The Honda N600 was developed in parallel with the N360, which was a “kei” car and fitted into the home market tax legislation, limiting displacement to 360 cubic centimeters and the length to 10 feet. The 360 was a Honda CB450 motorcycle engine with reduced displacement. The 600 was built for export markets that demanded higher top speeds. The “N” prefix stands for norimono, or vehicle.
The technological development of the 600 engine was influenced by Honda’s air-cooled, full-size sedan, the 1300. Soichiro Honda believed that “since water-cooled engines eventually use air to cool the water, we can implement air cooling from the very beginning.”
The N600 was introduced in 1969. It was technologically advanced for its time, with an all-alloy engine that could spin to 9,000 rpm, making the little sedan capable of 80 mph. It delivered very peppy performance because of its light weight (1,350 pounds), due to compact dimensions and some plastic parts, like the tailgate. A four speed manual was standard, while a Hondamatic was optional.
This particular N600 was formerly owned by Honda, as we understand it remained on display at the company’s distribution center in the United States, where its condition was preserved, and it continues to present to factory specifications.
Part of the RM Auctions event for Bruce Weiner in February, 2013.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Darin Schnabel