Microcar Stash: 1971-72 Honda Z600s

The Honda Z, known as the Z600 in the U.S., was a 2-door hatchback Kei/city car built by the company between 1970-74. They were imported into the U.S. during the middle two years. Honda was gauging how to get into the car business here, so they would be sold at Honda motorcycle dealers at first. The cars got their name from the 598cc SOHC engines used in U.S. models and are seldom seen today. Yet, this seller has assembled as many as nine of these little cars that he would sell piecemeal or as a group. They can be found in North Versailles, Pennsylvania, and are available here on Facebook Marketplace. You’ll have to contact the seller to see what he thinks his wares are worth. Thanks, Roger, for the tip on this one!

The Z600 was the “sports coupe” version of the N600, and both saw the production of about 40,000 units combined and perhaps better than half found their way to the U.S. These cars would be the prelude to the bigger Civic that would come along in 1973. These machines were itty-bitty, especially compared to the iron that Detroit was knocking out at the time. The wheelbase was under 79 inches, the length 123 inches, and the curb weight just 1,300 or so pounds. The motor only produced 36 hp, but you didn’t need a lot to get these cars moving.

These little cars were designed to carry two adults and maybe somebody small in the back. They were great between gas station stops at 40 mpg, but it would take a full 18 seconds to get up to 60 mph. From the photos provided by the seller, this collection seems to represent several of the colors they came in. None of them are running and probably haven’t for a while. If you operate under the assumption if you take parts from the lesser cars and apply them to the better ones, perhaps you might end up with a couple of runners.

Honda N600s aren’t seen very often now, but the Z600s have developed more of a following with collectors of microcars. They’re early examples of the autos that Japanese car companies used to make inroads into the U.S. market. The Civic would be more appropriate for the American consumer, which offered extra space, creature comforts, and greater power under the hood. It might surprise you that Hagerty estimates the nicest example left on the planet might fetch $30,000.

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Comments

  1. bobk

    LOL. Not sure how this came about, but our local Ford dealer (this is in Emporia, KC) somehow ended up with 6 of these on their lot in 72? 73? All of us farm boys took a great delight in driving our muscle cars and pickups to the dealer’s lot so that we could make fun of them. The dealer eventually had to discount them heavily to move them off their lot.

    Of course, shortly after that, the Arab oil embargo happened.

    Like 9
    • bobk

      Oops. Really need to proofread before posting. Should be Emporia, KS.

      Like 3
    • Mark

      Small world. My grandma and my aunt lived in Emporia many years.

      The first of these Honda’s I saw was December 1971 in Washington DC

      Also saw a new car, the Subaru in Mississippi.

      My dad stopped for gas and a gas station had three there. They had the dealership for that area.

      Like 1
  2. Rodney - GSM

    “You Meet The Nicest People Hoarding Honda’s”

    Like 14
  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Okay, you drop the sub frames install the biggest V8 and manual transmission you can get and Ford 9” at the back cut, chop, slice the body to fit and ride around scaring old people and small children looking like the bozo you are. Lol

    Like 2
  4. Poppy

    Next door neighbor had two of the N600s. The parents bought a dark green one first then his oldest son bought a mustard yellow one (it was the ’70s after all). The cars were tiny but gave them good service. The younger sons took a lot of ribbing for their mom’s unconventional transportation.

    Like 2
  5. Poppy

    There’s at least one N600 mixed in with the Zs.

    Like 1
    • Derek

      Aye, the white one is.

  6. Cristiana

    These earliest Hondas are historically significant collectibles at this point, 50 years later. Not too many of these have survived 5 decades. I’m thinking between the whole lot of them (plus the money and motivation), there should be the makings of some complete and running restorations.

    Like 4
  7. JudoJohn

    They were cool cars, IMHO. Certainly, in today’s situation. Unfortunately, there is a LOT of rust! they all cannot be saved. I hope some people do save the ones that are salvageable.

    Like 2
  8. Doug

    I remember when these cars showed on on our shores . They didn’t have heaters and some other stuff that was government mandated . Instead of sending them back to be fixed . They were crushed so nobody could buy them and drive them . It was hundreds !!!!

    • Cristiana

      I think you are mistaken, Doug. Do you have a source you can cite?

      Like 1
    • Mark

      A friend of mine had one in the early 80’s that we used to ride around in. I am 6’2″ and he’s 6’4″, we both fit but we were shoulder to shoulder and shoulder to door on both sides. I know where there car is now and have been thinking about picking it up.

    • George

      Emissions became more stringent in 1973. One of the selling points of the Civic

  9. Gray Wolf

    why???

  10. Doug

    because they felt they had the wrong lights no heaters no emission stuff . So instead of sending them back that felt they were doing a community service by crushing them .

    • Rodney - GSM

      Automotive euthanasia.

  11. Jasper

    Mine had a fine heater and all the lights required of a car in 1972. Plus disc brakes, reclining bucket seats and a funky overhead console. Small, but well engineered and well built. I call BS.

    Like 4
  12. Lowell Peterson

    Had a girlfriend get loose and she came home wuth a 600! Dang! What a pain to work on! If I had one now i would drop kick that 360 and replace it with a Honda 1000 motorcycle engine and scare the xxxx out of myself and others! WooHoo!

    Like 1
  13. Puhnto

    $1395 brand new out the door!
    And so fun to drive because you could pretty much drive them flat out all the time!

    Like 1
  14. Ward William

    Nothing left except tinworm and engine blocks. Early 1970s sheet metal was very poor quality.

    We got 9 people into one of these back in the day.

  15. bone

    Parts cars at best , if you can find someone who needs the parts. When it comes to these cars it seems like they are either near mint or rot boxes like these..

  16. Terry Hallbauer

    Had three or four of them while I was in the Navy stationed in Guam. If you wanted something fast you needed a s600. The rear-end was chain driven. They also made a N360 and a S360 both had dual carbs. I still have the repair manual for them. They were a great cheap car.

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