Hot Rodding A Classic Kei Car

Mooneyes’ Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show is the place where bike and car builders attempt to impress.

Year in and year out, you can see how the envelope is pushed, and how this scene in Japan continues to evolve, mature and branch out on quirky tangents. Before I share my general coverage from the event, I just have to show you what this Mazda Carol is all about.


Visually, you are looking at a little kei car from the 1960s, Mazda’s first four-door to be precise, and one that was originally powered by a tiny 358cc four-cylinder OHV engine.


But a lot has changed since this car left the production line, and it’s all thanks to Praise Body Factory in Nagoya. This shop specialises in motorcycles and cars, so I guess it was inevitable that one day both would be combined in one vehicle.


That’s how this pumped-up and widened Carol came to be.


It looks fabulous in high-gloss black with chrome accents, but this creation’s ace card is what’s sitting under the custom vented engine cover. You’re looking at a Harley-Davidson V-Twin motor.

The two-cylinder obviously gives the tiny Mazda a whole new character, plus a big wallop of torque, something most kei cars lack. Every surface of the engine has been plated and polished, and it even sports billet head covers for each of the two cylinders.


Seeing as the Carol’s original engine was in the back, there are ample openings and grilles to allow the motor to shed heat efficiently.

For extra piece of mind, however, a pair of air intakes were created, straddling the imposing blistered rear fenders and directing a constant flow of air into the engine bay.


There’s more shiny metal around the grille, and billet Colorado Custom wheels give the car a totally different presence.


I was impressed to see Wilwood 4-pot calipers at each corner, hinting at the performance of this tiny car.


It’s builds like this that not only make Mooneyes events so special, but at the same time remind us that Japan has so many facets when it comes to car and even bike culture.


I think this will go down as one of the most memorable creations I’ve seen at a Mooneyes show. It’s car meets motorcycle engine and Japan meets USA, all topped off with excellent fab work and presentation. How can you possibly not love it?

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Jonathan Rebours

Hell of a (tiny) car !


oh my god I love this! Apart from the wheels (just not my taste) I love everything about this car. This post made my day lol


Not my taste in wheels either, but the details on the spokes are definitely cool.


Have to say Dino, you're really hitting out of the park as far as my love for small cars is concerned! I really love the Kei tuning scene in Japan. Makes me half-tempted to try to import one for myself to play with, but I've frankly got enough on my plate at the moment, especially after hitting a badger on the way home :(


I do love it. Damn is that cool. I think we had a month of bike-motor cars here in the past, but since we don't have themed months anymore I think it's time for more of this content. i'd love to hear it lol.


This really, REALLY needs a separate feature. Mainly because it deserves photos out in a more picturesque setting, whether that's a quiet side street or a high-tech city area at night.

The one thing I thought when I first saw it though was that it would have been even cooler if the roof had been extended into a psuedo-hatch; almost a roofline like a Citroen DS. Or chopping down the roof very slightly.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Truly a different kind of build!


I'd like to see one of these race against a Hayabusa swapped Smart Car.


did you mean a hayabusa swapped suzuki cappucino?


They've thrown everything including the kitchen sink at this, but it all works. It's bonkers, and I love it!


Take this incredible little car to the twisty mountain roads, you'll have some SERIOUS FUN. Thumbs UP!


This rocks on so many levels!


It looks like a tiny(er) Ford Anglia


I would like to see a build thread on this guy. I always want to see creative ideas for the mazda carol. It is a great way to expand creative ideas on my 68' carol!


Sorry fordboy357,
Didn't mean to hit reply to your message. Meant to create my own comment.
My fail -__-


The concept, design and fabrication of this build was all done by hand by Ken's Factory in Nagoya, Japan. Ken's Factory has been in business for 25 years building world class custom motorcycles and motorcycle parts.
With heavy influence in American muscle cars, more specifically Corvettes, Ken was challenged to build a K-car that followed along with his design style. The body work and paint were done by Praise Body Factory for this build. Visit our website for more info!


It looks like the love child of a Ford Anglia and a Hillman Imp.


Was literally at this show, pretty dope car!


Lovely build and im sure the V sounds good in there, but its a shame how unreliable and under-engineered the lump in the back is. Unfortunately youll be lucky to pass the OEM output with one a HD engine (110hp being HDs MOST POWERFUL engine, sad... i know, this one appears to be one of the 50-70crank hp engines). Regardless its unique and awesome. Wish they stuffed a sportbike engine in there, or even an old carbed CB750 engine. Would sound and drive incredibly.