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The History of the First Honda Car Models Ever Made

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Everyone knows Hondas are the most reliable cars in the world. Any Honda enthusiast will tell everyone that listens about the 350,000 miles they put on their last car.

What most people don’t know about is Honda’s humble beginnings. After beginning as a Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, they have turned into a giant in the automobile industry.

How did Honda become ingrained in car culture? Read on to learn about the company’s early history, including the first Honda car ever made and how that history is being brought back to life today.

Honda S500

The S500 was the first car produced by Honda. This vehicle, introduced in 1964, was sold only in Japan. It had a peak RPM of 9500 and topped out at 80 miles per hour.

Unlike other Japanese and European models, the S500 relied on a four-cylinder engine. The model featured one carburetor per cylinder, dual overhead camshafts, and needle-roller bearings.

Honda’s take on the rear suspension was a revolution in the car industry. They connected a straight axle via roller chains to sprung wheels in the rear. This design allowed each wheel to have independent movement and did away with camber changes.

First Honda Car to Hit Mass Market: The S600

If you were searching for new cars in Springfield Missouri in 1964, you wouldn’t have been able to buy this beautiful classic. Due to high hydrocarbon emissions, Honda wasn’t able to sell the S series in the United States.

Buyers could get them in Canada, however, and military personnel would bring them back from Japan. The S600 was the first model that Honda mass marketed and was a success.

The engine was an upgrade from the S500. It produced 57 hp at 8500 RPM, with speeds topping out at 90 MPH. The car also came in right- and left-hand drive, making them more appealing to the export market.

Restoring History

In 1969, Honda decided to test the American market. They brought a handful of revamped S600s, named N600s, to the United States. These cars had 0.6L two-cylinder engines and were meant to show Americans that smaller, more efficient cars were the future.

In 2016, Tim Mings, a car restoration expert, found an N600 in terrible condition. It wasn’t until years laters, after cleaning up the serial number, he discovered it was the first ever N600 and the first Honda car exported to the U.S.

Honda got wind of the find and documented Mings’s revival of the vehicle in a project dubbed Serial One. One of the most important automobiles in history had been restored to its former glory.

We Make Car Restoration Easier

Car restoration is hard work, especially when dealing with a classic. It takes patience, passion, and information to do the job right.

Certified Master Tech can’t help with the passion and patience, but we have all of the information you’ll need. On our website, you’ll find blogs filled with advice and information, and almost every service manual you can imagine.

If you still need help, go to our about page where you’ll find information on auto repair help.

What are you waiting for? Dive right in and start rebuilding your piece of history!


Can't fix your car problem on your own? Ask a live mechanic!