The post World War II motorcycle manufacturer first
ventured into the automobile industry with the creation
of an even smaller S500 sports car. Unlike the S500's
chain drive, however, the S800 was finally designed to
be more 'car like', using a conventional drive to the
rear wheels and an ordinary live axle located by trailing
arms and a Panhard rod.
Undercutting the Mini Cooper and Triumph Spitfire in price,
the vehicle soon made in-roads into the more traditional
British sports car category and the rest was history.
It had a maximum of over 160 km/h, thus proving it
was a "great 100 mile per hour car", as Honda used
to say in its adverts.
In May 1966, only four months
after going on sale, the S800 went through a fairly
major change. Honda replaced its aluminum chain-case
independent rear suspension with a simpler rigid axle
secured by four links and Panhard rod.
The last of these peppy Honda Sports was the S800M. Launched
in Febuary 1968, it was a more refined and luxurious upgrade
of the S800. While power stayed the same at 70 ps, the
S800M came equipped with things like factory auto-seek
radio and big capacity heater.
When the last S800M rolled
off the line in May 1970, it brought production of the
whole series to nearly 25,000 cars. At that point, Honda
stopped production of the Honda Sports. An era was over.
A small note: The S2000 was not the first Honda to rev
well above its competition. The S500 developed 44 bhp
at 8000 rpm and the S800 could even rev as high as 10,000