Daihatsu Fellow Max

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Daihatsu Fellow Max (L38; European specification car, labelled Daihatsu 360)

The Daihatsu Fellow Max is a small Japanese automobile in the Kei car class. Originally introduced as the Daihatsu Fellow, the name was partially retained for the Max Cuore (1977) and then again for the 2000 Daihatsu Max.

360cc era[edit]


Daihatsu Fellow
1969-1970 Daihatsu Fellow Custom sedan.jpg
1969-1970 Daihatsu Fellow Custom sedan (front)
AssemblyIkeda, Osaka, Japan
Body and chassis
Body style2-door sedan
2-door pickup truck
3-door van
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel-drive
Engine356 cc ZM I2 2-stroke water-cooled
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase1,990 mm (78.3 in)
Length2,990 mm (117.7 in)
Width1,285 mm (50.6 in)
Height1,350 mm (53.1 in)
Curb weight495 kg (1,091 lb)

On 9 November 1966, Daihatsu introduced the Fellow, also known as Daihatsu 360 in export markets. Originally only available in DeLuxe and Super DeLuxe equipment levels, a Standard version joined in February 1967. Also available with a wagon body (Fellow Van), as a mini-pickup truck and as a panel van from June 1967, the L37 was conventionally built with a front-mounted engine and rear wheel drive. It used a 23 PS iteration of the 356 cc, water-cooled two-cylinder two-stroke "ZM" engine already seen in the Hijet and a four-speed manual transmission.[1] The self-lubricating ("Oil-Matic") little engine weighed only 58 kg (128 lb).[2] The Fellow was the first Japanese car to be equipped with rectangular headlights.

As a result of Honda's 31 PS N360 being introduced early in 1967, a Kei-car horsepower war broke out, with Honda, Subaru, Suzuki, Mazda, and Mitsubishi contributing competitors. Daihatsu's response, the Fellow SS, was presented at the 1967 Tokyo Motor Show in October but did not go on sale until June the next year.[3] A Le Mans-style sportscar prototype, the P-5 with the SS engine was shown alongside. The 32 PS "SS" could do the 400 meter sprint in 21.2 seconds.

The Fellow also received a slight facelift in October 1967, with a new dashboard and steering wheel most noticeable. Another minor change came in January 1969, with a fixed driver's side headrest and seatbelts installed because of new safety regulations.[3] In July, along with what was literally a facelift (the front bumper was now mounted higher), the lesser engine's output increased to 26 PS and a comparatively luxurious "Custom" version was added at the top of the lineup.[4] The size of the taillights also increased somewhat. An electric version called the Daihatsu Fellow Van EV went on sale in September 1969.[5]

Daihatsu Fellow L37 Data
Version Engine Power Torque Dimensions (mm) Weight
Top speed
Gears Production Note
PS kW at rpm kgm Nm at rpm length width height wb begin end
Std, DX, SDX[6] Water-cooled 356 cc ZM two-cycle two-cylinder 23 17 5,000 3.5 34.3 4,000 2,990 1,285 1,350 1,990 515 100 4MT 66.11 69.07 Std. from 67.02
Std, DX, SDX, Custom[7] 26 19 5,500 3.5 34.3 4,500 495 110 69.07 70.04 facelifted version
SS[3] 32 23.5 6,500 3.8 37.3 5,000 115[8] 68.06 70.04
Van Std, SDX[9]
23 17 5,000 3.5 34.3 4,000 2,995 1,295 1,430
1,940 545
85[10] 67.06 69.07 300 kg (350) payload
Van Std, SDX
26 19 5,500 3.5 34.3 4,500 n/a 69.07 70.07

Fellow Buggy[edit]

Daihatsu Fellow Buggy
1970 Daihatsu Fellow-Buggy 01.jpg
1970 Daihatsu Fellow Buggy (L37PB)
AssemblyIkeda, Osaka, Japan
Body and chassis
Body style2-seat beach buggy
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel-drive
RelatedDaihatsu Hijet S37
Engine356 cc ZM I2 2-stroke water-cooled
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase1,940 mm (76.4 in)
Length2,995 mm (117.9 in)
Width1,290 mm (50.8 in)
Height1,400 mm (55.1 in)
Curb weight440 kg (970 lb)

