Owner Stories

 

From Alan....

In 1970 Honda offered white, yellow, black and red 600 sedans and I fell for a white one. I was 19 years old.

I bought and owned the 3rd 600 sedan that was imported by Honda into the continental US in 1970. I drove the car for 10 years and put over 100,000 miles on it during my college years. I bought the car new for $1300 in 1970 and sold it for $450 in 1980. A year or so after I bought the car, Honda sent me a certificate along with a rechargeable butane cigarette lighter acknowledging that my car was the 3rd 600 sedan legally imported and sold in the continental United States.

 
 
  Hi!
I really loved your website! I bought a 1971 coupe when they came out. I think that your list of acceleration times is correct. I was about 21, and I learned to really jam those gears!
Your restored coupe is Superb!
I was involved in a head-on crash, or glance-off crash on a curve at about 30 mph. The front left was caved in, but nothing was harmed except the body, which I got repaired with no incident.
The horn failed, and I bought a VW bug horn at a junkyard. I found out the VW horn would not fit where the Honda horn was mounted...no room! I wound up mounting it on a strut somewhere.
The heater motor failed, but I did nothing, because the manifold heater was so powerful, I found the fan was not needed.
When the muffler failed, (the dealer had already failed) a mechanic modified a motorcycle muffler, and with lots of welding, it was installed.
Same with a failed clutch plate. I was amazed when I ordered a new distributor cap, that it came with plug wires permanently attached. I had never seen such a thing.
Funniest of all (I live in snowy illinois) The first winter I had it, I accidentally approached a high snowdrift at high speed, at least 50 MPH. Anticipating a crash, I braced myself. But, what happened was the 600 literally climbed the drift and drove over it!! My heart was in my throat. I found out that if you approached a country snowdrift at a reasonable speed, the 600 literally would drive up and over it like a hill....I was used to heavy American rear-drive cars smashing through them.
The front wheel drive probably impressed you, too, as I don't think almost any other car on the road at the time had that.
The worst part of owning the car, was people at work who would go out in the parking lot (4 people) and turn my car around in the parking space to see if I noticed. Also, the people who would shout rude comments about Japanese at you (Japanese cars were not "cool" then).
Unfortunately, my 600 coupe was not a very good starter in cold weather (below zero), but by running it every 4 hours or so, I somehow managed.
About 1977, it started running roughly. Two mechanics told me to get rid of it, because one of the 2 cylinders had metal shavings in it, they thought the engine was chewing itself up. I feel now that they were prejudiced against the aluminum engine (all American cars were still iron), and they possibly could have fixed it with more effort. I needed transportation badly, and placed an ad to sell it.
To my amazement, two people showed up, and started a bidding war, driving up the price. What amazed me further, is the buyer had brought a pickup truck and ramp, and literally drove the 600 into the back of his pickup. He even could close the back gate!
I thought you would like to hear the experiences of a fellow early owner of the Honda 600! If they made them again, I'd buy one in a heartbeat! I got about 60 miles per gallon in the country, and about 40 MPG in the city. I thought it had a 5 gallon gas tank, but your site says 6.9.. I learned something. I remember filling up the tank for about $2!!!
-All the best,
Bob K
     
  The subject came up tonight with an old friend over a few beers about my '72 Z600 coupe.

I bought it new off the showroom floor... Pretty amazing for a working class 21 year old in '72. I'd always loved the Mini and this looked like the closest thing to one I'd be able to get brand new. I was also a former Honda Motorcycle owner (the similarities in motor construction helped me later on). I also really liked the marque.

Being a young man with that attitude of being bulletproof, I drove this car very hard. 'Went through a lot of tires.

I drove it from Pennsylvania to Florida and back. The following summer I drove it to California and back. The latter trip toasted the rod bearings. It was no wonder, the entire trip was spent with the tach at redline.

I bought a new crank, dropped the motor, took it apart and put it together again and got another 20,000 miles out of it. I replaced the motor one more time and got another 20k out it. Rust was taking the car so I put it up on blocks in anticipation of reparing it.

My sister got hold of one cheap thinking it was a dependable car since I'd had it for years (little did she know that I worked on it every weekend). Needless to say I inherited it within months. It needed a new motor. I did the exchange in her yard under a tree using a come-along to hoist the car from a stout branch.

