Honda Z / Honda 600 | Unique Cars and Parts

7 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Honda Z / Honda 600 | Unique Cars and Parts
Honda Z

Honda 600

The Kei Class Honda

In Australia, as in Japan, we had two versions of the Honda Z. There was the Honda 360 or Scamp. and the Honda 600. They were pretty much identical, apart from the engine size.

In the USA the two models were sold side by side at motorcycle dealerships until the first 4-wheel Honda dealers opened with the Civic in their showrooms.

The designation 600 was obviously used to identify the 598cc (36 cu in) version. In the UK the car was only available in 600cc form and was called simply Honda Z with no mention of the engine size in the name. As with all cars in the Kei class, the Z360’s specifications were tightly governed.

The Z360 originally featured an air-cooled. 354cc, 2-cylinder SOHC engine with a 4 or 5-speed transmission driving the front wheels. Outputs were 31 PS (23 kW; 31 hp) at 8,500 rpm for the Act and Pro versions, and 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp) at an astronomical 9,000 rpm for the sportier TS and GS models.

In comparison, the Z600 model’s 598cc SOHC engine was rated at 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp).

In December 1971. the Z360 received a facelift and a water-cooled engine, it too producing 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp) at 9,000 rpm. Only a month later, the 31 PS engine used in the lower spec variants (Standard, Deluxe, Automatic, Custom) also became water-cooled. The engine’s technical achievements reflected influence from Honda’s larger 1.3 litre air-cooled four cylinder used in the Honda 1300 coupe and sedan .

One car magazine recorded an insane 136 mpg (imperial) (2.08 Litre/100 km; 113 mpg-US) when they didn’t exceed 30 mph (48 km/h), which came at almost the perfect time with a gasoline shortage looming. Seemingly despite its small size and low-powered engine, the Z had no problem maintaining freeway speeds and serving its purpose as a commuter. The only frequent complaint about the car was that it had a very harsh ride, which was largely due to its short wheelbase.

Honda Z

Front suspension was coil sprung and independent; the rear utilized leaf springs on a live beam axle. This primitive rear suspension contributed to the relatively poor handling and ride quality of the car. The interior was able to accomodate two adults in reasonable comfort, though the back seat was strictly for small children or dogs.

The Honda 600 in Australia

Given the price of petrol at the time, Honda’s initial 4 wheel assault on the Australian market, with their 360 and 600 micro mini cars, seemed to many to be doomed to fail. Where these cars picked up sales was in the always burgeoning second car market, where affluence and poor public transport in outer areas created a niche for nimble, economical transport. Pity that, after so many decades, not much has changed on the Public Transport front. It was a very similar story with Holden’s first HB Torana .

Wisely, Honda knew that Aussie taste had moved beyond the 2nd car being completely utalitarian, and for the 600 version they decided to tart it up a bit, by including some mock wood panelling on the dash, tinted windows and sufficient chrome discreetly used to convey the impression that this new baby is not an economy move by the owner. And inside was not such a bad place to be, leastwise when compared to other small cars from the era. Despite the diminutive exterior dimensions there was little discomfort inside, thanks largely to the well-shaped front seats.

The leg-room was good and there were a couple of odds and ends trays, including a parking meter coin tray, positioned ahead of the steering wheel. As mentioned above, the back had a seat but bugger-all leg room – and was really only for small children. The boot was also very small, but space could be increased at the expense of back seat room by swinging the rear backrest upwards. Making the 600 a little more special were the interior carpets and heater.

Identifying the 600 model over the Scamp was easy. The 600 had a bonnet bulge to clear the air intake system, and at the back the spare wheel hung visibly beneath the bumper.

Honda Z
Honda Z
Honda Z
Honda Z
Honda Z
Honda Z
Honda Z
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