N600 now a se­ri­ous clas­sic... as long as you’re not tall

Classic Cars (UK) - - Chasing Cars -

Don’t laugh. The tiny Honda N600 of 1969 is a land­mark car. The first four-wheeled Honda to be of­fi­cially ex­ported to North Amer­ica and sold from mo­tor­bike deal­er­ships, it’s said that the air-cooled 43bhp, 600cc al­loy twin in­spired the en­gine in the CB750 that dec­i­mated the British mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­try in the Sev­en­ties.

Revving to a fran­tic 9000rpm with front-wheel drive, front servo discs and a plas­tic tail­gate and dash­board to save weight, it was hailed by pe­riod ads as a ‘Frisky com­pan­ion for the busy man’. Some 35,000 were sold in the US be­tween ’69 and ’73 but the N600 couldn’t match the elfin charm or lower price of the Mini in Bri­tain, which is why a mere 10 sur­vivors are cur­rently listed on the DVLA data­base. But like all mi­cro­cars, good N600s now fetch big money. Mo­tor­cy­cles Un­lim­ited in Mid­dle­sex has a beau­ti­fully orig­i­nal rhd ’73 in white with one lady owner, 14,000 miles, his­tory and all books and man­u­als for £16,000. Hof­man Clas­sics in Leek, Hol­land has a nicely re­stored ’71 in green, fresh from 30-year own­er­ship, for €7900 (£7070) – which doesn’t sound dear. Es­pe­cially given that in July Brightwells sold an un­re­stored ‘63 Peel P50 mi­cro­car for £49,000. The N600 was also the first US car to at­tract a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar law­suit. In 1982 a Florida court or­dered Honda to pay $6m – then the big­gest dam­ages ever paid to a sin­gle plain­tiff – for in­juries sus­tained in an N600 crash by a badly de­signed wind­screen sup­port. Taller in­vestors might want to look at some­thing more com­modi­ous.

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