A beach buggy version was introduced simultaneously with the other three body styles. While highly prized by collectors today, the Buggy only sold about 100 examples and was only available for a single model year. The 440 kg Fellow Buggy was not actually a "real" Fellow, as it was built on a Hijet S37 chassis, with fibre-reinforced plastic bodywork.[11] The Buggy also used the Hijet's lower powered (26 PS or 19 kW) engine, providing a top speed of 95 km/h (59 mph).[12]

Fellow Max[edit]

Daihatsu Fellow Max
1973–1975 Daihatsu Fellow Max HT Coupé (L38GL)
AssemblyJapan: Ikeda, Osaka
Body and chassis
Body style2-door saloon
4-door saloon (from 1972)
2-door coupé (from 1971)
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel-drive
Engine356 cc ZM I2 2-stroke water-cooled
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase2,090 mm (82.3 in)
Length2,995 mm (117.9 in)
Width1,295 mm (51.0 in)
Height1,290 mm (50.8 in)
Curb weight510 kg (1,124 lb)
PredecessorDaihatsu Fellow
SuccessorDaihatsu Max Cuore
Daihatsu Leeza (Hardtop)

In April 1970, the front-wheel drive L38 Daihatsu Fellow Max was introduced to replace the rear-wheel drive Fellow. Originally only available as a two-door sedan and three-door van (L38V), a hardtop coupé with a lower roofline and a somewhat baroque front-end treatment was added in August 1971 (L38GL). SL and GXL Hardtops received standard front disc brakes. In October 1972 a four-door version (L38F) appeared; it was the only four-door Kei car at the time of its introduction. Dimensions were 2,995 x 1,295 mm as dictated by the Kei car regulations, although the wheelbase was stretched by 100 mm to 2,090 mm. The engine was a 360 cc two-cylinder two-stroke ("ZM4"), offering 33 PS (24 kW) at the time of introduction.[13] In July 1970 the SS version appeared, featuring a twin-carb, 40 PS (SAE) version of the ZM engine (ZM5) - a specific output of over 112 PS per litre. Top speed was 120 km/h, compared to 115 km/h (75 and 71 mph) for the lesser versions. In October 1972, for the '73 model year, engine outputs dropped somewhat, to 31 and 37 PS respectively to lower fuel consumption and meet new, more stringent emissions standards.[14] These engines were called ZM12 and ZM13 respectively.[15]

In export markets, this car was usually sold simply as the "Daihatsu 360". In Australia, where the car went on sale in early 1972 as a two-door sedan, it was called the Max 360X. It was the cheapest new car available in Australia at the time.[16] Unaffected by emissions regulations, it was equipped with the 33 PS version of the engine; in a period road test by Wheels magazine it reached 68 mph (109 km/h) and managed the sprint to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 33.2 seconds.[17] It was also sold as the Daihatsu 360X in New Zealand.

Daihatsu Fellow Max 4-door sedan
1972 Fellow Max Hardtop TL, rear view

The Fellow Max received a steady stream of facelifts during its existence. It underwent minor changes in March 1971 (new grille, dash modifications), March 1972 (new dash, round headlights and a new bonnet with longitudinal creases), May 1973 (changes to the fenders and new bumpers that fitted into the bodywork, and another new bonnet) and in October 1973 (new safety equipment). In February 1975 the bumpers were modified again, to allow for the fitment of new, larger license plates. The grille and front bumper arrangement was changed yet again. At the same time the interior saw some changes and the powerful twin-carb model was dropped as it wouldn't pass new emissions regulations. From now on, all models were equipped with the 31 PS "ZM12" engine.[18] In May 1976 the car underwent more thorough changes as new Kei car regulations were introduced. This also marked the end of the Hardtop versions, which anyhow had lost relevance once the twin-carb engine was discontinued.

