Modified 1972 Honda N600 Is a 122-Inch Long Hatch That Revs to 12,000 RPM
The winner of the first-ever Honda Super Tuner Legends Series is a (tiny) doozy.
Honda N600s are inherently cool. These small hatchbacks were the first Honda cars to be exported to the United States back in 1969, and the very first one sold in the U.S. was in fact recently restored. Previously, Honda had only sent over motorcycles, which explains why even the original N600 was powered by essentially a motorcycle engine, one that revved to 9000 rpm and (miraculously) scooted the tiny vehicle to up to 81 mph. The 1972 N600 you see here ups the ante on that oddball engineering considerably.
For starters, thanks to a modern 800-cc Honda V-4 motorcycle engine from a VFR800 bike, it revs even higher than the original—to a dizzying 12,000 rpm! The last version of the VFR800 sold in the U.S. the Interceptor, made 107 horsepower; even if that's the figure attached to this N600's engine, that's a big step up from the stock two-cylinder engine's output, which is essentially a weak mouse fart. (It was actually 36 horsepower.)
Owner Stephen Mines didn't stop at his N600's engine bay—no, he converted the originally front-wheel-drive 600 to rear-wheel drive. Just for fun. He also treated the car, which stock looks a bit dorky on its spindly wheels and such, to a compelling visual overhaul that transforms it into a Japanese-flavored Mini Cooper lookalike. The flared fenders; fat, dark-colored wheels; and stripped-down exterior trim just plain work. We're drooling over the details, however, including the red-painted Honda badge (like today's Civic Type R!) and the white paint, surely an homage to Honda's famed Championship White hue.
It is little wonder, then, that Mines's N600 was given the top prize at the first-ever Honda Super Tuner Legends show. This year marked Honda's 60th anniversary in the U.S., so what better car to choose than an appropriately tuned example of the first Honda to ever grace American showrooms? To celebrate, Honda will display the winning N600 at its booth at the wild and crazy SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas later this month.