Happy new year to all our JNC readers on the lunar calendar. Although modern Japan officially considers January 1 their starting point for another orbit around the sun, some Japanese still have a nostalgic feeling for the lunar calendar. Thus, the nation’s largest gathering of classics that takes place in late January is called, appropriately, the New Year Meeting.
Each year’s featured marque gets a special area near the stage, and for 2011 that marque was Honda. Honda-heads might know the Honda 1300 Coupe 9, but sandwiched here between a first-gen Civic and S600 is the extremely rare Honda 1300 Sedan, which came with just as much air-cooled coolness as its two-door brother.
Honda’s most well known nostalgic is probably the S800, the 10,000 rpm roadster and S2000 predecessor that we featured in JNC Volume 04. But the real story here is the car behind it with the odd looking wheel covers and shortened rump. That’s a replica of the Honda S360 prototype, revealed at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show alongside the S500 but never produced. It’s pretty much the first car that Honda ever built.
The front-wheel-drive Honda Life StepVan is predecessor to the JDM Honda StepWgn and actually the world’s first minivan. This one is slightly better stanced than stock and contains a bit more chrome in the engine bay.
The Old Honda Fan Club didn’t just bring cars, but old Honda Monkeys, other assorted motorcycles, and even vintage Honda generators! The vintage banners and signs make you feel like you’re strolling down a market street in 1960s Tokyo. You can almost smell the takoyaki roasting.
In the 1960s, the Honda S600 and S800 had an unparalleled racing pedigree. Many of Japan’s greatest drivers raced them early on in their careers. Miata-like in their ability to be found on racing circuits across Japan, several custom-built race cars were constructed around S-car engines.
We should really petition the Mazda Cosmo Sports Owners Club to rescue the ones spotted in that field.
Mitsubishi might be killing the Galant in the US, but Galant GTOs came out strong.
This replica of the 1972 Australian Rally Championships Galant is a regular at the NYM. We have dreams of Mad Maxxin’ it across the Outback.
[Photos by Jason Kusagaya]