QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Honda?


Today is Soichiro Honda’s birthday. Though Honda-san passed away in 1991, many of the last cars he saw go into production are quickly passing the 25-year threshold into classic-dom. We can’t think of a more appropriate time to ask:

What’s the greatest nostalgic Honda?

The easy answer is probably the Honda S800. It was the top-spec version of Old Man Honda’s first born, the S-Series. Sure, the T360 beat it to market, but that was a concession to his business partner Takeo Fujisawa, the more rational of the two. Many of Japan’s great race car drivers got their start on Honda S-cars, and it would serve as the inspiration for one of the greatest sports car in modern times, the S2000.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the greatest Japanese nostalgic wagon?” 


There were a tremendous number of great answers this week. If any of you need a good laugh this Monday morning, we highly recommend you read through the whole thread started by last week’s winner Chris.

We thoroughly enjoyed PDXBryan‘s dissertation on the Datsun 510, Spudenater‘s missive on the TE72 Corolla, dsh4‘s ode to the RS46 Crown, kyushakai ‘s confession for the TE28 2-door wagon, Kevin advocacy for the kenmeri Skyline van, or cesariojpn‘s paean to the Toyota Tercel 4WD. In the end, it was Jim-Bob‘s tribute to the 1980 Datsun Maxima wagon that won our hearts:

While my normal choice would be the Nissan Staega (available with R33 GTR mechanicals!), it’s a little too new to be a nostalgic. Thus, I will nominate the 1980 Datsun Maxima wagon. It’s the only rear wheel drive car to bear the Maxima badge and underneath most of it is just early Z car mechanicals. Plus, it was available as a mechanical fuel injection diesel meaning that it can be run off of used cooking oil during a zombie apocalypse. It also has a voice module in it that is purely analog! Yes, Nissan…err Datsun’s engineers designed a miniature record player that would tell you when the door was open. Not even a Rolls Royce could brag about that sort of technology!

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

Photo by Skorj, who resides in Japan and is co-founder of Filmwasters.com

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20 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Honda?

  1. Troggie42 says:

    Can I be a bit obtuse and answer with the EF chassis range of cars? Sure, I might be a little biased as I personally have a CRX, but the EF chassis is probably one of the most versatile platforms they’ve ever made. Think about it: They had the Civic Wagon, Sedan, Hatchback, and the CRX, all on the same chassis. Yeah, the previous generation had the same things, but you don’t see nearly as many old Hondas, or JNCs of of any kind for that matter, still rolling around as often as you do EF cars. You could get em with manuals, automatics, hell, the Wagon was available as a 4WD with a granny gear, like it’s an old Jeep or something. Not to mention the Si versions of both the Civic hatch and CRX are a blast to drive, even compared to modern cars of today. The CRX also had one of the highest fuel economy figures out of most cars until hybrids came along with the HF trim level. The way I see it, EF Hondas are like cockroaches, they’ll still be driving around long after the nuclear bombs go off, being driven around by the giant cockroaches that also survived the blasts.

  2. Jim-Bob says:

    Wow! I can’t believe I actually won! The sad thing is that I used an old E-mail address that I lost the password to for my user name. So, should I e-mail my old one to someone along with my current one to claim my prize?

  3. Walter says:

    There can only be one nostalgic Honda the greatest and that is the Honda 1300 sedan and coupe! It was the last air cooled Honda car made.

    Back in 1969 the Honda 1300 received an amazing engine: a 1300cc air cooled engine that sucked either hot or cold air through the engine using a fan attached to the flywheel. This allowed Honda to create an engine that had the quietness of a water cooled engine and most of the performance benefits of an air cooled engine. To make the engine even more awesome the engineers also added a dry-sump system.

    The Honda coupe 7 (and sedan 77) received a single carburetor version of this engine and had an output of 100hp while the coupe 9 (and sedan 99) received four carburetors had an increased output of 115hp with a redline at 8000rpm.

    To put this into perspective: back in those days Toyota’s commodity 1.5litre engine (the 2R) used in the Corona only produced 74hp and their top engine (8R-G, which only arrived in 1969) produced 104hp.

    Now the fun anecdote is when Eiji Toyoda (Toyota Industries president) stopped in front of the Honda 1300 at the 1968 Tokyo Motor Show and studied it for 10 minutes and then called some of his engineers. “Honda’s car produces 100 horsepower with a 1300cc engine. Why can’t we do the same thing?”

    The car itself never sold well enough to justify continuation with another air cooled engine, especially after Honda had to comply to the new environmental rules of Japan. Honda successfully developed the CVCC engine to comply to them and then Honda focused mainly on exploiting them with their Civic and Accord successes.

