Japanese Classics – 1970 Honda N600

Having just covered Honda’s mainstream breakthrough (to borrow a term from the music industry), let’s look back at when they were that cool little indie band only your cool friends had heard of. Honda’s first release in the North American market, starting in Hawaii, was the N600, really more of a single than an LP. Running an air-cooled twin that could rev up to 9000rpm, its performance was unheard-of in a car, particularly one of its class. You can find this 1970 Honda N600 for sale for $2950 in La Mesa, CA.

1970 Honda N600 left side

When this was new, who knew Honda would be selling the overweight truck in the background, 40 years on? The car is said to have a rust-free body, and to start and run, if poorly. The seller says it’s close to being a driver, although the bias-ply-looking tire in the front says it’s been a while. The paint color looks like something from the mid-1990s, when forest/mint green metallics were last popular, and underhood and inside, the car retains its original white. Little bits and pieces of trim appear to be missing – are they included, or will you have to scavenge? Even though Honda 600 prices have risen quite sharply in the last few years, it’s still a relatively inexpensive alternative to a Mini. And what would happen if you revved an A-series engine up to 9000rpm?

1970 Honda N600 engine

Speaking of engines, here it is. It’s encouraging that it’s fairly clean, but it also suggests the seller worked on it, so you’ll want to ask for more details on the condition of the engine and what the symptoms are. Bring a compression gauge if you check it out. The battery cables and battery appear to be new, so you’ll want to find out what else has been done. A negotiating point is that the heater box, normally found on the driver’s side of the engine, appears to be missing.

1970 Honda N600 interior

What is visible of the interior is actually pretty decent, unlike many a project 600, most of which are found with sun-baked interiors. With only 36hp, you’ll top out at 75mph, but the sound is no doubt glorious. Parts are readily available from at least one supplier in southern California. You can be a hit at the next JCCS meet, and cause consternation at the next Mini rendezvous – what could be better?


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