1965 Honda S600 Coupe

With only three coupes believed to be left on British roads out of only 140 who's whereabouts are recorded worldwide, the Honda S600 represents not only a rare car but also a fanatic piece of Japanese automotive History as Honda's first ever production sports car.

Year:

1965

Manufacturer:

Honda

Model:

S600

Variant:

Chain Driven Coupe

Asking Price:

£28,000

Gearbox:

Manual

Mileage:

437

Number of owners:

TBC

More About This Vehicle

This example is a rare and sought after ‘Chain Driven’ example of the high revving Japanese sports car. Originally sold through a New South Wales dealer in Australia in 1965, it has since been subjected to a high-quality ground-up restoration. Imported into the UK by its current owner just 4 years ago to join the owner’s vast collection of rare sports cars.


The current owner had been looking for an S600 for a number of years and spotted this example on eBay Australia; which fortunately didn’t faze him as he has a deep connection with the country and could rely on resources to check the car over. This particular example had already undergone a major restoration in Australia so the current owner had the peace of mind to go ahead and purchase this car.


Also, knowing that Australians generally tend to keep mileages low on their cars and their damp-free climate, he was sold and agreed to purchase the car, having it shipped to the UK in 2017. With Australia’s relatively close proximity to Japan, this facilitated a relatively fluid passage to obtain genuine OEM parts for the car’s restoration; he felt that this was the best opportunity to obtain a special example of Honda’s earliest sports car.


As a favorite of the owner’s collection it was only used on high days and holidays when the weather was right and no salt on the roads. Now with an ever expanding private collection forcing a lack of indoor storage space means that the current owner had to make a difficult decision to offer this wonderful up for sale ready for its next custodian.


There is unfortunately not a huge amount of documentation to accompany the car but it come with its original dealer folder with its handbook, a hard to find factory workshop manual and the current V5 document.


As far as the current condition of this special car goes, we ask you to find better in the UK that hasn’t just rolled fresh out of the restoration shop. The red paintwork shines beautifully and the snug cabin has a lovely sense of 1960’s sports car whilst looking like new. It is like a tiny time machine that takes you screaming back to the mid 60’s all the way up at 9,500 rpm.

The back of the driver's seat could do with some attention as the stitching has come apart slightly but is not at risk of completely falling apart with the use of staples to hold it together.


All elements of the interior appear to work as intended and all present in wonderful condition.


The dashboard is solid with what appears to be a repair by the base of the binnacle on the top of the facia, but it is otherwise crack-free and shows minor suggestions of age.


The elegantly designed dials are in good condition, with no significant wear noted on the switches and dials. All are said to function. The steering wheel and gearstick are in good condition. The car has also been fitted with a set of updated seat belts, proudly displaying a padded Honda logo on the harness which is a nice touch.


The boot is well carpeted and features the original tool kit and tools. As a standard spec model and not the ‘M’ spec, the car is not fitted with a radio, but with an engine like this who cares!

The cars exposure to 50-odd years of a sub-tropical climate has meant that the car's body is unlikely to have been affected by serious corrosion. It would require a very detailed inspection to verify the actual finishing of the restoration, but our initial impressions are very positive.


The engine bay is very clean and exceptionally well kept, with inners wings, suspension turrets and mounts, boot well and floor pan all confirming a high level of restoration.


The doors, boot and bonnet are in excellent condition, with no issues with their operation. The boot and bonnet stay functions work, although the driver's door struggles to remain open if the car is on a slight incline. The panel fit is very good, with equal panel gaps and no signs of any damage.


The paint has a good lustre, and has been well applied with a deep shine but there are minor imperfections noted under the paint, the seller has pointed out that it might be down to a primer reaction but the top coat paint is smooth to touch. It doesn’t affect the whole car and is most noticeable when you inspect the tops of the front wings closely.


Otherwise, the deep red paint finish is even and show no evidence of overspray, matting or runs. The car is free from any significant paint chips at eye level. The chrome trim, grill and finishers are in excellent condition, with no notable damage, pitting or dents.


The glass is good, with just a small crack observed on the left side of the windscreen. The owner has said it has not become worse over the years but would be worth keeping an eye on. The owner has given us information as to a manufacturer who can manufacture a new one for a few hundred pounds, so not impossible to replace if needed. The glass rubber and door seals are all good, with no evidence of water ingress.


The headlamps and rear lenses are all good. The car comes with a driver's side door mirror, which will need to be reattached. The original 5 spoke steel rims are in excellent condition, with a set of near-perfect hubcaps. The tyres all date from 2015 and have plenty of tread on them.


Mechanically the car supports the evidence that the oily aspects of the Honda have been subject to a major overhaul, with the entire drive train in good condition. Honda's motorcycle racing background has influenced the S600's technology, offering an all-alloy four-cylinder engine with twin overhead camshafts and four carburettors and a roller-bearing crankshaft to boot.


The car starts up instantly, with the DOHC 606cc engine running well with no hesitancy on tick-over and reaching temperature without problems. The car has a fascinating set-up, with chain drive that doubles as the trailing arm suspension, again a legacy of its motorcycle roots.


The car has not covered much more than 70 miles since it was imported into the UK and therefore has not needed much in terms of attention, although the owner has fitted a far superior electric fuel pump to bypasses the original which is still in place and works perfectly adding yet further reliability to this little Japanese sports car.


Koni shock absorbers are all like new, with the rear items being modestly softened to help the ride and they're said to perform well with no knocking coming from the suspension.

The finned aluminium drum brakes work as well as one would expect for such a light car with no drama while in use. The exhaust physical and performing conditions are positive. The ‘switch-like' gearbox is said to be a delight to use and operates well, with no reported issues with the clutch.

Originally weighing in at 715kg as convertible, the coupe only added an additional 15kg (total 730kg), even still, this makes the S600 50kg lighter than a current F1 car! Styled in classic early 1960s sport car look styling with a long(ish) bonnet and sloping rear coupe style it is truly unique pocket size classic sports car at a compact size of 3.3m long and 1.43m wide.

The car uses the same derived chain driven DOHC (Double Over Head Cam), water cooled, inline 4 as the similar S360/500 and later S800 variants. The engined was developed from knowledge from Honda’s Grand Prix motorcycle program producing an engined that using roller bearing crankshaft and a redline of 8,500 rpm one of the highest raving road engines of its day and still above most modern sports cars. Porsche at the time were so amazed by the engined what ordered their own S600 to study the engine. They rev’ed the engine up to 12,000 before it broke their test bed, the engine without damage. Roller bearing crank.

With its 0.606 litre engine (where its name is derived S600) the car produced a quite modest 57 bhp, however considering the car’s weight this makes for a power to weight of 70 bhp / ton comparable to an standard MGB GT. However the car’s power to cc of 0.94 which was comparable to most F1 engines of the day. The engine also uses a Hemispherical (‘Hemi’) combustion head, which allows for larger cams allowing for more fuel and air mixture to the combustion chamber, giving the engined a higher thermal efficiency and more power. The engineers also fitted the 4 Carburettors with rubber dampers to stop vibrations from the engine effecting the intake of the carburettor and allowing them to function more effectively.

More about this vehicle

Recent Works

This example is a rare and sought after ‘Chain Driven’ example of the high revving Japanese sports car. Originally sold through a New South Wales dealer in Australia in 1965, it has since been subjected to a high-quality ground-up restoration. Imported into the UK by its current owner just 4 years ago to join the owner’s vast collection of rare sports cars.

Video Walkaround