    Honda still does amazing things, but for some reason this must have been the most impressive thing they pulled off.

    • Kuroneko says:

      Not only that, but the Coupe is gorgeous! Had a unique rear suspension configuration, and in later models was fuel injected (though now water cooled)…

  4. Serg says:

    Yeah I was blown away when I realized that the F20C in the S2000 was producing the same output in NA form as an SR20DET. I agree the Honda style isn’t for everyone, but from a technical standpoint their engineering deserves serious respect.

    Probably the Coupe 7 – I saw one on the road once and probably scared the poor old bloke half to death with my staring and gawking, mainly because up until that point all I’d seen were 1st gen Civics and a Prelude so there was a good 2 minutes of “The hell is that thing…?”

  5. The Black CRX says:

    So many choices here, from the S-series roadsters to the beautiful 1100 (especially the Coupe 7 and 9) that brought Soichiro-san’s racing-based engineering to a “real” car… all the way up to the 1st, 3rd and 4th generations of Civic. The 1st gen Civic replaced the Beetle in society with innovation and reliability that even VW’s own Beetle replacement couldn’t match. The 3rd-gen’s design and four-model lineup (including the CRX) were so clever that they still seem modern today. Four bodystyles shared no sheet metal and offered delightful driving response, from the sporty icons (the Si models) to the industry’s mpg leader (the CRX HF). And the EF Civics were an even higher-order follow-up that’s still beloved, and still viable as a daily driver 25 years later.

    But the greatest nostalgic has to be the 1st-generation Accord from 1976–81. It was beautifully engineered, handsomely styled, excellent to drive, and reliable (despite some early, a quickly remedied rusting fenders in the snow belt). But most of all, it was equipped like no $3,995 car had ever been. Combined with 30–40 mpg and the addition of the luxury LX hatch in ’78 and the 4-door Sedan in ’79, the Accord raised what US car buyers expected from a small car. It got countless drivers out of their big cars. It pushed Honda to #1 in owner loyalty for years. And its continually booming popularity brought Japanese car production to the US (and later, US-built Accords back to Japan). So much of how all cars are made, equipped and sold today can be traced directly to the Accord. Since its invention, there are three milestone cars that changed the course for all cars: the Model T, the Beetle, and the Accord.

    • JHMAB2 says:

      The first gen Accord had such a big impact on me as a kid that it turned me into a Honda kif for the rest of my life which ultimately led me to work as a tech at the dealership and now currently working to being an engineer for corporate Honda. 😛

  6. xs10shl says:

    Honda RA300. Imagine a 3 year-old-car company building an F1 car, and winning the car’s first-ever competitive F1 race, at the Italian Grand Prix, no less. “Hello, World- we’ve arrived! Lovely Ferrari you’ve got there . . . which way to the podium? I’ve got to go pick up my trophy.”

    Of course, it was all downhill from that point, but I could only imagine the vibe at the factory the following week. It must have been marvelous!

    • Ben Hsu says:

      Excellent pick. The Honda RA272 won the 1965 Grand Prix of Mexico a year before the RA300 won in Italy, but a great story nonetheless.

      • xs10shl says:

        The RA300 was a continuation car derived from the RA271-2-3, which was only used for a short while. RA272 would be a great pick as well. the RA300 won the first race it ran, and then descended into mediocrity.

        Heck, lets just say: collectively the 60’s Honda RA series were the shizzle!

    • JHMAB2 says:

      I was actually going to nominate one of these original F1 Hondas, I think it’s one of the coolest things about Honda. Brand new company out of Japan no less, jumping into the highest level of automotive competition and actually winning. I guess that level of ambition from such a small company is what really draws me to Honda. I wish they still had this ambition and drive, instead it’s all business and suits who decide what kind of cars they push out.

  7. cesariojpn says:

    Any JNC with a F20C swap from the Honda S2000.


  8. JDMSeikoNeko says:

    I really just love the any of the 1st gen CR-Xs whether it’s the Mugen, Ballade, Si, etc. Something about it just sets off the nostalgic feel of the 80’s. It maybe the body styling with it’s boxiness or maybe the aggressive looking front end…

    Sadly though, I see a lot of these old nostalgics being mistreated, just a few weeks ago an old Si was pulled on the side of the road lonely and beat. I just wish people would take better care of these vehicles because they are indeed going up in value….

    Well anyway, enough babbling, that’s my answer for this week’s QotW.

