When it comes to retro cars, many people must remember the figure of Daihatsu Compagno in their minds. Since this car appeared in many movies and ads, the figure itself is an icon of retro mobiles. This article will give you a better insight into the development of these early products of Daihatsu.
A Brief History of Daihatsu Compagno
Daihatsu Compagno is a two-door saloon car that was produced from 1963 to 1970. It is a two-door saloon that did not attract many consumers initially. However, the release of The Compagno in Europe was a breakthrough for a Japanese company to market its product outside its country.
At its first launch, The Compagno was regarded as ‘unremarkable’ by Europeans. Daihatsu as its producer put a serious effort into it since it was the first four-wheeler that was produced by Daihatsu in its initial year. This car was designed by Vignale, making it neat and stylish without much clutter and chrome.
In 1961, The Compagno was developed as an all-purpose machine suitable for multiple body styles. The prototype was exhibited at the 1961 Tokyo Motor Show, with a design that was inspired by Fiat 1800/2100. However, it was not well-balanced, so Daihatsu revised almost the whole design due to the production.
The production version of The Compagno featured a water-cooled 797 cc four-cylinder engine with an all-synchromesh four-speed gearbox. Moreover, it also utilized a ladder-type chassis instead of a monocoque style. There were standard and deluxe versions of this car.
When Daihatsu Compagno was first imported to the UK, it cost £799. The price made this car expensive compared to Ford Anglia which was £200 cheaper. However, The Compagno contained developed features compared to its competitors, such as a heater, tinted glass, cigarette lighter, automatic aerial clock, and radio.
Through time, The Compagno was produced with several variations in body styles, engine capacity, and other additional features. However, Daihatsu ended production in 1970 and the company would not re-appear in the British Car Market until 1979 after Toyota bought this company.
4 Types of Retro Daihatsu Compagno
Although the Compagno was produced in Japan by a Japanese company, its name comes from the Italian word ‘partner’. From 1961 – 1970, Daihatsu continuously developed and modified The Compagno into different variations that will be explained below.
1. Daihatsu Compagno 800 Van-Wagon (1963 – 1967)
The Compagno van was first introduced in April 1963. This type was also the first type of The Compagno that was exported to Europe. The first model named F30V Light Van was available in both Standard and Deluxe models.
Two months later, The Compagno Wagon F30 was released. It was a more comfortable, and more passenger-oriented version of the F30V. This wagon was 20% pricier than the Standard Light Van and was the first passenger car of Daihatsu.
This Van-Wagon type was built with a station wagon body type and engines of 797 – 958 cc (48.6 – 58.7 cui). Moreover, its engine could deliver 30 -43 kW (41 – 58 PS, 40 – 58 hp) of horsepower and could produce a maximum speed of 69 mph, 111.1 km/h.
2. The Compagno Berlina (1963 – 1970)
In November 1963, Daihatsu released the Japanese two-door saloon called ‘Berlina’ with the F40 chassis code. There were Standard and Deluxe models for this type and it priced nearly the Deluxe trim of Compagno Wagon and Van. The Berlina Deluxe model had an Italianate dashboard plus a three-spoke Nardi steering wheel.
The early model of Compagno Berlina was 3 m in length and could carry 5 passengers within its compartment. It had an engine capacity of 797 cc with 41 PS/5.000 rpm. Since its first wide recognition in 1964, Berlina has received attention and praise for its speed, endurance, fuel efficiency, and engine capacity.
Furthermore, in January 1964 a heavier-duty model named New-Line (L50P/L50V) was released. The body was 500 m longer and it could carry 500 kg with a 797 cc 4-stroke engine 41 PS. Additionally, in April 1964, an upgrade of automatic oil mixing for a two-stroke engine was added to the new model of Berlina MP5.
3. The Compagno 1000 Truck (1965 – 1969)
Compagno Truck (F31P) was a model two-door pickup truck. It had an engine capacity of 958 cc with 4 stroke cylinders and 51 PS, 40 kW. Compagno Truck was the only type of Compagno that was a multi-purpose vehicle since it could carry a large amount of luggage aside from the 2-passenger capacity.
4. Daihatsu Compagno Spider 1000 (1965 – 1969)
The fourth generation, which was Compagno Spider, was an automobile with 2 two-door convertible/cabriolet body styles. Its engine was in the front that could deliver power to the rear wheels. It developed 64 bhp (65 PS/48 kW) of power at 6500 rpm and could produce a maximum speed of 145 km/h or 90 mph.
DN Compagno: The Most Recent Generation of Compagno
Even though Daihatsu Compagno has not been produced anymore since 1970, the innovation has not ended right away. Inspired by the retro Compagno, Daihatsu launched a prototype of Compagno’s new generation named DN Compagno at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. Ever since its launch, it has gained much attention.
DN Compagno took references to the retro 1962 Compagno Berlina. It is a four-door saloon coupe. In terms of performance, this type’s power source comes from a 1.0 L turbocharged three-cylinder engine, but also available with the option of a 1.2 L petrol hybrid.
Alongside DN Compagno, there are other 4 prototypes of modern Compagno. First, there is a small SUV called DN Trec which has the same powered engine from DN Compagno and is designated to be used in light off-roading streets. Second, there is a larger SUV named DN Multisix that uses 1.5 L of petrol as its power source.
Third, there is also a petrol-powered U-Space MPV kei-car that utilizes a 660 cc engine. Lastly, there is DN Pro Cargo, an electrically powered versatile load-lugger. Daihatsu claims that DN Pro Cargo will make a very effective small van for city-based companies.
Daihatsu Compagno: From Japan to A European Icon
Becoming a pioneer in Europe for Asian auto products such as Daihatsu Compagno shows us that well-made products must come from great quality of workmanship. Daihatsu has been known well for its good auto products and their excellence in workmanship throughout the years.
In the early 1960s, Europeans barely knew Japan for their mobiles. Although The Compagno has humble designs, the quality of work proved their success in leading the European market. The Compagno which was produced from far away turned out to be one of the vehicle icons in Europe for a quite long period.