Honda has revived two historic nameplates this week, fully restoring the “Serial One” N600 along with celebrating the tiny N360’s 50th anniversary.
Honda N600 ‘Serial One’ restored
First up is the 1967 N600, which was Honda’s first venture into selling cars in America.
Measuring 3099mm long and weighing just 595kg, the Honda N600 was small enough to fit within the wheelbase of some full size vehicles on sale in America at the time.
Above: The ‘Serial One’ Honda N600 before restoration
Under the bonnet was an all-alloy two-cylinder petrol engine that could rev all the way to 9000rpm, helping the N600 to reach speeds of up to 130km/h.
It was also hugely economical, with the potential to achieve 40mpg (5.8L/100km), a revelation at the time.
This particular Honda N600 was the subject of the Finding ‘Serial One’ documentary, which follows the restoration journey of the very first Honda automobile imported to the US – an N600 with the VIN 1000001.
For nearly 50 years the ‘Serial One’ N600 was in a junk pile collecting dust, before falling into the hands of Honda and restoration expert Tim Mings.
Above: The fully-restored ‘Serial One’ Honda N360
Check out the above video for a brief overview of the restoration process and the final reveal of ‘Serial One’, narrated by Tim Mings.
Honda N360 ‘Scamp’ celebrates 50 years
Meanwhile, the company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the tiny Honda N360 Kei car, which was sold here as the ‘Scamp’.
The N360 Scamp was part of the first wave of Honda vehicles to arrive in Australia, just after the S600 and just before the Z360 and the Life.
Like the introduction of the N600 in the US, these models were made to demonstrate the company’s expertise in producing vehicles beyond motorcycles.
Powering the little front-wheel-drive Scamp was an air-cooled, four-stroke 354cc two-cylinder petrol engine – borrowed from the Honda CB350 motorcycle.
Producing just 23kW, the N360 was still capable of reaching a top speed of 115km/h.
Some features of the N360 include rack-and-pinion steering, an optional three-speed ‘Hondamatic’ automatic transmission – which also offered manual shift operation – along with a spare tyre mounted in the engine bay for maximum interior and luggage space.
Helping the Scamp to keep customers cool in the Australian heat were flow-through ventilation and rear air vents.
A panel-van version was also sold here, known as the LN360.
Melbourne-based car enthusiast, David Prince (pictured above), owns a near-original Honda N360, which, he says, still drives like a dream.
“I first fell in love with them as a youngster, peering into the showroom not far from my home,” he said.
“I’ve always loved small cars and they don’t come much better than the Scamp.”
When it went on sale the N360 was also the cheapest car on sale – at $1397 back on 1968.