Fri., April 6, 2007 – On a sidetrack that eventually led me to own my own Mini – some 25 years later – was a Honda N600 sedan, just like the ones pictured here. Actually, I had two or three of them. Two of my sisters bought theirs new, and one of my brothers and I picked up some pre-owned ones. One big, happy Honda household. But that’s another story…
Take a close look. Hmm… See any similarities to a car we all know and love – and sometimes want to leave on the side of the road?
Let’s factor in the general shape, the length, width and height, the 10″ wheels, and the capability to carry four full-size passengers. Then add in the “corner bars and overriders.” (ala deluxe Mini models and Mini Coopers). Then add that the little cars were built in both right-hand-drive (RHD) and LHD configurations. Most fitted with four-speed transmissions that originally had non-synchro first gears; some came with (likewise crappy, unreliable) automatic transmissions. Will cruise at freeway speeds without really breathing hard. Launched with under-1,000cc engines. Okay, the N600 has a 600cc engine, but you get the idea.
The rumor I heard was that Mr. Honda’s son took a drive in – or owned – a Mini Cooper – and was so excited about it that he talked his father into building one.
I don’t know if that’s true – but it makes a good story and I’m sticking with it!
p.s. – Following the cessation of U.S. sales of the Honda 600 and the Morris/Austin Mini, Austin launched its “Austin America,” and Honda countered with its Honda “Civic.” Enough said?