The Carchive Bonus Edition: Honda Motocompo

Any of you who were sufficiently dedicated to sit through today’s Carchive Video instalment will have noted this curious motorcycle as the last thing I spoke about. Well, inevitably this curious 1980s relic is SO INTERESTING that it goes way beyond the scope of The Carchive and an actual print brochure has so far evaded me.
Fortunately, somebody excellent has taken the time to scan pages from the original Honda Motocompo brochure. Welcome to a Carchive Bonus Edition.

The Honda Motocompo was sold by Honda between 1981 and 1983.
The luggage compartment of the Honda City we saw earlier was actually designed around the dimensions of the Motocompo, creating a two-in-one transportation solution. A vehicle within a car. Neat.
The bike itself, described as a “Trunk Bike” was designed in such a way as that the handlebars, seat and footpegs could fold into its body so that the whole thing became one, simple, easily accommodated cube. Except for the front wheel which kind of stuck out a bit.
It was based on off-the-shelf Honda components; the engine was the 49cc AB12E and max power was a normal-for-mopeds 2.5hp. It was the square plastic bodyshell which made the shape possible to achieve, and completely concealed the metal skeleton within.
Of course, the brochure contains precious little writing that I can understand, but what we glean from the pictures is that possession of a Motocompo unlocked all kind of lifestyle opportunities that you were hitherto denied.
Particularly those which required or encouraged the wearing of spandex or neoprene.
Despite, or perhaps because of, a strange marketing campaign involving British post-punk semi-comedy Ska artists Madness, the Motocompo never reached its intended sales target of ten thousand per month (which seems an awfully big number in hindsight). By the end of production in ’83 53,369 had found homes, at an asking price of 80,000 yen.
In retrospect it seems that the concept was just that little bit too niche. With a tiny car like the City (named, I would assume, for its intended stomping ground) and a tiny bike like the Motocompo, surely there is more than a little overlap in purpose?
How many journeys do you make that you can’t quite complete in the car and have to finish off by bike? And what about everybody else in the car with you? Where do the contents of your erstwhile trunk go when it’s full of bike?
The Motocompo was a stylish and wondrous solution to a problem I doubt anybody really had. And automotive history is all the brighter for it.
(Images gleefully pinched from the Product Design Database. Thanks. Brochure copyright remains property of Honda Motor Co.)

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  1. theskig Avatar

    Oh dear, it’s the first time I see this and (obviously) I want one!!

  2. mrh1965 Avatar

    Let’s see, we need a very American looking scene for the photo shoot. Guys eating hamburgers? Check. Pretty blond girl? Check. Pineapple? Check. Pay phone on tree? Check.
    Nailed it!

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Where did YOU think pay phones grew, if not on a tree?

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    “A vehicle within a car. Neat.”
    Ah. I can see where that would indeed be more convenient.

  4. Citric Avatar

    I’m pretty sure this person was constantly having problems only a Motocompo could solve.
    But I haven’t seen that clip in ages.

  5. smokyburnout Avatar

    Big fan!

  6. Rover 1 Avatar
    Rover 1

    This one’s just sold. NZ$ 2111.00 (US$1500ish)
    Freight from NZ can’t be that much if another one turns up?
    And you can still look out for the 1:18 model by AutoArt or the 1:43 version