Weekend Edition: Daihatsu Charade Turbo

If the 1977-introduced Daihatsu Charade was as humble as an early Civic, the ’80s and ’90s turbocharged, sometimes De Tomaso -endorsed turbo versions were anything but. Sharp bodykits, large graphics, two-tone paint – you name it, these things probably had it. Boosted triples galore!

This is, in fact, De Tomaso turbo. Magnesium Campagnolo wheels on ultra-low profile performance tires – 165/60R14, such madness! The IHI turbocharger made sure the cars were good for 80 horsepower.
The Italian connection originally stems from the Innocenti-built redesigned Minis, which sometimes had a bit of De Tomaso flair on them. As the British powerplants were deemed jurassic in the longer run, Daihatsu three cylinder units were favored instead, and the De Tomaso packages smoothly carried over.
This is the dashboard you would be admiring, were you not to opt for the Momo steering wheel.
Still, the front does look incomplete without enormous fog lights on the bumper.
The Charade was extensively re-engineered for ’87, and the hot version was dubbed the GTti, with the extra t tacked on to signify a turbocharger and the i for intercooler.
Those 8,2 seconds it took to propel the little car to 100 kph must have been exhilarating.
This practically minuscule image is the only one I can source of a third-generation Charade with the DeTomaso package. Still, it shows they did exist, and that they went with Speedline wheels instead of Campagnolo magnesium jobs. An ANSA exhaust is a nice touch.
The rounder fourth generation car also benefits from the De Tomaso package. The generic, Subaru-like design is more forgettable, but this time around they didn’t skimp on the front bumper goodies.
Inside, the steering wheel was now by Nardi instead of Momo.
From the rear, the car definitely resembles the Toyota Starlet.
You could also get the second generation car as a turbodiesel version, again with three cylinders. The thrum of the engine must be tremendously entertaining on a daily basis: here’s a soundbite.
[youtube width=”720″ height=”480″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMaVrUIU_lg[/youtube]

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  1. tonyola Avatar

    It looks like Alejandro De Tomaso was willing to whore his name out to whoever had enough cash.

    1. roguetoaster Avatar

      Call me morally corrupt, but I’d do the same thing if I had a cool name/company like his.

    2. Van_Sarockin Avatar

      Mr. Pantera could do whatever he wanted.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        That includes doing a crappy job of building beautiful cars.

    3. jim Avatar

      Reminds me of a certain Texas chicken farmer…

  2. cronn Avatar

    Very few cars have three-cylinder turbodiesels. AFAIK, the Alfa 33 is another. Im guessing that an inline four-cylinder wouldn’t fit in the engine bay originally designed for a flat-four.
    The Subaru flat-four diesel was still a decade (ish) away.
    By the way, I’m told that swapping glow plugs in a turbodiesel transporter T3 (Vanagon) is … shall we say, interesting.