  9. JHMAB2 says:

    Why the second generation Prelude if course! With it’s sleek lines and impressive 1.8 dual carb eng-

    Just kidding’, I’ll nominate something that i feel the title is trying to imply “Greatest Nostalgic Honda”, not limiting itself to cars, so I’m nominating the Honda Super Cub. The motorcycle/bike that has sold more units than any other vehicle and continues to be made to this day.

    Initially created to be ridden by anyone, the Super Cub changed the face of motorcycles in the United States with their ” You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaign featuring all types of people riding the Honda Super Cub. Back when the idea of a motorcyclist was a man with a leather jacket on a big loud bike, Honda changed what it meant to be a motorcyclist and introduced many to the joys of the motorcycle. I find it interesting that Honda is doing a similar campaign for the Fit, “A Fit for everyone.” Featuring all walks of life using the fit for their own interests. Anyways, Honda decided to sell the Super Cub in hobby stores and super markets instead of dirty old bike shops to further push the image of their bike being for all walks of life.

    It featured a small 4 stroke engine, despite a 2 stroke being more powerful and common for bikes at the time. Using a 4 stroke enabled better fuel economy less hassle ( no oil fuel mixture)no smoke and reliability. A “step through” chassis that enabled women in dresses to ride comfortably, large 17 inch wheels and long travel suspension that helped it maneuver through rough roads while still being a street bike and comfortable. The semi auto transmission further helped push the idea that anyone can ride it.

    A design that has hardly changed over the past half a century that continues to work and sell? How can it not be hailed as one of the greatest accomplishments in the world of transportation? Most of us I’m sure have seen Top Gear’s Vietnam special where James May takes a Honda Super Cub up Vietnam! Sure it isn’t the fastest or powerful, but it features a classy deaign, incredible reliability, and ease of use that has stood the test of time all at an affordable price.

  10. Jason Yamasaki says:

    Wish this was 2 years forward. The 4th gen Honda Prelude. Timeless classic and body lines. Many people still ask my girlfriend what year it is. They always assume its newer than 1992. The Prelude looks unlike no the car or Honda car in its time. Very underrated sport seats, lot of power, and later available with a DOHC Vtec 2.2 motor. Optional 4 wheel steering.
    At most import shows stemming back about 22 years ago or so (when it peaked my interest) there either maybe 1 or 2 Preludes in shows, or none in the shows and 1 in the parking lot. Seen a few (and still have pics) at the Battle of the Imports back @ LACR. Now in days when I run into people that have owned them ALL of them regret selling it. Always will be a big fan, glad my girl has let me drive it !

    • JHMAB2 says:

      These are impressive cars, we’ve owned two. The styling is almost timeless, we’ve had people surprised by his old it actually it is too. 210,000 miles feels like it only has 100k.

  11. pstar says:

    EF hatchback. Everybody likes Civic hatchbacks, and they’ll all be well loved JNCs someday, but the EF and earlier are the only ones classic yet. EF is also a much better car than its predecessors, and was the first one with the famous Honda double wishbone everything suspension. Its lighter than its successors, and its as good looking as either of them. Which is saying something because the EG and EK hatches are fine looking cars as well.

    Personally, I think the EF hatch has aged very well, while the sedan just looks shitty and cheap, no offense. Lots of people like CRXs but I never have, they are just kind of derpy and goofy looking, like a Suzuki X90.

    If I lived in a theft-free society (like Japan I guess) it would be really hard to resist getting a Civic hatch, but since I don’t, I don’t have to make the difficult choice between EF, EG, or EK hatch. And then there’s the EP, and then the ones those assholes at Honda never sent to North America after that… but the EF kicked off the whole thing.

    • pstar says:

      I don’t really understand Honda chassis coding, so in the above post I’m meaning EF as 4th generation, EG as 5th, EK as 6th… I know that thats wrong but screw Honda for making it difficult.

  12. Skip says:

    ” What’s the greatest nostalgic Honda? ”

    I am really attached to all of my old Hondas including a ’67 Black Bomber ,’68 Z50 , ’73 CR250 , ’75 CB400f ,’95 NSX and 07 S2000 but the question was answered before it was asked …………. I thought about the question and there are so many great cars that would qualify but in truth the greatest nostalgic Honda “Car” depends upon who you are asking but the greatest nostalgic”Honda”ever was Soichiro . I know you want a car as the answer but I really am nostalgic for the time when Soichiro Honda was running the company and nothing represents the spirit of how awesome Honda was in the earlier days than the memory of Soichiro Honda . http://www3.picturepush.com/photo/a/7051446/640/Honda-stuff/soichiro-honda-1963.jpg?v0

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