English ska band Madness plus a folding motorcycle in the trunk! The 1981 Honda City

Madness with Honda City and Motocompo

Honda Honda Honda Honda!

Of all the 1980s Japanese cars that we couldn’t get here in the United States, the first-generation Honda City is one of the coolest. Not because it was a super-efficient little hatchback that made the diminutive first-generation Civic look big, but because it could be purchased with a fitted folding motorcycle called the Motocompo in the cargo area. To introduce the City and Motocompo to the Japanese home market, Honda hired English ska band Madness to appear in their TV commercials.

Madness didn’t attract a lot of attention in the United States until their 1983 hit Our House, but they’d been big stars in the UK for a couple of years prior to 1981.

A series of the Madness ads came out in Japan.

In 1982, the berserk “big-block” City Turbo hit the streets (OK, so it had 99 horsepower, which was still pretty crazy for such a tiny car). Sadly, it did not come with a Motocompo Turbo.

Meanwhile, the City was sold in Europe as the Honda Jazz. Without Madness to help out, Honda’s German-market admen opted for a heavier dose of 80s-ness here. Ein hit von Honda!

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