“The Honda Beat is like driving a go-cart & every time I drive it it’s like I’m playing Mario Kart.”  -Brian Robles

red convertible

Ever since childhood, I’ve been drawn to cars that fall on the un-compromised, outer ends of the spectrum. Cars that wake you up! Vehicles that cause your spirit to get excited & bounce around in your body. There’s a lot of nice cars out there, but nice isn’t a real emotion. I’m drawn to cars with energy.

So is Brian Robles, owner of this modified 1991 Honda Beat. And so is anyone else that’s drawn to these golden-era (rad-era) cars. There’s just something magical & sensory-driven about the sports cars that came out of this time period. They had exhilaration & escapism & freedom poured into their DNA. In this era, car designers understood cars in a much more spirited sense. The designs followed motorsports. And the technology was at a natural sweet spot, where it enhanced the driving experience, rather than detached you from it. Even in this smallest fun-size packaging, the Honda Beat has big-time energy. Take the concept of a jet ski, and drive it to work. It’s almost fantasy that something like this even exists. The city becomes your own personal racetrack. But you’re slow enough to where… no one really minds lol. 

Honda Beat

Honestly, I’m about to go off-script here.

But THIS CONCEPT is more what the modern EV transition could/should look like… if we were being smart & fun & cool about it. A lot more like this, and a lot less like driving an iPhone box. Make ‘em small, make ‘em light, make ‘em interesting… and make ‘em make sense. But that’s not the way they’re packaging & selling this stuff to us, is it? Rolling sanitized peace-pods is all these auto manufacturers can envision. Look at how they market these things: 1) screen size, 2) range, 3) connectivity, and 4) safety features. That’s all they talk about… because it’s all they understand anymore. 

small sports car

If you sliced-up the battery pack of just one Hummer EV…

You’d probably have enough juice to power 5 little blast-to-drive commuter EVs… similar in concept to this Honda Beat. That would be a lot less strain on the earth… and isn’t that what this is all about? The answer is no. See if the EV movement was still really about being green, we’d be approaching it a lot differently. A lot less materialistically. Green has become a status symbol – point blank. 

1991 Honda Beat

Drivers wouldn’t care so much about screen size, automatic hi-beams, adaptive cruise control, & autonomy…

If they actually LOOKED FORWARD to driving the cars they owned. And maybe then – we wouldn’t need 2,000 chips for every EV. Maybe then – we could get these new vehicles priced less than a mortgage. And then EVs might start to become a justifiable, affordable solution. But c’mon – what kind of place would America be if we weren’t flexing 6+ year auto loans at $750+ per month to drive a pansy-ass forgettable SUV that will become obsolete as soon as its tech does?

This is all a mess of our own creation… because we consume more & more & more. And then, we look for technology to be the savior of our overconsumption. We let politicians build their campaigns on it, and pander to the bleeding-heart hypocrites. Maybe it’s common sense & personal responsibility that we really need. 

Mugen hardtop

“But small cars like this Honda Beat are not safe.” 

You’re damn right they’re not safe… not in today’s environment. A mouse is safe in a grassy field amongst other mice. But it’s no longer safe in that same field when there’s a stampede of elephants. Today’s vehicles have gotten obese, heavy, and disengaging. Drivers use the roadways as their own personal mobile office. We’re being forced to share lanes with Tesla drivers in full self-drive. Look around at any red-light & see how many drivers are completely inthralled in their own bluetooth conversations, virtually unaware of their surroundings. And to top it off – knowing that a stop sign means stop is about all you need to get your driver’s license in America & drive a 5,000+lb vehicle. So where do we draw the line on safety? How do we define it? 

Honda beat coilovers

Because you know what’s REALLY not safe?

Replacing competency with technology… like we’re doing. Requiring less of people, and requiring more from sensors… like we’re doing. Catering to the lowest common denominator… like we’re doing. Castrating our freedoms in the name of safety over & over again… like we’re doing. Keep people safe by keeping them uninformed, incapable & technology dependent – that’s the plan. And that mindset is now infiltrating the automotive industry at a wildfire pace. No driver left behind. And it all leads to more tech, more sensors, more regulations, more government control, more problems, higher prices, more delays, dumber people, and lower skills/abilities. 

You wanna keep people safe? Teach these idiots how to drive, or don’t issue them a license. If you want cars that drive themselves, it already exists. It’s called a bus, a taxi, or Uber… use it.

This Honda Beat is not a safety capsule. It requires its pilot to have some level of intelligence, ability, & good judgement. But what it gives in return… is freedom. It’s completely disconnected from nonsense, it’s refreshing, and it’s as ready to go as you are. When you & I see a car like this, we understand it. But we also have to understand, that the younger generations are so far removed from this concept… that they might never know what a true sense of driver freedom feels like. Unless we expose them. 

Text by Wooley     Photos by Brian Robles

Honda Beat hardtop



1991 Honda beat

65k miles

3-cylinder 656cc mid engine RWD


OEM silver –> red metallic

BC coilovers

Mugen hardtop

S2000 seats (reupholstered)

Volk Te37s 14×6.5 +22 

Skirt/lip kit

Front VW Scirocco disc brakes

EG Civic rear brake setup

momo steering wheel