Not surprisingly, considering that it was – and still is – the world’s largest producer of motorcycles, Honda’s first sports cars featured technology borrowed from its Grand Prix-winning two-wheelers. Engines were all-aluminium, twin-overhead-camshaft, four-cylinder units with roller bearings used throughout, and the early 531cc S500 and 606cc S600 models employed a part-chain transmission. Introduced in 1965 at the Tokyo Motor Show, the last-of-the-line 791cc S800 retained the separate ladder-frame chassis and chain drive of its predecessors. After approximately 1,000 cars had been produced, the S800 adopted a more conventional final drive consisting of a prop shaft and coil-sprung live rear axle located by radius arms and a Panhard rod. front disc brakes, replacing the original drums, were standardised soon after.
Revving to 8,000rpm and with 70bhp on tap, the S800 was good for almost 100mph (161km/h) and more than capable of giving the larger ‘Spridgets’ and Spitfires a run for their money. Coupé and roadster versions of the S800 were offered, a total of approximately 11,500 being manufactured between 1965 and 1970. Today these Japanese ‘miniature E-Types’ enjoy a cult following and are catered for by a most enthusiastic owners’ club.
With such a relatively large production run, incredibly only 96 right hand drive were made, and of these a mere 15 were destined for UK buyers. This particular example was registered new in November 1967, and remains in fine condition having spent the majority of its life on display in an office in a Honda dealership in Norway. The S800 is completely original with the exception of a repaint in the past, however pleasingly there are no signs of any corrosion repairs to the bodywork.
A genuine alternative to the more commonplace Spridgets, Spitfires and MGBs, we just love this Bonsai Supercar, and we are sure the next owner will too!