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S Car Acquisition Stories

"There's always a story and it must be told."

Nearly everyone has a "story" to tell about how they got a particular car... here are a few stories you may enjoy. Want to add yours? Contact Brian by clicking here.

My Honda 600 Story

by: Scott King

One Dollar Honda

I guess my passion for Honda cars began about the same time Honda started to sell cars in the United States. Back in 1971 when I was still just a sprout, my older brother’s friend Greg spent a dollar on a raffle ticket and was the lucky winner of a brand new “Spring Yellow” N600. For some reason I was always fascinated by that car. I guess I must have been drawn to its size (just my size at that time), the dash with the cubbyhole and cool hazard light switch or perhaps the fact that it was completely different than any other car I had ever seen.

Whatever the attraction, I was sold on 600 from that day forward. I remember visiting the local Honda Motorcycle dealer with my Dad around 1974 when he was looking for a new car. We were there to see the newest Honda, something called the Civic. I remember liking the car, but I have a vivid memory of not liking the bright orange color on the door lock controls. I was a critical Honda Product Planner even at 10! He ended up passing on the Civic and it was just as well because I liked the 600 better anyway.

My First 600

For years I saved all I earned doing odd jobs to buy my first car. I was ready to buy long before I could legally drive. Humoring me, my parents allowed me to shop for a car while I was still 15. We came across an ad in the local paper for a 72 Honda 600 that seemed tempting. My father also had a co-worker that had his Opel GT (aka baby Corvette) for sale. We looked at both cars, but of course I liked the Honda better.

Of course I would… I had been imprinted by the brand eight years earlier. Besides the owner of the Opel had spray painted the wheels bright silver. A stickler for originality at age 15. I was thrilled to have the car and still own it today. I hope one day soon to restore it to new condition although it doesn’t have to far to go.

First Contact

Anyone that owns a Honda 600 either now or back then knows Miles Chappell. Miles has always been an endless source of help, advice, parts and interesting conversation. I had heard stories about a Honda 600 convertible but had never seen a photo and couldn’t imagine what one would look like. It was Miles that introduced me to the Honda Sports car when I got to see his beautiful red S600 Roadster. It was so different than the Hondas I was used to and so rare that I dismissed the possibility of ever owning one.

American Honda

I went away to college and my little 600 Sedan got tucked away for a long sleep. That was in 1985. After school I went to work (where else) at Honda’s Western Regional office. By May of 1995 I found myself living in Virginia still working for Mother Honda and about a week from being relocated back to California for a new job. I got a call from Miles Chappell and knowing I had always wanted an S-Car told me of one for sale in Pennsylvania.

I immediately called my friend Dan that worked in the same Honda office I did. Years before he’d been a District Service Manager in Upstate New York and had told me stories about a Service Manager named Brian Baker that was a S600 fanatic. Brian had since started his own Honda repair business and I was encouraged to call him to discuss the car. Little did I know I was in for an adventure.

My S600

I called Brian and we immediately clicked! We discussed the cars and the consequences of ownership – both good and bad. Brian generously offered to look at the car with me and suggested I come to his home, stay the night and we’d caravan to Pennsylvania the next day. The movers wouldn’t arrive for a week so I decided to take a couple days off and take him up on his offer. I hopped in the company Passport and made the long trek from central Virginia to Upstate New York.

I was welcomed by Brian and his wife Carolyn and their two hairy children Tippy and Mugsy. The next morning I followed Brian and Tippy to Emmaus Pennsylvania to meet Leon Blackman at his motorcycle dealership. The car was rusty and mostly disassembled. Did I mention the car was rusty? This car was the typical project car that someone started restoration on and got disinterested. It was just as well.

Brian looked over the car and the boxes of parts and deemed it a good value and fairly complete. Although the rust was bad, he’d seen much worse. It would be a lot of work, but a good project. What I didn’t know at the time was Brian's philosophy that “there is no such thing as a parts car.” I bought the car and Brian arranged to have it trailered to his shop in New York with the hood and trunk wired to the body. I took the doors and all the boxed parts home to Virginia with me to have the movers take them to California.

Brian tinkered with the car to get it running again after what we were told was 14 years of storage. On June 13, 1995 at 11:29 PM Brian left a message on my voice mail that was the roar of my S600’s engine – with Honda’s engineering and Brian’s ingenuity the car was reborn after far too many years. I traveled to his shop in September for “the Gathering” of owners and was able to drive my car for the first time!

It was wonderful to experience a little Honda history and make a little of my own. As part of my relocation Honda transported the car in a closed carrier to California and it arrived before the holidays in 1995. For the next five years I slowly reassembled the car and chased parts that I found had been lost over the years. The most progress was made during the two fun California visits by Brian and Steven Wright.

In early 2001 I started the process of complete restoration by disassembling the car completely. Each part photographed, placed in a Ziploc bag, categorized and stored. The body was removed from the frame and its rusty panels were cut out and replacements were fabricated. A fine shade of Ivory White was mixed and applied and by April of 2002 the car was ready for reassembly.

The engine again roared to life in September of 2002, but I have yet to get the car of the road. I am VERY close to driving the restored version instead of just talking about it. That’s my story to date. What’s next? Let’s just say I haven’t forgotten about my little green friend waiting for me in storage…

More Information at: http://home.earthlink.net/~scottking/index.html

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