Specifications and Performance of Vintage Japanese Cars
HONDA S500, S600, S800
Author Koichi Inouye
Supervisor Bob Sliwa
Translator Steven P. Venti
Automobiles largely serve two purposes. The first, of course, is as a means of transportation. The second is as an expression of the owner's personal interests. The automobile as a means of transportation is no longer just a fast and convenient way to travel. Influenced by environmental and other concerns, the criteria by which automobiles are judged has changed considerably over the past quarter-century.
Given this background—and in fact, perhaps even precisely because of this background—automobiles that capture not just their owners’ imaginations but those of car enthusiasts everywhere are even more valuable than ever. No matter how strong the need for practical convenience, I certainly hope that the automobile will never come to be seen as a mere appliance.
Over the years, the name Honda has perhaps been even better known internationally than in Japan. Looking at today’s lineup of well-built Honda sedans, you might find it hard to believe that there are more than a few car enthusiasts who remember with great nostalgia a time 50 years ago when Honda first made a name for itself worldwide as a maker of motorcycles and small sports cars. Although these sports cars had engines smaller than 1000 cc, the impression they made on the Japanese auto industry was inversely proportional to their physical size, and because of this they are now considered by many fans to be classic cars.
In fact, the ‘60s and ‘70s were heady times for the Japanese automotive industry, and competition flourished as auto makers vied to outdo one another in terms of styling and performance. Not surprisingly, there are a number of memorable cars from this era that not only captured the imaginations of car enthusiasts of their day but continue to attract new fans even now, making this era stand out as “the good old days” of the Japanese sports car.
It was just 25 years ago that I wrote the Sekai no Meisha (World’s Classic Cars) series of 30 books about cars that had captured my imagination. I wrote that series out of my love for these cars and because I wanted to share how I felt with other car enthusiasts. This new edition of selected volumes from that series has been specially prepared for publication in ebook format.
Once a car captures an enthusiast’s imagination, it forever remains a part of his memories. In this edition, I have left the original text as it is and added only what was necessary to ensure that the information is up to date. Sections where I discuss my impression of actually driving the cars and interviews with other people are unchanged from the original. Having owned one or two myself, these Honda sports cars are to me something quite unforgettable. My love for these cars is something that will never change.
It is my sincerest hope that these books will bring an appreciation of these historic Japanese cars to a new generation of readers, both in Japan and around the world.
(from the introduction)
Preface by the supervisor
A car from the golden age of sports cars
Honda S-Series Honda S800
Honda S800 Coupe
Driving Impressions (S800M)
The Desire to Create
The Honda S-series in full bloom
A practical sports car: the Honda S600 coupe
Honda S-series forever