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First Honda in America Brought Back to Life (W/Video)

1967 N600 restoration captured in a new documentary series

Kirill Ougarov
Oct 21, 2016
Writer: Ed Tahaney

Back in 1967, Honda became the top selling motorcycle maker in the U.S. and the world. That year, it also set it sights on selling cars in America and the Honda N600 arrived here from Japan.

The snow white, pixie-sized people mover you see here was number one of 50. It was found in a neglected state and masterfully restored by Tim Mings, a mechanic from Los Angeles, Calif.

Though Mings is no stranger to the 122-inch-long N600, having restored hundreds of the small hatchbacks, he only discovered that it was Vehicle Identification Number 1000001 several months after purchasing the tiny car.

"I will never restore another car as important as this one. This is it," Mings says in the series. "It's pretty cool. As I kid I could never put model kits together. Never had the patience, but this is OK."

OK? It's AWESOME. Mr. Mings and his crew did a spectacular job of saving this important piece of automotive history.

To celebrate this achievement, Honda created a 12-part video series about the incredible year-and-a-half restoration titled "Serial One." While the series took six months to watch online, you can skip to the best part and catch the final episode below.

Watch and listen to Mings fire up the rebuilt air-cooled, parallel-twin engine for the first time in almost 50 years. It sounds fantastic too, despite making just 31 hp. An original N600 weighs only 1,312 pounds and has a top speed of 81 mph.

Considering seat belts or airbags weren't required back then, you probably would not want to push it any faster than that anyway. The N600 also got 40 mpg in the city and originally sold for $1,395 — just slightly over a buck a pound. What a deal!

The restored 1967 Honda N600 was presented for the first time to the public at the Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, Calif., last month and the historic occasion was captured in the series finale. Watch the entire "Serial One" documentary at www.serialone.com.

By Kirill Ougarov
6 Articles

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