Early Honda S-Series

Honda S600 at speedA few weeks ago Bring A Trailer featured a beautiful little Honda S800 racer. Today, the mighty Jalopnik pitted the very same Honda S800 against the the Lotus Europa in their regular “Project Car Hell” feature.

When I first saw the S800 a few weeks back, I dove a bit headfirst into researching the early S-series Hondas. I’d never really given early Japanese sportscars much thought, but reading about the high-revving chain-drive engine had me very curious. The first place I went was to check out a video the restoration of of Jay Leno’s SM600.

I also tracked down a youtube post that someone made of their engine being fired up for the first time in a long time as part of their restoration process. These engines are good for revs in excess of 11,000RPM. An astounding number! Seems more like a test-bed for their future motorcycle development than a standard road car engine. More than likely it was derived from their F1 engine of the time, as they’re the only automotive engines that I can think of that could maintain those kinds of revs at the time.

The engine sounds a bit cleaner on Jay’s – but then, what do you expect?

These are lovely little cars, with absolutely fascinating engines. And this Motor Trend article (from which I lifted the above photo) shows that they did indeed make a left-hand drive version..

Lovely.

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