Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 4
The post World War II motorcycle manufacturer first ventured into the automobile
industry with the creation of an even smaller S500 sports car. Unlike the S500's chain drive, however, the S800 was finally designed to be more 'car like', using a conventional drive to the rear wheels and an ordinary live axle located by trailing arms and a Panhard rod.
Undercutting the Mini Cooper
and Triumph Spitfire
in price, the vehicle soon made in-roads into the more traditional British sports car category and the rest was history.
It had a maximum of over 160 km/h, thus proving it was a "great 100 mile per hour car", as Honda used to say in its adverts.
In May 1966
, only four months after going on sale, the S800 went through a fairly major change. Honda replaced its aluminium chain-case independent rear suspension
with a simpler rigid axle secured by four links and Panhard rod.
The last of these peppy Honda Sports was the S800M. Launched in Febuary 1968, it was a more refined and luxurious upgrade of the S800. While power stayed the same at 70 ps, the S800M came equipped with things like factory auto-seek radio and big capacity heater.
When the last S800M rolled off the line in May 1970
, it brought production of the whole series to nearly 25,000 cars. At that point, Honda stopped production of the Honda Sports. An era was over.
A small note: The S2000 was not the first Honda to rev well above its competition. The S500 developed 44 bhp at 8000 rpm and the S800 could even rev as high as 10,000 rpm.