The Honda S800 was only the third car made by Honda. Introduced at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, the S800 replaced the successful Honda S600 as the company’s image car and competed with the Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget, Triumph Spitfire and Fiat 850 Spider.
Early examples continued to use the chain drive and independent suspension in the rear. 752 roadsters and 242 coupes were produced. After that Honda switched to a conventional drive-shaft, live axle rear end with four radius rods and a Panhard rod.
The 791 cc straight-4 engine produced 70 hp at 8000 rpm, thus making this Honda’s first 100 mph (160 km/h) car, but still allowing for 35 mpg (6.7 L/100 km). In April 1967 the car was described as the fastest production 1-litre car in the world thanks to its high revving engine (up to 10,000 rpm).
Production ended in May 1970 with 11,536 S800s produced - a great success for Honda at the time.
The model you see here is one I didn’t even know existed until I bought it. It is by Diapet - but not one of their normal releases but a special model only produced for members of their collector’s club in 1994.
It is in 1/43rd scale -rather than Diapet’s normal 1/40 models, and manufacture was farmed out to “Kawabata Kikaku” - a metal manufacturer in the city of Naha. And boy, metal it is. Heavy metal. While Diapets are normally solid, this one takes it to another level. It is without a shadow of doubt the heaviest 1/43 scale model I have ever seen, despite its small size.
But unlike other Diapet models, there are no opening parts. Sad. But overall, I am very happy with it and with my buying experience on the Japanese Yahoo auctions so far. I’m sure I’ll do it again soon!