Be-1 General Information

Mechanical Be-1 and Pao are based on the Japanese market Nissan March, also known in the rest of the world as the Nissan Micra... model KE10.

Engine, gearbox, brakes and suspension are all from this model.

The engine is a 987cc 55hp OHC four cylinder, with lightweight aluminium block,10/1 compression. It is of a modern 3 piece design with crankshaft and bearings supported in cage structure. Ignition is by points and coil.  Carburetor is variable, controlled by CPU unit under the passenger seat with inputs from an O2 sensor and exhaust and water temp  All cars appear to be air conditioned.

Performance is reasonably lively when all is in good tune.. the engine only really gets out of bed at 4,000rpm where it really starts to sing and develops good power right up to about 6,250rpm

The rag top roof is electric and was an option - Only about 30% cars had it, but it makes the car. It was made by WEBASTO Japan. The Nissan March/Micra KE10 was sold in the UK and Europe. Engine and mechanical parts are readily available, and not hard to find on line The BE-1 looks small but don't be fooled, it is MUCH bigger than you would think. The 850 Mini looks are very deceptive - it is in fact quite roomy with comfortable seating for a tall person

The Japanese enthusiast would just turf the mechanicals out and replace them with the compound supercharged/ turbocharged Nissan SUPER March GT engine  - which is by and large, a bolt in job, with some intercooler mounting mods required.

 These cars require a little more consideration in ownership than a normal mass produced model although they are built with typical Japanese attention to detail, they don't stand neglect well. They are particularly prone to corrosion - ( not as bad as Pao)   Other problems are wheel bearing failures and steering rack wear - ....  Third gear slippage in the automatics can be encountered at around 100,000kms probably as the transmission oil may not get changed often enough.

The CANVAS roofed Be-1s are delightful, but the roof has a limited life.  In Japan they refer to these Be-1s as "CAMPUS ROOF" when I first heard this expression I really wasn't sure what to expect... a small car with a university on its roof ???  or something in the style of car roofs, as favoured by university students ?

The roof material can shrink with age and strong sun, and eventually fail to keep the weather out. Second hand replacements are almost non existant in Japan and expensive. Crappy lightweight replacements are available but are truly crap.I would advise that a replacement roof would have to be made by local firms that specialise in this work or take a look at the AMAYAMA on line catalogue.... recently had them listed at $300.. a good price

.Driveability of a standard Be-1 is grossly affected for the worse be a plethora of "controls".  An example is a servo that holds the throttle open for a while after your foot is removed from the accelerator...this makes gear changes on the manual difficult unless a great deal of time is taken in the process... like driving a 1920's truck. Nissan foxily included the idling control in the same if it is adjusted to reduce the unwanted engine revving during gear changes...the car will no longer idle.

Wheel is 100 pitch circle diameter, 4 stud .... The hub centre is very small...approx 56mm and I think that new BMW mini wheels may be a perfect fit yet to be confirmed. I have a set of sparko racing 14"rims, and a set off a late model HONDA that I have had machined to fit the Be-1 Hub. If your after a set of rims, and located on this side of the world let me know..

5 Speed GearboxThe rare manual Be-1 takes the car from being a novelty city vehicle into something approaching drivers car. The gearing on the 5speed cars is quite tall (this is an understatement).  Round town you'll hardly get out of 3rd.  3rd gear on the auto equates to the same engine revs as 3rd in the manual, so the 5speed gives the car much, much longer legs than the auto. On the open road 110Kph is under 3,000 rpm and sitting on 140 Kph is no problem at all, but not advised unless you want to confuse other drivers...what the #@!&^% was that ? The manual box has a very slick action, can't think of a car that I have driven that has been as good. The autos are a lot revier but they are pretty zippy still.   The auto gear ratios are well matched to the engine and you can keep up or beat modern traffic OK.  You need to have 4 Grand on the tacho before you attempt steep hills !  

Spares I hold a spare bonnet, a spare auto box, a steering rack, instruments and some accessories here, but can get anything except glass new. I have purchased many items from my source in Japan ( AMAYAMA TRADING CO.) include engine rings, gaskets, bolts, studs, door rubbers, thermostat, ignition points, water pump, cam belt and rear brake cylinders, a clutch assembly, driveshaft bits, radio antenna (expensive) and other parts.  These were all genuine Nissan parts in Nissan packaging.   Nissan in Australia will supply parts but they charge about 4 times more per item than my supplier. You will always find parts for sale on EBAY..   Mechanically the Be1 is the same as the Nissan MICRA K10.   You will find heaps of Micra  K10  new and 2nd hand parts advertised Usually about 50 pages of bits on YAHOO Japan online auctions               

  SPARE PARTS...       Link to Amayama Trading Co here                                                                                                                                 To HOME  ........                       





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