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A small piece of Japan – Tom’s Mira Gino

We never received the Mira Gino in Australia, the closest we got was the Cuore, and that’s exactly how Tom’s unique looking Mira Gino started. The chassis is shared between the two cars but the Gino fits into Japan’s retro designed series of the early 2000s, consisting mainly of Kei cars like the Mira. The Mira Gino sports chrome exterior trim and a more luxurious interior consisting of leather details and wood inserts.

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Having previously custom built a Cuore, Tom purchased a new one with the intention of importing the necessary conversion parts from Japan to create his Gino. Tom’s is one of about 8 known in Australia and is the only one in SA. The matte metallic silver wrap was completed by Tom himself and the chrome accents make a great contrast to it without being eyesores.

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There are many quirky features on the Gino, from it’s one washer jet (due to the car’s tiny size), to the Daihatsu dash cluster that Tom had to import from Germany. One of the more recent additions to the car is the little F1 style rear fog light. It just protrudes from below the rear chrome bumper and completes the rear of the car.

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The Gino’s tiny size becomes really noticeable when you’re driving through the city. Pulled up at traffic lights, your head sits at the height of door handles on cars that are usually considered small. It’s also where all 989cc of the 3-cylinder EJ-DE comes alive, the car is happy to buzz up to 50 and dart through gaps that would make any normal driver cringe. In Tom’s words, “You really have to remind yourself that it’s only a 1 litre.”. All the while, using the smallest amount of fuel.

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Tom has invested a considerable amount of time optimising the Gino’s handling. Along with BC BR coilovers with D-sport camber tops, he installed a Super-Duck adjustable drop camber rear axle. The ride in Mira Gino was surprisingly comfortable. Whilst the body was stiff and any steering input was immediate and sharp, driveways and bumps in the road caused no issues. The wheels are rare 4×100 Advan ARA rally wheels imported from Japan and Tom has restored the once-red wheels to bronze in order to accentuate the wrap. The wheels completely finish the look of the Gino and sizing is perfect aesthetically and functionally.

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Despite being so versatile and nippy, the biggest feature of this car is it’s ability to get people talking. Throughout the shoot people would make comments or ask questions about the car. These weren’t car people either. People just want to know more about it, “What is it?”, “It’s so small!” and the most popular according to Tom, “It looks like a Mini”. The Gino’s charm and unique features are what draw people to the car and what gives it it’s great personality. For such a small car, the Mira Gino has a large impact on the world around it.

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Specs:

2001 Daihatsu Mira Gino l700

EJ-DE 989cc Twin Cam 12v 3-cylinder 42kw/88nm (Aus Spec)

720kg kerb weight

4.3l/100km fuel economy

Mods:

BC BR Coilovers front and rear

D-Sport Japan Camber tops

Super Duck (スーパーダック) adjustable drop camber rear axle

Advan ARA Rally wheels 13×5.5j +20 (Rare 4×100) freshly restored in bronze

165/55R13 Nankang road tyres

Daihatsu Sirion brakes with Winmax racing pads

Modified l500 factory strut brace

Wrapped in matte metallic silver

Aluminium front subframe stiffening rings

Various factory chrome interior trims

Daihatsu factory dash cluster with Tachometer

Custom blacked out front indicators

Sony component 6.5″ stereo system

F1 Style rear fog lamp

BONUS IMAGES:

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Media Manager - Slow Life Australia

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