Honda has begun restoration of its first US-market passenger car, a 1967 Honda N600. The car was discovered by a long-time restorer of the model, who had it in his possession for years before he discovered it was serial number 000001.
The N600 was a front-wheel-drive hatchback based on Japan’s supercompact class called kei cars in its home country. While Japanese versions were powered by a 360cc motor in line with kei requirements at the time, US-bound markets did not have such displacement limitations, allowing Honda to install a 600cc air-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke engine good for about 31 horsepower and a top-speed of 77 mph. The car itself weighed less than 1,120 pounds. The N-Series also served as styling inspiration for the N-One.
This particular car, which Honda is calling Serial One, was discovered by N600 expert Tim Mings of southern California. Mings discovered it at a swap meet nearly 10 years ago and bought it without knowing its significance. It wasn’t until years later when he scraped off the grime covering the serial number that he realized it was the first N600.
The car is one of 50 from the first batch imported to the US as a pilot program for Honda Automobiles. It’s one of three known to have survived. Mings has been restoring N600s for over 20 years, and calls this the most important project he’ll ever undertake. When it is complete, it will reside at the American Honda collection.