In the late 1960’s, Honda wanted desperately to change the attitude that American and European drivers had toward Japanese cars. They were seen as poor quality knock-offs or as odd little novelties with no real substance. In spite of earning great respect as a motorcycle manufacturer, they saw the importance of the automobile market and needed a suitable image-enhancer. Honda decided a sports car would do the trick – one designed to compete with the likes of the Fiat 850 Spyder and Austin Healey Sprite. The S600 coupe and roadster debuted in 1964, aimed at the European and British markets. The S600 enjoyed reasonable success at home and abroad, and for 1966 it was refined and updated with a larger engine becoming the S800. Honda borrowed heavily from its motorcycle engineering experience, and the tiny engine was incredibly advanced. Contrary to popular belief, it was not simply plucked from a motorcycle and fitted to a car. It was designed from the ground up for the S800 and featured dual overhead cams, hemispherical combustion chambers, four carburetors and even a roller bearing crankshaft. The result is a 791 cc engine capable of 70 horsepower that can spin to 10,000 RPM. The engine is mated to a precise 4-speed, all-synchro gearbox and a conventional driveshaft and live axle, unlike the early cars which were fitted with a chain drive rear axle.
This 1967 S800 Coupe is a very nice original example of Honda’s first road car. This is a late example of the S800, and as such benefited from some significant upgrades over the early cars, including front disc brakes and a conventional rear axle. An original left hand drive export market car, none were officially imported to the USA when new; this one originated in France before coming to our shores in 2013. It presents very well in correct, largely original condition with good red paintwork, a solid body and good chrome and bright alloy trim. The original black upholstery presents well in very nice driver condition. The engine bay is tidy, original and well-kept. Exquisite, jewel-like machine work and beautifully engineered components make the engine a joy to simply look at. A copy of the original sales brochure and the French title are included in the sale. This Honda S800 is a finely maintained driver that is ready to be enjoyed by anyone looking for a fun and slightly offbeat sports car.
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