The Honda Z, aka the Z360 (a kei car) and Z600 (a microcar), is a 2-door hatchback manufactured by Honda for four years from 1970 to 1974. Exports ended in 1974. From 1998 to 2003, Honda marketed a Kei-class SUV that bore the 'Z' nameplate but not related to the original Honda Z.
Original Honda Z (1970-1974)
In 1970, the front-engine, front-wheel-drive Honda Z debuted in October 1970 and sold for only three years in most countries, but Australian sales lasted the full four years. By 1974, Honda had already begun production of the Civic, which eventually succeeded the Z. In some markets, like the United States and Australia, the car name indicated the engine capacity. In Australia, for instance, Honda Z360 refers to the engine capacity of 354cc. In the United States, Z600 refers to the engine capacity of 598cc.
In Australia, the Honda Z360 came with an air-cooled 354cc 2-cylinder SOHC petrol engine mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox, generating 27 kW max power and 31 Nm peak torque. The Z360 models later received a facelift in 1971, which then packed a water-cooled engine that reached a peak power of 26 kW at 9,000rpm.
The mechanics of the Z included an independent coil-sprung front suspension, with the rear suspension employing leaf springs on a beam axle. The cargo area was accessible through a rear glass hatch.
With the oil crisis happening in 1973, the demand for fuel-efficient cars tipped the scale against "fun" cars. With this diminishing demand, Honda ended production in 1974 and introduced the new Civic.
The “Evil Tweety” Z600 Broke the Land Speed Record
In 1971, a Z600 coupe (with the moniker of Evil Tweety) broke the speed record for stock body production cars and altered gas cars with 750cc engines. Eric Burns took the Evil Tweety to set a 167.336 km/h record for stock body production cars with 750cc engine. Chris Clay would set another record the following day, driving Evil Tweety to set a 171.445 km/h record for altered gas cars with a 750cc powerplant.
Honda Today succeeded Z360 in the kei class, while Honda Civic replaced Z600 in the subcompact segment.
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