Honda fans, rejoice: the Japanese car manufacturer has a special new online documentary series in order to celebrate its automotive heritage and history in the United States.
The company has been Stateside for the better part of the last 50 years (47 actually), introducing the “kei car” concept with the launch of the N600 model. This was the first Honda automobile to be officially imported to North America.
In 1969, after a decade of growth that led to Honda becoming the top-selling motorcycle manufacturer both in America and globally, the company decided it was time to embark in a new mission and start selling cars in the U.S. When the N600 hit the market it could actually fit between the wheels of some full-size American vehicles, considering it measured just 122 inches in length (3 meters).
It was powered by an all-alloy 600cc engine (hence the N600 moniker)that developed 35 – 45 Hp, but it revved up to 9,000 rpm - its motorcycle-building roots were obvious. Puny, yes, but the car weighed only 550 Kg (1100 pounds), which translated into a 130 km/h (81 mph) top speed and a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration of 19 seconds.
The N600 Serial One – the very first N600 test vehicle in America – is the star of the first episode in the documentary series, featuring an in-depth look at its step-by-step restoration by Los-Angeles-based mechanic Tim Mings. The man in charge of the project has a lot of experience with N600s, having restored more than 1000 such vehicles throughout his career, but none as special as a Serial One.