The Honda Civic has a long, rich history. 2016 marks the Civic’s 44th year in production, and its 10th major redesign. It was the first Honda car to gain widespread popularity in America, the one that truly put the brand on the map. But here’s a little-known fact – the Honda Civic wasn’t actually the first Honda car in the US. That honor belongs to the Honda N600.
Recently, one mechanic rediscovered a rare piece of automotive history: the very first Honda N600 ever driven on US soil, serial number 1000001. To celebrate this occasion, Honda is launching a new video series, “Serial One”, to document the restoration of this history-making vehicle.
Restoring the Very First Honda N600
The N600 was an odd little car, sold between 1970 and 1972. Nimble and fuel-efficient, it was based on a Japanese kei car, a class of ultra-tiny vehicles built for city driving. It weighed less than 1,200 pounds, and could actually fit in between the wheels of many full-size cars. The 600 refers to its motorcycle-like 600-cc engine.
They’re fairly rare nowadays, but a number of them have survived, maintained and restored by vintage Honda fans like Tim Mings. Tim Mings is an N600 expert, the only mechanic in the country who specializes in fixing and restoring these tiny cars. He’s rescued hundreds of them in his lifetime. He’d actually owned the “Serial One” car for years before wiping the dirt off the serial number and revealing the car’s unique status. You can watch him introduce himself and the car in the first installment of “Serial One”: