1972 Honda 600: Wow, It’s Tiny!

600

I actually thought all of these came in that peculiar shade of orange! This tiny yellow Honda is located in Wilmington, North Carolina and is up for sale here on eBay with an opening bid of $2,200 and a buy-it-now of $3,500. Said to run and drive but with some niggling issues, this relatively solid car represents Honda’s first mainstream attempt at selling an automobile in the US. Ok, maybe mainstream is a bit strong, but their previous high-revving sports cars were never officially sold here, and the 600 arrived only a little before the oil crisis, when sales should have taken off.

Honda Ad

Despite advertisements like the above (which would never run today), with only 598cc in US market form the little Honda’s never really sold well in the USA, with less than 16,000 being sold from 1970 to 1972.  Like the Mini, some were used as the basis for custom advertising vehicles; one boot-mobile sticks out in my mind. This car comes with some spares, but will need a new rear window unless you are fine with the current plexiglass version. A little searching found an original glass rear window on eBay for less than $50, so I’d certainly replace it.

I found a lot of information on the Z600 on this site; one of the more obscure facts is that Z600’s sold in Hawaii have 20% more horsepower than those sold on the mainland due to a different camshaft and carburetor combination. 10” tires, up to 40 mpg and not a whole lot of room; everything about this car was diminutive. But at only 122” long, it only takes up a little more space than your lawn mower! I wouldn’t mind having one in my garage; how about you?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Leon

    Every time I saw one I always thought they should have chrome rings around headlights. Always looked as if they were missing

  2. MH

    Would be a fun little car to have. Could fit a few in my garage.

  3. krash

    Fond memories of seeing these being towed behind RV’s during the 70’s…

    Collect 8 and make a nice merry-go-round…

    Like 1
  4. francisco

    Love that ad. I can’t decide between the ski babe or the cowgirl. Maybe the one in the teddy. No, wait…… Mmmmm.

  5. PaulG

    Had a friend that drove one of these; 6’2″, 240 lb. He looked like magilla gorilla coming down the road!

  6. artinoz

    These were sold in Australia as a Honda Z and became known as the Honda Zot. (true story) The cars sold here were powered with the 360cc engine so Honda marketed them as the Honda Z360.
    There is a lot of info on the net if you search Honda Z. Honda Zot, or Honda Z600. They have been heavily modified over the years and one won a speed record at Bonneville in 2008 clocking 103.978 mph with a stock body and a bored 800cc engine.
    I think? that the rear window was plexiglass when new.

    • Ratman

      Yes the aussie market called them the Zot. There was even a movie made in the 80s ‘starring’ a yellow Z – if you want a laugh, look for MALCOLM starring Colin freils. The salt flat racer you note was known as evil tweety, it had the distinction of becoming the ‘worlds fastest slow car’ for a few years, I believe it was around the 700cc bored version as the class was 750 and under. I have 2 N600s and a Z360 and many years ago met an old guy in my search got parts that was an original Honda dealer principal in the late 60s early 70s based in canberra. Told me they were a great car to sell back in the day but didn’t sell as many as they could have for various reason. He also said the only source of warranty claims he could recall was the rear plexi window falling out when people drove at speed with both died windows down lol.

  7. JW454

    When it comes to that retro Ad… Buying that car would pretty much negate any of those “Babes” being a part of it. Because, if you bought that car, you would have had “NERD” written all over you. LOL
    Anyone know what top speed this thing can do? (in normal trim)

  8. redwagon

    rode in one of these home from little league practice once. i was in the backseat sitting sideways because even at 11 years old i did not fit in the backseat. i felt like i was riding in a go-cart. the coach and driver was very cognizant of being seen and not getting lost in a blind spot. good guy.

    regarding the advertisement. so typical of the early 70s car magazine ads! o and by the way you are not likely to have michelle, tammy and allison interested if you are driving a 1972 honda coupe.

    and for those who think the past was better i now drive a car that gets over 40mpg at 75mph!

  9. e55

    Only in hindsight do we know that this car appeared right before the oil crisis of the 1970’s. Because we didn’t know it then, we weren’t willing to preemptively buy little fuel efficient cars. It was Honda’s next car, the Civic with the CVCC engine that appeared DURING the crisis that established Honda as a mainstream manufacturer. Of course, the fact that the car was larger and better designed (aesthetically and from an engineering perspective) also helped…

  10. artinoz

    I read that the Honda Scamp had a top speed of 70mph and did the 1/4 in 22seconds so I presume the Z360 would be about the same.
    Not only was this car before the oil crisis it was before crash testing and the 5mph bumpers.
    This makes the Smart car look like a retro Honda.

  11. RayT Member

    I bought one of these in ’72. Traded in a 600 “sedan.” Wish I still had it, even though I opted for the “green” (really gloss OD) rather than orange or yellow.

    Zippy little piece, economical and totally reliable (not many parts to break). And I loved being able to Mario Andretti it around town with no one noticing.

    Fuel economy was never an issue for me. It had character, we had owned a couple of Honda motorcycles (also ridiculously reliable) and the price — a new car for around $1400! — made it irresistible. I shoulda just stashed it away in a shoebox somewhere and kept it.

    If the parts situation was better, I’d be tempted to take on another one.

    JW 454 asks “how fast.” Not really sure, but I recall slipstreaming 18-wheelers on Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco and seeing well over 70. It was a screamer at that speed!

    And I should add that I was — and am — 6’2″ and was not a featherweight. Plenty of room for me and girlfriends (one at a time)….

  12. e55

    I would further suggest that the 600 was not designed for the American market, while its successor, the Civic was…

  13. Brian J

    I have a totally restored 72 in pop orange color

  14. Paul B

    I had a ’71 N600 sedan. Same mechanicals. Great little car. I loved the two-cylinder engine and dashboard gearshift. Handling was OK, though not as good as I’d anticipated in a front-drive car. Ride was understandably harsh with that short wheelbase and beam axle out back. These were Honda’s U.S. entry, to get a dealer network going (a lot of them at GM dealers I noticed) and bring in a little operating cash for the U.S. operation as the Civic was prepared for launch. It all worked out very nicely, as we now know. A 600 today? Good around-town car and conversation piece, but really, parts are not easy to come by anymore and few people know how to work on these. Still adorable though for the right person. Good luck!

  15. dordud

    Saw Tom Selleck driving a yellow one on the show Magnum P.I.!

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.