I’ve got no childhood stories to relate to this one, but I’ve had a fascination for these tiny Hondas for the last 15 years or so. Price-wise, they used to be the poor man’s Mini, but it seems that solid examples are going up in price, especially coupes in the style of this one featured today. Even the later first-generation Civics seem to run about $4000 – $5000 for a nice example, which I’m guessing is thanks to the recent interest in 1960s and 1970s Japanese cars, as well as our recent $4/gallon fuel “crisis”. It would be amusing if these were displacing the big American boats in people’s classic car parking spot!
Anyway, enough rambling and back to the subject of today’s post, which is on eBay with a reputable seller. The car looks reasonably complete, missing its camshaft and cover in the pictures. There is a box of engine parts included, but the contents are not listed. From what is visible, it has a recent Washington plate on the back, so has hopefully not been off the road for too long. Seller states that brakes work, car rolls, there are new tires, and it shifts properly. Problems include surface rust and some penetrating rust, but nothing that couldn’t be temporarily stopped with your favorite anti-rust paint, while the floors look solid. The upholstery also has splits, but is serviceable. A simple online search yields what appear to be many useful resources.
From my past readings of the market for these cars, it seems the AZ 600 is more desirable, and with its funky black-framed window hatch, smaller rear windows, and strangely sportier look I can see why. From the rear pic, it looks as if there’s a trunk below the hatch that resides behind the license plate and goes down below the bumper. Can anybody comment on what this space is meant for? Seems too big for just a spare tire.
For what was essentially an econobox, the interior actually looks pretty sporty, much like many early Hondas. Notice the 3-spoke wheel, multiple gauges including a tach, and that almost French-style shifter sprouting from the dash. If you know the dash layout of the British-built Civic Si that was imported here earlier this decade, you’ll see this car’s shifter location kind of foreshadows its descendant’s.
Lastly, the engine. I’ve always hoped that these, like the engines in the Honda 600 and 800 sports cars, would be some free-revving motorcycle-derived wonder, and while they’re air-cooled parallel 2-cylinders with a roller-bearing crank, I’ve read they aren’t – correct me if I’m wrong! However, being small-displacement Honda engines they’re probably still pretty fun to flog around town in any case. 36hp probably means they need flogging, but they have a 4-speed and front discs, so at least doing it and stopping should be easy.
I’ve liked these for a while. Let me know what it’s like if you’ve driven/owned one.