Fans of small Japanese sports cars need to head over to BH Auction’s Collection No. 9 sale, because two of the earliest and best-looking examples of the breed are currently on auction until February 27th. While you’ll notice a drool-worthy Hakosuka Nissan Skyline GTR is also up for grabs, what really caught our attention was the Honda S600 and S800 - some of Honda’s original sportscars and the forefathers of performance icons such as the NSX and S2000. We’ll start with the earlier of the two: a 1964 Honda S600 that has just enjoyed a full restoration. This car came just as Honda was making the transition from producing motorcycles to being a full-blown automotive manufacturer. As a result it has a few features you’d expect to see on something with two wheels rather than four, such as a chain drive rather than a driveshaft and a tiny, rev-happy 606cc engine, in keeping with Japanese Kei car regulations. Despite the lack of displacement this tiny marvel puts out an impressive 57hp (keep in mind this was in the 60s) and weighs just 695kg.
Next up is this stunning 1968 Honda S800 M Coupé, a hard top development of the S600 featuring a bigger 791cc engine that could scream all the way up to 9,500 rpm. Equipped with quadruple carburettors and 70 enraged shetland ponies, the S800 could reach an impressive 160kph. Still weighing in at just 720kg, the S800, like the S600, represented Soichiro Honda’s original vision for a fun, lightweight sportscar - a recipe that endures today in the form of the Mazda MX-5 and Lotus Elise. These two cars are from a time when Honda was determined to wow the world and put itself on the map, and considering how good these little cars look and how much fun they are to drive, it’s no surprise that Honda achieved the global dominance it enjoys today.