The S600 was the third automobile produced by Honda, premiering in 1964 as a roadster and a fastback coupe. It followed the footsteps of the S360 and the S500 roadsters. The S600 roadster resembled its predecessor, the Honda S500, which was never available in Australia.
Under the S500’s hood was a 492cc engine (rounded as 500), which lent the sports car its name. With the increase in the engine’s displacement to 606cc (rounded as 600) also came the change to the name, giving birth to its successor, the S600.
This front-engined, rear-wheel-drive, 2-door sports car has a sleek, elegant look, an extended bonnet, large round headlights and a distinctive front grille. Its production lasted until 1966.
Understanding the S600
First, you have to realize that the S600 was way ahead of its time. It was Honda's first mass-produced car marketed and exported to other countries. The Honda S600 and the N360 were the first Honda models that reached the Australian marketplace.
Honda initially produced motorcycles. They used their expertise and technology in manufacturing fast bikes to come up with a sports car. They accomplished this goal with the S600.
Since Honda marketed the S600 in only a few countries and built only 11,284 convertibles and 1,800 coupes, they are rare and prized collections in many parts of the world today.
In the markets where Honda exported them, the S600 was available in standard trim and the SM600. The SM600 was an upgraded package that included unique paint colors, a special antenna in the passenger side sun visor and a detachable seat track among others.
Throughout its production, the S600 received no significant styling changes. There were only some tweaks made to the front grille, headlights and bumper.
Power & Handling
Under its hood is a 606cc DOHC inline-four water-cooled engine with four Keihin carburetors. The engine produced a peak power output of 43 kW at 8,500 rpm and attained a top speed of 140 km/h. The powertrain transmitted this power through a 4-speed manual gearbox.
It comes with a steel unibody chassis and features rack-and-pinion steering. The suspension system features MacPherson struts with coil springs and lower wishbones for the front and semi-elliptic leaf springs for the rear.
Succeeding the S600 as Honda’s image icon was the S800, which would later compete with the likes of Austin-Healey Sprite, Triumph Spitfire, and MG Midget, all highly-successful sports cars from the UK.
To look for used original car parts for this classic and several other models, visit us at carpart.com.au. We are the go-to website for all your vintage Honda S600 car parts in Australia.
- Eric Anyega