En Chantez: Not Your Average ’70s Kei Car

‘En Chantez’ is not the most accurate French, but I’m sure you guys understand what I’m getting at with the title. You’ll be seeing the Umihotaru PA side of my 7’s Day coverage very soon, but first I wanted to share a couple of spotlights with you first, starting with this Mazda Chantez

If you’ve never heard of this model, don’t worry – before RE Amemiya stuffed a 13B into one for the 2016 Tokyo Auto Salon, neither had I.

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This kei car from the ’70s came with a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke, ‘Double A’ engine, which was a pretty interesting powerplant for what was supposed to be an economical little city car.

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But the Chantez was actually supposed to be the entry-level, rotary-powered car of Mazda’s lineup. A 360cc (or thereabouts) single-rotor 3A to keep within Japanese kei car regulations for engine capacity was planned, but other domestic manufacturers lobbied against it. They felt the engine would provide an unfair power advantage and wanted the Chantez made ineligible for kei classification. Mazda eventually gave up on the rotary idea, but still brought the car to market with the 2-stroke.

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It’s a true pity that a rotary-powered Chantez never came to be as it would have made for a incredibly unique car. Fast forward 40 years though, and Japanese enthusiasts are righting the wrong with custom-built creations like the one you’re seeing here. As you may have guessed, the license plate is a reference to its 13B engine.

The Chantez has a pretty compact cabin, but in theory it’s still a four-seater. Not this one, though.

7s_day_2017_dino_dalle_carbonare_57

I’m not giving much more away on this thing as it’s just too well executed to pass up for a proper feature, but I just couldn’t wait to share!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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19 comments

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1
ReallyForeverAlone

Man I'm pissed I didn't get to go to any car meets when I was in Japan over the Christmas break...

Author2
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Check out the new year meet at Daikoku

3

As a french person, I am very triggered right now. It's "enchanté", in one word, as it is a verb of its own. Anyway, small but great article Dino (the pun was bad :D)!

4

Bah, pas si mauvais que ça... On peut aussi dire qu'ils roulent "en Chantez" ;)

Author5
Dino Dalle Carbonare

haha take it easy my French friend, I knew it was going to be bad but I just had to do it lol ;)

6

Et moi qui pensait être seul !

7

Non-non...
Apparemment on est trois. ^^

8

Yea...What you did there... That's like a woman stripping to her underwear and then shutting the door in your face.
Thought I was going to be reading something super awesome.
DAMN YOU!

9

Really what does it lack to get a proper feature?
It's the first time I'm pissed off (specially an article by Dino), it's already mentioned that it got the right way even a better way than Mazda itself.
But in the end, cars aside, I'm a motocross guy so the 2 stroke engine with its distinctive exhaust smell lives in me, so both engines are good to me.

Author10
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Haha come on it deserves it...

11

wicked!!

12

At first glance, I thought this little car was a Daihatsu. LOL

13

This is a pretty sweet-looking runabout. Perfect city car.

14

So what is it comarable to in size? A Peugeot 106 or a Fiat Panda? Honda S660?

15

looks like it is just begging to have a raspy 13b swap. I am in love and i want one so bad now, damn you DIno lol

16

After every sentence whilst I was reading this article was like, please say it has the rotary engine, please say it has the rotary engine. Until you wrote that it had the rotary engine and then I smiled. Awesome!

17

If a mini cooper and a Kp61 Starlet had a child this would be the result. Looks like a fun car to whip around on a back road.

18

The Amemiya Chantez was running at Tsukuba. I was surprised to see that the Chantez had lost its kei yellow plates, while the equally crazy wankel-swapped RS Wonderland AZ-1 somehow managed to keep them.

https://puu.sh/wK8b4/4bd5f509ec.JPG
https://puu.sh/wK8aj/89b0bb9b78.JPG

19

I doubt either car still has a valid shaken... They are mostly only used for show and track purposes...

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