3rd Party Auto Box?

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3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Chris da Silva » Fri Apr 08, 2022 08:16

The "Mk 2" Cappuccino (VIN beginning with EA21R) also came with an optional factory fitted 3-speed automatic box alongside the standard 5-speed manual box.

As I have a Honda Beat as well, I found out that there was never a factory fitted auto box for its entire production run. So my question is this: Is there a third party firm who could supply an auto box to replace the manual box?

Cast your mind back to the late 50's/early 60's when the MGB was first introduced with its 1.8-litre, 4-in-line engine. A few years later, the 3500 V8 variant - known as the MGB V8 - was added to the production line, eventually superseding the 3-litre 6 cylinder MGC and using the same body shape. This [MGB V8] only had a manual box to begin with; but a 3rd party firm called Costello Engineering brought out an automatic version to replace the manual box of the MGB V8. And it was so successful that British Leyland jumped on the idea and started manufacturing the car with the auto transmission as an option to the existing manual box! Up until that happened, the MGB V8 was available in manual only!

Coming back to my point, since there is very little room where the Honda's manual box is situated, an automatic box will just need the small housing of the manual box it replaces (to fit the existing mountings in the chassis) while the innards is a brand new 3-speed system - the re-introduction of the Costello Engineering idea. The gear lever opening in the centre console can remain as original so as not to modify it and the floor pan too; the clutch pedal removed and the brake pedal shifted a little to the left to fill the space.

In the Classic Car fraternity, there are what one might call "acceptable upgrades"; and this could be worth considering for the Honda. (Come to think of it, maybe the same idea could be applied to the Autozam AZ-1 as well; as it sits between the Honda Beat and Suzuki Cappuccino in terms of mechanical layout. (It has a Suzuki F6A engine like the Series 1 Cappo and it's rear mounted like the Beat.) 8)
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Re: 3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Ian Linden » Fri Apr 08, 2022 13:29

Nothing is impossible, but you have to ask how large a market this would be to justify the cost of development. Personally, I can't see it.
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Re: 3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Chris da Silva » Mon Apr 11, 2022 06:28

Just a thought ...

Does (or did) Honda ever produce a model (other than the Beat) which used the same gearbox as the Beat? And if they did, was a 3-speed automatic box available for it as a variant?

Because if they did, there's a good chance that it could be a direct replacement because the fittings/mounting brackets would be the same.
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Re: 3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Ian Linden » Tue Apr 12, 2022 09:13

This site gives a list of Honda Kei cars. It does not mention AT anywhere, but it may be a basis for further research.
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Re: 3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Chris da Silva » Mon May 30, 2022 01:38

A bit of further research revealed to me something I never knew ... the Autozam AZ-1 is actually a Suzuki and not a Mazda! (Suzuki designed, Suzuki mechanicals etc.)

Suzuki transferred and licensed the assembly to Mazda because at the time, they didn't have sufficient room at the factory for a production line. In doing that, the name "Autozam" was introduced to detract from the link between Suzuki and Mazda! The AZ-1's production number was just 4392 units and was manufactured for only 2 years - 1992 to 1994.

But towards the end of the production run, the remaining 500 or so units went back to Suzuki; and it was renamed the Suzuki Cara.

If Suzuki had the option of a 3-speed auto box for the Series 2 Cappuccino, I'm just curious why it never fitted to the AZ-1/Cara also as an option.
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Re: 3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Ian Linden » Mon May 30, 2022 22:42

The time period in question was a lean one for the Japanese auto industry, and they probably fought shy of the development cost. I think the AZ1/Cara has a transverse engine, whereas the Cappo's is fore-and aft, so the work to graft the Cappo ATX to the AZ1/Cara would not have been trivial.
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Re: 3rd Party Auto Box?

Postby Chris da Silva » Tue May 31, 2022 01:32

That's a good point! :)
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