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Prototype S360
These were the predecessors to Honda’s first true production-ready, prototype auto, the Sports 360, which made its public debut at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show. Powered by an all new, DOHC, water-cooled, in-line 4 cylinder engine with four carburetors, it produced 33 horsepower from 356cc at an unheard of 9,000 rpm. The car also featured a steel body, a five speed manual transmission, and for an automobile, a very unusual chain final drive utilizing aluminum swing arms which served double duty as chain cases, and also acted as trailing arms for independent rear suspension.
1964 S500
47 bhp @ 8,500 rpm
Max RPM: 10,000
Weight: 675 kg
0-50 mph: 11.6 Sec
0-62 mph: 19.5 Sec
1/4-mile: 20.2 Sec
Top Speed: 84 mph
The S500 followed the T360 into production in October of 1963, earning itself the title of the first production Honda car. Initially introduced with a 492cc engine, the specifications read like those from a Formula 1 race car; double overhead camshafts, four carburetors, a needle roller bearing crankshaft, and a 9,500 rpm redline. The car produced 44 horsepower at 8,000 rpm from its later, production displacement of 531cc, weighed approximately 1,500 pounds, and could achieve a top speed of 80 miles per hour. 

A four speed transmission (with synchromesh on the top three gears) was utilized. Final drive was by oil bath chains to the rear wheels. Four wheel independent suspension was achieved using torsion bars in the front, and diagonally attaching coil-over-shock strut units to the rear of each chain case. 

Brand new, it sold for the equivalent of $1,275. A fiberglass hardtop was offered as an optional accessory. There were 1,363 S500s produced between October 1963 and September 1964 (136 in 1963, and 1,227 in 1964), when it was supplanted by the larger-engined S600.
1965 S600 
57 bhp @ 8,500 rpm
Max RPM: 10,000
Weight: 1,576 lbs
0-50 mph: 10.7 Sec
0-60 mph: 16.2 Sec
1/4-mile: 20.7 Sec
Top Speed: 90 mph
The S600, launched in March of 1964, was the first Honda car to be offered in two versions; a convertible almost identical to its S500 sibling, and a fastback coupe, introduced in March of 1965. Styling would remain pretty much the same, with the most noteworthy changes coming to the front grille, bumper, and headlights. 

For this model, the engine capacity was increased to 606 cc. The engine produced 57 hp at 8500 rpm and had a top speed of 90 mph. With the convertible weighing in at 1576 pounds, the extra sheet metal of the coupe only added 33 pounds to the overall weight. 

The S600 was the first "mass marketed" Honda car. First offered with right hand steering only, it soon became available in left hand steering so as to be appealing to the export market. (There were a few pre-production S500s manufactured with left hand steering, two or three even being shown in some early sales brochures, but all production S500s were right hand drive.) 

Both the S600 roadster and coupe were available in standard trim and a special, upgraded package called the SM600 which included, among other items, special paint colors, exclusive badging, a standard radio and speaker, a special antenna in the passenger side sun visor, standard reversing lights, a standard cigarette lighter, a standard heater, better cushioned seats, and a detachable seat track for quick removal of the passenger seat. 

Production of the S600 was much greater than that of the S500. In fact, of the three production engine sizes for the sports cars, the S600 had the highest figures. 

Honda built 3,912 roadsters in 1964, with production climbing to 7,261 convertibles and 1,519 coupes in 1965. Production dropped off in 1966 (as they were shifting to the S800) with only 111 roadsters and 281 coupes, giving tallies of 11,284 convertibles and 1,800 coupes for the 3 year span.
1966 S800
70 bhp @ 8,000 rpm
Max RPM: 11,000
Weight: 1,588 lbs
0-50 mph: 8.7 Sec
0-60 mph: 12.9 Sec
1/4-mile: 18.8 Sec
Top Speed: 100 mph
The S800 was introduced to the world at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, and offered for sale in 1966. For this displacement increase, there would be some significant styling changes to both the front and rear of the car, while again being available in either roadster or coupe form. The early S800 would also be sold in standard and "SM" trim levels. 

The displacement was increased to 791cc which resulted in 70 hp at 8000 rpm. The S800 reached 100 mph and still boasted 35 mpg. The first 752 convertibles and 242 coupes continued the chain rear drive and independent rear suspension of its predecessors. For the next 604 roadsters and 69 coupes, Honda replaced the rear chain / suspension configuration with a more conventional live rear axle located by four radius rods and a panhard rod, while retaining four wheel drum brakes. Thereafter, front disk brakes replaced the four-wheel drum setup, while continuing the live rear axle for the remainder of the production run. 

The next significant change came in 1968 with the introduction of the S800M version. Aimed at the American market, Honda made changes to include flush door handles, side marker lights, dual circuit brakes, varied taillight configurations to suit different markets, safety glass, leaner carburetion, and more. (They went so far as to show a "USA Model" in the parts catalogues and owner's manuals, but no S800s, or for that matter any S series cars, were ever officially imported into the US for retail distribution.) 

All the changes were in vain, however, as the high revving engine produced too many hydrocarbons. New safety and emissions regulations were being introduced and the S800 did not measure up. Without the support of the American market, Honda ceased production of the S800 in May 1970. 

A total of 11,536 S800s were produced between 1966 and 1970.
SSM Concept
SSM concept when Honda first announce it in 1995.
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