Honda S800, Japanese engineering overtaking Occident
Honda is not that well known for classic cars. Honda developments and work has been massively used in motorcycle racing. Even these days if you think of Honda motorsports you might think mainly of bikes not cars (even though they are in Formula 1). Honda has always used the Japanese technology and has created amazing bike and engines. One of the fastest road cars for them is the Honda NSX or the S2000, but where does everything start?? Honda, in the 60’s created a machine to dream of.
Honda decided to get a car with a bike engine so it could rev up up to 10k rpm easily, fitting a 4 speed gearbox (5 as an option) and able to reach 100 mph in 1967 (first street car breaching the record). They installed a cute 741cc engine inside the beast. Bear in mind this piece of art contains all the Japanese handcraft ship you could find in the 60s and also the quality of the materials used not only in the body but also in any other part of the car. That makes the car comparable to the German ones or better. It is not only a strong aluminium body, the engine is very reliable and with great durability. The only issue is the interior trim. If you find an example with not enough patina, avoid buying it as it is going to be very difficult to find original parts for this model.
The Honda S600 was the predecessor of this beast. It was not as enjoyable and fast as the S800 but in terms of reliability and quality of the materials they remain very similar. The Honda S800 is a lot of fun to drive and the look of her shape is just sublime. It was introduced in the 1965 Tokyo Motor show in order to compete with the MGs, Triumphs, Fiats, …. The engine was tested once in order to see how far could it go from 10k rpm. The engine reached 12000 rpm, broke the machine doing the test and the engine kept running afterwards !! As you can see Honda decided to use all their expertise in motorbike racing engines into a regular car.
It’s very well collected specially in Japan and there weren’t many examples sold in Europe or US, but you can still find some of them online. Our friends from Le Riche in Jersey are restoring a roadster example for Honda UK and I’m sure they’ll be happy to assist you if you are looking for this model. What a corker !
Classic Honda S800 for sale
Even though it is not a car with a lot of models for sale, the price has gone up steadily for the last year following the anniversary. If before you could get one for just $15.000, nowadays you have to pay on top of $20.000.