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Thread: 1965 Honda S600 Restoration

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Houston
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    5

    1965 Honda S600 Restoration

    My original thread here seems to be gone, so I'll start another one again since I finally have updates. I bought a non-running 1965 Honda S600 in 2006 (pre-Leno) when you could still buy a fully-restored runner for $12-15k. I shouldn't have cheaped out then. I bought a "restored" one sight-unseen from the owner in Canada. Looked good in pictures...but that's deceiving. I was supposed to get 2 S600 roadsters. One was a rusted out empty shell. Other was a silver one that looks good and had everything including a rare hardtop, windscreen, and luggage rack...but didn't run. I couldn't pick up the rusted shell since the tow guy requires for it to at least roll, brake, and steer and I live thousands of miles away. So it's probably still in Ontario somewhere in a barn.

    Here's initial pics from 2008:




    yes...It's a very tiny car.

    So my mechanic managed to get it running a little bit, but says the car needs a wiring harness and a little motor work. He has experience working with Honda dirtbikes in the past, so hopefully he'll be ok with the S600. He didn't blow-up one of his customer's LeMans-winning Porsche 907 racecars, so I assume he knows what he's doing. He says there appears to be a bit of bondo on the fender and some paint was bubbling up. He doesn't trust the previous "restoration" and told me to make sure the body is ok before he lets me loose on the road with this car in running condition.

    Here's the car getting stripped by my mechanic and a friend of mine who restores TR6s and Mustangs. Too busy with other car projects...finally got to it ~2.5 years later in 2009. Took them a year to strip it down, mainly b/c my friend who has experience with restorations had some life-change and left the state:



    first clue in the pic on questionability of the previous "restoration"

    In 2010, stripdown completed. All the guts at my mechanic's. Mechanic thinks the body is in good shape other than bondo on one of the fenders. The frame and body off to a friend who owns a body shop. He usually works on late model cars from import tuner Civics to modified Bentleys. He's done some classic Buicks before and knows how to use lead. Car sits for about a year at the shop since restos aren't his bread'n'butter and I got a discount.


    2011, car gets sandblasted. Some rust. Lots of bondo... :cry:




    So the bad news. Appears there's lots more bondo than it appears. Worse, this car was once 2 cars: half white, half red. Told me if I just drove it as is, the trunk would fall off one day lol. He thinks the car will still be fine for the most part when he acid-dips the car. Fortunately there's a lot of pics on the net as well as the chrome trim for clues to help reshape the body to original form wherever the bondo disappears. Anyway, frame-off!






  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    5

    Re: My Painful 1965 Honda Franken-S600 Restoration

    So I kinda ignored the car for about a year and finally got some time to check out the progress this year (2012). It's currently on the rotisserie rack. Roast time: ~6 years and counting.





    Hopefully by next year, the body will be completely done and painted in Championship White (should offset well with the red interior/seats that I have). Says the hardtop will be a little more difficult to restore, so maybe 2-3 years for that part. I'm guessing it'll take my mechanic 1-2 years to get everything reassembled and in working order for the car. It's been a long road and I'm tired of watching grass grow and paint peel. Hopefully it'll be worthwhile as Soichiro's Honda S600 will be a nice stablemate to my current Honda S2000 full of Hirotoshi's Mugen catalog parts.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    29

    Re: 1965 Honda S600 Restoration

    Very nice! I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Norcal
    Posts
    142

    Re: 1965 Honda S600 Restoration

    Keep going! I did a ground-up restoration on an s800 a few years back - it's a very cleverly-built car, and shows an amazing amount of know-how, given it was Honda's first try. In a way, he kind of over-designed it.

    Best of luck to you.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    28

    Re: 1965 Honda S600 Restoration

    I dont think I could stand the time to get things done. I worry when a car is in a shop for YEARS that the parts start to scatter and then can never be found.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Shibuya-ku
    Posts
    733

    Re: 1965 Honda S600 Restoration

    Get into it! Now seems to be sweet spot in parts availability vs. price... Neko.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Snohomish County, WA
    Posts
    311

    Re: 1965 Honda S600 Restoration

    Jealous! In for the build.

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