I got another 20k out of that car. The rod bearings went in that one too. Seems like the weakest parts of the cars were the rod bearings and the wheel bearings. The wheel bearings were a yearly adventure to change out.

Oh yeah, timing chains were fun too. It got to the point where I could change one without removing the head. The rear windows would get loose too and I'd epoxy them back in place.

I do believe that the motors just ran too hot. On my trip to Florida I cooked a dinner on the head of the cooling down motor. That's how hot it ran.

In the latter days of ownership I had ordered a large oil cooler from J.C. Whitney just as they were going through a chapter 11 reorganization. I never did get the cooler but I had plans to modify the oil filter cover and bolt to access the oil flow.

I had a one-car garage with both Z's in it. I needed space and sold both to a guy from Philadelphia named "Fisher" who carted away everything I had with glee. He had hands that looked as if he worked on cars all the time.

They certainly were fun to drive. Being only 4'-3" wide I could slip through rush hour traffic almost like a motorcycle. As much of a pain in the ass as these cars were, I'd still love to have one again.

Best,

Tom

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Chris sent an email with a link to his facebook account. I have copied several of those pictures here. His facebook account (with his permission) is http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=680078993#/album.php?aid=66915&id=680078993

My name is Chris Smith and I live in Indiana. I stumbled on your site and wanted to thank you for all your efforts in getting the word out about these little Honda’s.

Very few people ever believe me when I would say I’d put my old car in my dad’s truck to bring it home after it broke down.

I had over seven of these (both Sedans and Coupes) while in high school (I became the Honda Parts king by default) as no one seemed to know much about them.

I sure have a lot of stories to add…..(I got one 600 Sedan free on a mechanic’s lien and it fired right up after sitting for years.)

+ many other great stories that until now I didn’t think anyone would ever care about.

The girl in the side by side picture ended up being my wife.

Can you believe she actually married me after having that car?


After I told my Dad I'd found another 600 Coupe, we picked it up and put it in the back of the 68 Chevy Pickup. Glad I took the picture or no one would believe me..


Connie and I at Yellowood state park in Indiana. OK maybe brown county, I don't remember.
Man I loved that car.


Another break down in my 600 Sedan. I had this both years at Warren Central.

     
  I bought a new yellow ’72 coupe just like yours in ’72 with bonus money when my wife at the time wouldn’t let me buy a bike. It was a 3rd car to complement my company Pontiac and our ’70 Duster 340. After a divorce a few years later I quit my job and only had the Honda. It moved me from Mississippi to California and back in ’75. A few notes about the car:

There were hills on the interstate that I could maintain 80 mph (indicated) going up. After the 55 mph national speed limit came on, I could only go about 45 mph because there was not enough power at 60 mph in 4th gear to maintain speed on these hills and I didn’t feel comfortable doing more than about 45 mph in 3rd. Quite a drop from 80 to 45 on the same hills.

The car was basically very reliable for the 60,000 or so miles that I owned it except for problems related to a front end wreck my ex-wife had and the back window coming loose. Also the body colored exterior mirror became discolored in only a few years.

I paid something over $1900 for the car including AM/FM (mono), cigar lighter (for the Fuzzbuster), and relocating the driver’s seat mountings 1” to the rear (I’m 6’1”).

After a couple of years I took the rear seat back out to make it a 2 seater with hatchback room for all my music gear. (I have been playing music for a living since ’75).

In spite of my proclivity towards performance cars, I found, and would still find, the car great fun to drive. I would race all the time and no one else knew I was racing; on quiet roads I would mentally divide my lane into 2 parts, driving on the right for a while, then on the left.

I could lift a back wheel off the ground with little trouble.

In rural Arkansas during an ice storm in ’76, the challenge was only being able to put one wheel on clear pavement. Traffic kept 2 ruts ice free in each lane, but the track of the Honda was too narrow to get both wheels into an ice free zone.

I traded the car to a younger ex-roommate sometime in the late 70’s for a Honda bike and some cash. To my horror he trashed the car by doing such stupid stuff as dumping the car into reverse at speed, dropping the clutch to make the back wheels come off the ground. I basically lost touch with him, and when I have seen him I’m just too upset about his destroying that car to ever ask what happened to it.

Congratulations on a beautiful restoration. This is still one of my favorites.

Jimmy Jarratt

 
     

 

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