Фирма Hitachi, производитель военных самолетов, после Второй мировой войны повторила судьбу Messerschmitt — ей запретили строить самолеты, и пришлось ей, объединившись с Fuji, делать мотоциклы. Fuji Cabin — мотороллер с кузовом из полиэстера, который спроектировал Рюичи Томия — крупнейший из первых японских кузовных дизайнеров, работавший с 1930-х годов на Nissan. Машина не была популярна и производилась небольшими сериями три года, в 1955 — 1958 годах. Максимальная скорость — 45 км/ч.
Fuji Motors Co., Nissan's affiliate engine maker, produced a cabin-style three-wheeler that utilized the epoch-making FRP for full monocoque construction designed by Tomiya, who also designed the Flying Feather. It was equipped with an aircooled, two-stroke, one-cylinder engine. The body weighed only 130kg and it could attain the high speed of 60km/h. Its aerodynamic body design and other features were revolutionary, but the FRP technology could not keep pace and only 85 cars were produced.
With Japan in devastated turmoil, many companies scrambled for survival. In March of 1946, the automobile division of the Diesel Automobile Manufacturing Company was divided into the Hino truck and Isuzu automobile manufacturing companies. The aviation division became Hitachi Aviation. Developing new aviation technology was strictly forbidden by the Allies, as it was considered a war industry. So Hitachi Aviation, as well as other aircraft companies, tried to survive in non-war-related industries.
Hitachi subsequently changed their name to the Tokyo Gas and Electric Manufacturing Company, which, in 1952, began producing 60-cubic centimeter engines for motorcycles and had established itself as an engine producer of mainly small two-cycle engines. It merged with Fuji Automobile, and together, they built their own motorcycles under the names of Fuji Motor and Gasuden FMC. They also supplied engines to other motorcycle makers, such as Miyata, Zebra, Yamaguchi, Hikari, and Lucky. A decision was soon made to produce a scooter with full weather protection.
Ryuichi Tomiya was commissioned to design the car. He had been in charge of body design at Nissan Motors Ltd. before the war, and afterwards, he was responsible for the design of the Suminoe Flying Feather for Suminoe Manufacturing, of which 150 examples were built between 1954 and 1955. His work was highly respected, and he was known as “the Leonardo da Vinci of Japan.”
The Fuji Cabin made its appearance at the 1955 Tokyo Motor Show. It was a beautifully streamlined two-seater coupe on three wheels, and it was powered by a Gasuden scooter motor with kick start. It was a monocoque design, strengthened by a full-length tunnel bringing cooling air to the motor. There were two rounded beetle-wing lids providing access to the motor and allowing warm air to exit. At first there was a single door on the left, but the car in the Tokyo museum has two. It appears to have been designed to be driven only by the tiny models seen in the publicity pictures, as the interior is somewhat cramped, and some effort is required to climb over the central tunnel and attain the staggered driver’s seat. The steering is by a closely-placed set of handlebars. The small but well-engineered motor incorporates a reverse gear, unusual for the typical Western scooter-powered microcar. There is a feeling of solidity to the entire structure, which is helped by the coat of dense insulation material sprayed inside the cabin roof, dashboard, and sides. The front wheels are independently sprung on rubber, and the rear is on a swing arm with a coil strut, providing a comfortable ride. A single Cyclops headlamp graces the shapely nose.
Competition in the marketplace took the form of the 22-cubic centimeter Rabbit S-61 scooter from Fuji Heavy Industries, at $450, and the 250-cubic centimeter Honda Dream motorcycle for $490. At $650, the Fuji Cabin offered full weather protection and high style for relatively little more money. It was planned to manufacture 400 to 500 units per month, but only 85 were built. Unfamiliarity with the handling of the fiberglass material and a limited marketing strategy were blamed.