550cc era[edit]

Daihatsu Fellow Max/Max Cuore
1981 Daihatsu Max Cuore 550.jpg
1981 Daihatsu (Max) Cuore four-door
Also calledDaihatsu Max 550
Daihatsu Cuore
AssemblyIkeda, Osaka, Japan
Body and chassis
ClassKei car
Body style2/4-door sedan
3-door van
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel-drive
PlatformL40, L45 platforms
Engine547 cc AB10/30 I2 (petrol)
Transmission4-speed manual
Wheelbase2,090 mm (82.3 in)
Length3,120–3,165 mm (122.8–124.6 in)
Width1,305–1,395 mm (51.4–54.9 in)
Height1,320 mm (52.0 in)
Curb weight535–565 kg (1,179–1,246 lb)
SuccessorDaihatsu Cuore

In May 1976, responding to a change in the Kei car regulations, Daihatsu increased the Fellow Max' engine size to 547 cc and gave it a new chassis code (L40/L40V). The name remained, although the "Fellow" portion received less prominence and some marketing material simply referred to the car as the "Max 550". The new "AB10" four-stroke two-cylinder engine replaced the old two-cycle "ZM". This, developed with help from Toyota, was an overhead camshaft design (belt-driven) which also featured balance axles to smoothen the inherently imbalanced two-cylinder design.[19] The AB10 engine was also briefly sold to Suzuki for use in the four-stroke version of their Fronte 7-S. The cleaner four-stroke offered less power than the revvy 360, down to 28 PS (21 kW) at 6,000 rpm. Torque increased somewhat, to 3.9 kg⋅m (38 N⋅m) at a significantly lower 3,500 rpm.[20]

New bumpers meant length and width were up marginally to 3,120 mm (122.8 in) and 1,305 mm (51.4 in).[21] Claimed top speed was 110 km/h (68 mph), somewhat lower than that of the 360.[22] With Honda withdrawing from the Kei passenger car segment, Daihatsu became the only maker to offer a Kei car featuring front-wheel drive.[19] The Van used the front end and front doors from the two-door Max, but with a more square-rigged rear end featuring a split tailgate (divided horizontally) and a folding rear seat which allowed for a flat loading floor.

Max Cuore[edit]

In July 1977, the name was changed to Max Cuore (chassis code L45, although Vans remained L40V). The new name also heralded a wider body shell (up to 1,395 mm or 54.9 in) which also increased the length to 3160 mm for the sedan[21] and 3165 mm for the wagon. By March, 1979 the car was renamed Daihatsu Cuore (though it still carried discrete "Max" badging), along with a power upgrade to 31 PS (23 kW) at 6000 rpm.[23] Torque increased to 4.2 kg⋅m (41 N⋅m) for the engine, which now featured the DECS (Daihatsu Economical Clean-up System) emissions control system to meet the stricter 1978 (53年) emissions standards. The front grille and emblems were changed, while the seats were improved and new colors (inside and out) became available.[23] The Cuore Van, available in Standard, DeLuxe, and Super DeLuxe grades, now had 29 PS (21 kW) on tap.[24]

Rear view

In most of Europe, the car was simply called Daihatsu Cuore beginning in 1977, although it retained the "Max" prefix in some markets. Export versions received the same lower-powered engine as the Cuore Van did in Japan.[25] 1980 saw the introduction of the parallel commercial series Daihatsu Mira, while the name "Max" finally disappeared entirely from the Cuore. In Japan, the 1979 Max Cuore was available as Standard (two-door), Deluxe (two or four doors), Custom (four-door), Hi-Custom (two or four doors), and Hi-Custom EX (four-door). The top of the line Hi-Custom EX was new for 1979.


Daihatsu Max (L950/952/960/962S)
Daihatsu-max 1st zenki-front.jpg
2001 Daihatsu Max
ProductionNovember 2001 – December 2005
AssemblyIkeda, Osaka, Japan
Body and chassis
ClassKei car
Body style5-door hatchback
LayoutFront engine, front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive
RelatedDaihatsu Move (L900)
Engine659 cc EF-VE I3
659 cc EF-DET I3 (turbo)
659 cc JB-DET I4 (turbo)
Transmission5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,360 mm (92.9 in)
Length3,395 mm (133.7 in)
Width1,305–1,475 mm (51.4–58.1 in)
Height1,550 mm (61.0 in)
Curb weight800–870 kg (1,760–1,920 lb)
SuccessorDaihatsu Sonica

The Daihatsu Max was a partial revival of the Daihatsu Fellow Max nameplate, appearing on October 10, 2001. Sales of the Daihatsu Max 5-door wagon began on November 1, using the same technical data as the second generation Move, though 10 mm lower.[26] In 2006, the Max was replaced by the Sonica.


