Daihatsu Copen & Honda S660 Club Sri Lanka Drive

These open-topped two-seat Kei cars enjoy an ardent following in Sri Lanka

Published on 03 Aug 2023

The rain was pouring with verve on the morning of Sunday of 11th June, but that didn’t stop 13 dedicated aficionados of the Daihatsu Copen & Honda S660 Club Sri Lanka from gathering at Galle Face for a drive to the Beach Park at Port City. One by one, these pint-sized two-seaters showed up, their bright colours creating a lovely contrast against the grey backdrop of sea and sky.

Built to comply with Japan’s strict Kei regulations that dictate several factors, the Daihatsu Copen and the Honda S660 are two-seat convertibles. However, just like they are similar, they are also dissimilar. For example, the Copen has its engine mounted up front and driving the front wheels, while the S660 employs a mid-engined configuration and drives the rear wheels. Both cars are available with manual or automatic transmissions, the latter being a CVT box.

I’ve been lucky to drive auto and manual variants of both cars for Motor tests and they are quite fun, even in stock form. Kei regulations dictate that a car must be no more than 3.4m long, 1.5m wide, and the engine capacity may not exceed 660cc. Power output is capped at 64hp, although, as we’ve seen with the Copen of Dr. Tharinda Dalpethado, you can push more than 100hp with requisite modifications.

The appeal of the Copen and S660 is what motivated many owners, such as Nalaka Singhepura to purchase one or the other. Nalaka saw a Copen at the agent’s workshop around 2015, and was captivated by this two-seat sports car with folding metal roof. However, the price of the Copen as well as the Honda S660 remained unrealistic. The S660 was popularized by its use by popular actress Yureni Noshika, and both cars started to gain interest.

When Covid rolled around and car prices dropped, the Copen and S660 became more realistically priced, and many of the members of the club were able to finally scratch their itch and get one for themselves. Nalaka founded the club with a few like-minded individuals, and the first gathering was held at the Blue Waters Hotel in Wadduwa, around late 2021.

The drive to Port City was an interesting one, as 13 cars turned up, with their enthusiastic drivers, families and friends. A fellowship was held, as well as a brief technical Q&A session on maintenance and addressing of common issues.

The Organising Committee of the club consists of Nalaka Singhepura, Sharjoon Ahamed, Positha Lokugamaga, Angelo Peiris and Tharinda Dalpethado. They’ve got comprehensive future plans for the club. As these two models continue to enjoy a strong following in Japan as well as increasing demand from enthusiasts in the United Kingdom and Australia, they are continuing to fetch competitive prices at auctions. Manufacturer support remains for both models as well, and the club aims to assist members with sourcing spare parts for their cars to facilitate ownership, as well as provide the relevant expert advice and support. We at Motor wish them all the very best for the future.

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