Ok, pop quiz! Name me a Honda convertible. 9000rpm redline. 4 seats. Mid engined. Ok, those of you who said S2000, go wash your mouth out with Mobil 1 right now*. Those of you who said NSX-Targa can do the same*.
Give up? Ok, then click and read on!
*don’t do this
Answer of course (of course!) is the 1971 Honda Vamos. Oh yes. That’s a Honda.
Available in military green, white and yellow, it’s powered by a 360cc engine but before you say it, no it isn’t the spiritual successor to the 1963 T360 truck. In fact the Vamos isn’t the successor to…anything, really.
The motor is a 354cc parallel twin from the N360 kei-car. Detuned (!) to 30ps, peak power is made at 8000rpm and the motor lives under the bed of the truck to make it mid-engined. And while the capacity is similar it doesn’t have any relation to the 360cc motor in the old T360 trucklet. Where the older T360 motor was DOHC and water cooled, with quad carbs and dry sump, the Vamos engine is much simpler, with only SOHC, single carb, air cooling and normal wet sump. Even though it’s a lot less sophisticated, it revs just as high, and when installed in the N360 Kei-car, only developed 2ps less than the far more complex, superbike-inspired 1st generation motors.
Vamos was available in 2 seater and 4 seater versions, all with a tent-like soft top and with fabric popstud doors which roll up when not in use. Payload is not that great, the 4str only having a 200kg capacity in the bed.
Performance is not shall we say a strong point, having a top speed of 90km/h. So no jokes about asking what the 0-100km/h time it does please. And the brochure does not elaborate on how long it would actually take to get to 90km/h, and one assumes that the qtr-mile time may be well on the slow side of 30 seconds..
In fact we’re not really sure what one does with a Vamos. Load it up with friends (red pants like the ones above are optional) and you’ll be using every one of those 9000rpm to just keep up with normal traffic, and with that 90km/h top end, freeways would be off limits. With peak power developed at 8000rpm it’s unlikely to handle loads very well, and you can’t put very much in it….(that chair and ladder in the catalog above would be about it and those churns of milk had better be empty).
But it’s super-cool in a mop-haired, 60s dope-smoking way. Ahh Honda. Wild, crazy guys.