By on March 16, 2016

As a relative newcomer to the car-building scene, Honda doesn’t quite have the heritage of classics piling up in a dusty warehouse like most other automakers. They do have a legion of rabid fans, however, including one restorer who specializes in very early Honda cars — and found the very first N600 built for the U.S. market.

Honda partnered with that restorer, Tim Mings, and today released the first of a series of videos and features on the restoration of this very special classic on the website Serial One.

The video hints that the completed N600 will be displayed at a Honda museum.

[Images: Honda]

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28 Comments on “First-Ever Honda N600 Gets Restored in New Video Series...”

  • avatar

    It’s amazing to see how absolutely tiny these cars used to be. There is (or was) one at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.

  • avatar

    I like the 600. It’s very charming to me, and I like how the spare was at the back. First time I ever saw one was at a concours show here in 2014.

    Love how the tire is at the back in a little compartment.

  • avatar

    Bet ya money they get this thing fully restored and displayed before Volkswagen can fix the TDI diesels.

  • avatar

    Always thought these were cool, if for nothing more that they represent the time when you could still bring truly nutty and different cars to market.

    One of these with the engine and sequential gearbox from a modern literbike would be an awesome weekend toy. Isn’t the final drive on these already chain driven anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      I recall the rear wheels using independent chain drives in an oil bath housing which doubled as the suspension arm and brake mount; an ingenious way for one component to serve multiple functions.

      • 0 avatar

        Felis Concolor,
        You’re thinking of the 1960s S600 and S800 roadsters and coupes, that VN vets sometimes brought back to the US after their tours of duty. Mr.Mings is famous for restoring those, as well.

    • 0 avatar

      No they are not chain drive, they use CV shafts and a true MacPherson strut suspension up front. Out back they had a beam axle and leafs.

  • avatar

    Where would you find parts for something like this? I don’t mean the kinds of things you could get off parts cars, but things like valve springs and piston rings that you have to have new parts.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      Unless you’re specifically using new old stock (NOS) parts, replacement piston rings and valve springs are a simple matter of specifying diameter, spring rate and installed height, to mention a few parameters which any speed shop will gladly special order for you.

  • avatar

    When I was in high school, one of our physics teachers had one (there was a Honda dealer down the street). One time we students got together, picked it up, and deposited it in an outdoor handball court.

    • 0 avatar

      Hah. One of the navy corpsmen on my base had a ’68 in ’71, and four guys from Operations and Maintenance (welders, pipe fitters, metal fabricators) put it on the second floor landing of the Enlisted Mens’ Quarters.

      They had to bring it back down, or some kind of a** to grass conversion would be made. They almost did something bad to a shipmate’s Cortina, but I pointed out to two of them it was a Ford, not a “foreign” car.

      I remember 3,000 N600s delivered to Seattle with defective heaters back in the early ’70s. It was cheaper for Honda to crush them and write it off than fix the heaters.

  • avatar

    Had the Z600 variant, it was surprisingly roomy up front and devoid of the usual Honda rust (despite being a Colorado car).

    One nice feature was its timing chain due to using a motorcycle engine, meant you didnt have to take the entire front end apart every 70k miles to change a belt.

    Not entirely sure if I understand the rabid fanbase, it was a neat car but nothing amazing, and parts were a pita to source at that time (roughly 2006 or earlier), you cant DC5 Integra whip these things either.

  • avatar

    There is a great highly-modified N600 running around on Youtube with an 800cc V4 from a Honda Interceptor driving the rear wheels. If you haven’t heard one of these bikes running, it sounds a lot like a smallblock Chevy, and for the weight it has plenty of power. Outrageous little car.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Fantastic. I’ve only seen a couple of these ever – very cool.

  • avatar

    Interesting to see ‘ emperor mings ‘ is still out there and playing with old Honda Cars .

    In 1974-ish , a buddy’s girlfriend bought a blue 600 Coupe off a used car lot , it was uber cute and *very* sturdy ~ by buddy was well known for destroying anything with wheels at the time .

    It was dead easy to fix , I did a clutch job on a Saturday one time , parts were very expen$ive but the local Honda Dealer had everything on the shelf .

    One time the plastic surround holding the rear window in simply disintegrated as the car was driving and the glass fell out and shattered .

    Another time Mike managed to break off all but one wheel stud and the poor little thing made it back to Los Angeles fully loaded on _one_ wheel lug….

    Noisy and tinny yes but very reliable and super gas mileage .

    The roller cranks die on these more than anything else due to Americans loving to lug engines and never change the oil .


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