found that a good quality car was priced at 2.5 million yen. Even the ones that were not in very good condition were 1.5 million yen, so I passed on them. There was also an Acty Crawler at a farm equipment shop near my house that was still going strong, but I couldn’t buy this one.”

And yet, undeterred, I kept looking, and about ten years ago I got my wish and bought this 1994 Acty Crawler.

“The most important thing is that it is a catalog model six-wheel vehicle. I use it mainly for leisure.”

He also owns a Z32 Fairlady Z convertible as a hobby car.

When we also asked about “Yutayan”‘s past car history, the line-up included a classic “Mini”, a Nissan “Cefiro”, an R31 “Skyline” and a Mitsubishi “Lambda”. He currently uses a 1992 Z32 ‘Fairlady Z Convertible’ bought six or seven years ago, together with an Acty Crawler, and a 2023 Hyundai ‘Ionic 5’ EV as his footgear. It was quite a varied line-up.

They also said they would like to take part in old car events in the future, so I’m sure we’ll run into Yutayan’s Acty Crawler somewhere.

translated by DeepL

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