  1. ^ 360cc: Nippon 軽自動車 Memorial 1950-1975. Tokyo: Yaesu Publishing. 2007. pp. 63–64. ISBN 978-4-86144-083-0.
  2. ^ "Top 240 Japanese Automotive Technologies: Daihatsu Oil-Matic". Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. Archived from the original on 2012-12-20.
  3. ^ a b c Nippon 軽自動車 Memorial, pp. 67–68
  4. ^ Nippon 軽自動車 Memorial, p. 73
  5. ^ "History - From Start to 1960s". About Daihatsu. Daihatsu Motor Co. Archived from the original on 2013-02-17. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  6. ^ Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 1, '60s Japanese/American Cars. Tokyo: Nigensha. 2000. p. 37. ISBN 4-544-09171-3.
  7. ^ Car Graphic: Car Archives Vol. 5, '70s Japanese Cars. Tokyo: Nigensha. 2007. p. 132. ISBN 978-4-544-09175-5.
  8. ^ Daihatsu Fellow SS catalog, Daihatsu Motor Co. (1968)
  9. ^ 360cc: Light Commercial Truck 1950-1975 (360cc 軽商用貨物自動車 1950-1975). Tokyo: Yaesu Publishing. 2009. ISBN 978-4-86144-139-4.
  10. ^ Nippon 軽自動車 Memorial, p. 96
  11. ^ CG Car Archives '70s, p. 133
  12. ^ Japanese Vintage Car Guide: Car Catalog part 2, 1970–1979, p. 53
  13. ^ Nippon Kei Car Memorial, p. 74
  14. ^ 絶版車カタログ 国産車編 Part2 1970~1979 (Eichi Mook) [Japanese Vintage Car Guide: Car Catalog part 2, 1970–1979]. Tokyo: Eichi Publishing (英知出版). November 1996. p. 54. ISBN 4-7542-5086-9.
  15. ^ "Specs Mania" ダイハツ フェローMAX・SS(L38型)1970年7月 [Daihatsu Fellow Max SS: July 1970 (L38)]. Japanese Sports Cars 1960-1990 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-12-26.
  16. ^ Robinson, Peter, ed. (January 1973). "Four of the Tiddlers". Wheels. Sydney, Australia. 38: 38.
    "The N600 has been around a few years now, but the Max and Life arrived only in 1972, early and mid-year respectively."
  17. ^ Wheels, Jan. 1973, p. 40
  18. ^ Daihatsu Fellow Max 50 (Catalog ed.), Daihatsu Motor Co, February 1975, 11840 ① 50.A 50.2. KB
  19. ^ a b "Great Car Pavilion: 1977 Daihatsu Max Cuore". Gazoo.com. Toyota Motor Corporation. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  20. ^ Costa, André & Georges-Michel Fraichard, ed. (September 1979). "Salon 1979: Toutes les Voitures du Monde". l'Auto Journal (in French). No. 14 & 15. Paris: Homme N°1. p. 175.
  21. ^ a b 絶版車カタログ 国産車編 Part3 1970~1979 (Eichi Mook) [Japanese Vintage Car Guide: Car Catalog part 3, 1970–1979]. Tokyo: Eichi Publishing (英知出版). 1997. p. 53. ISBN 4-89461-004-3.
  22. ^ Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 77/78 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A. 1977. p. 153.
  23. ^ a b 自動車ガイドブック [Japanese Motor Vehicles Guide Book 1979/1980] (in Japanese), vol. 26, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1979-11-01, p. 114, 053-790026-3400
  24. ^ 省エネルギー時代にこたえるダイハツ [Daihatsu responds to the age of energy saving] (brochure) (in Japanese), Osaka, Japan: Daihatsu Motors, November 1979, p. 5, S 54.11
  25. ^ Daihatsu 550 Sedan: Max Cuore (brochure), Osaka, Japan: Daihatsu Motors, 1978, p. 12, 1018/050/53005
  26. ^ "History of Daihatsu Kei Jidosha". xs4all.nl/~mjs/daihatsuk.html. Retrieved 2010-09-12.