1964 Honda S600
- Rebuilt body and ladder frame
- Highly original condition
- Radial tyres from the period
This is an S600 that has been rebuilt, both body and ladder frame, to bring it back to the condition it was in its early days. It is in excellent condition, although the top does show some of its age. The pleasant sound of the DOHC 4-cylinder engine at high revs is a reminder that Honda was and still is a world-class engine manufacturer. The interior has been reupholstered in red, which contrasts beautifully with the dark blue exterior. The steering wheel and gear stick are original, and the radial tyres of the period also add to the uniqueness of this car.
The S500 was Honda's memorable first production car, and took the world by storm with its performance. In 1964, a year after its launch, the company immediately set about updating it and the result was the S600. Their new car took the predecessor’s high performance and helped Honda’s name become more well known in the 4-wheeled world. The biggest change was to the engine, engine displacement was increased to 606cc to overcome the previous generation's lack of torque at low revs. The result was 57hp at an astonishing 94hp per litre. It reached a top speed of 145kph, a number comparable to that of a sports car with twice the displacement.
It’s beautifully styled body is of course one of the factors that make it a classic. The long bonnet gave it a typical sports car look and it only weighed 695 kg which meant that it was both attractive to look at and fun to drive.
Honda was already known for their success in motorcycle racing and they entered the world of car racing with the S600. In May of 1964, at the second Japanese Grand Prix, held at the Suzuka circuit, it suddenly became a force to be reckoned with. The top positions in the 1,300cc class were completely dominated by the S600s. All 11 cars that competed finished the race and took the circuit by storm. The success was not just domestic. That same year, the team took part in the Nürburgring 500km race and won its class. This was the first time a Japanese sports car had won a race in Europe, the home of motorsport.
The S600 had all the elements to win the hearts of young car lovers: design, driving enjoyment and performance. It may feel a little underpowered by today’s standards, but for the enthusiast who really wants to enjoy the car, it will not matter.