It could be debated all day long where the line between resto-modding and outright modding sits, and I come across many cars in Japan that are really hard to make a call on. There are plenty of ways to improve an older vehicle, and the vast majority of owners in Japan have always enjoyed tinkering with their vintage rides, making them handle better, adding more power and addressing old engineering solutions with more modern parts and upgrades.
And this Honda S800 at the idlers Games this past weekend had me smiling.
It probably started off with the owner swapping out stock or aged parts for more performance-oriented stuff, but then along the way, they probably thought ‘screw it – the technology is there and I’m just going to embrace it.’
Sticking to Soichiro Honda’s principles of keeping cars as light as possible, the owner went the composite route by adding a Kevlar hard top, hood and trunk lid.
More weight was removed from the cabin thanks to a thorough dose of stripping and the addition of a smaller bucket seat that would fit the tight interior.
A quick glance of the small, all-alloy 791cc four-cylinder motor reveals that the ignition has been upgraded with a more modern system, and that the stock radiator has been replaced for one double in size. If you look closely you will also see the remote reservoirs for the front dampers, hinting that no expense has been spared on this particular build.
The stock carburetors have given way to a Keihin FCR setup, a rather fitting addition as they were originally developed for superbikes and the motor in the little Honda is much more akin to a motorcycle engine than a car one. And yes, the little thing sounded awesome on track.
There’s even a custom badge on the Kevlar trunk lid denoting that this is definitely not your average S800.
The car runs a set of RS Watanabe wheels shod in Yokohama Advan A050 semi-slicks, the tire of choice for track duty in Japan.
There can’t be too many S800s out there that run a JDM tuner-like rear diffuser, and it looks like this owner might have picked one up from RE Amemiya and adapted it to fit the narrow dimensions of this modified ’60s Honda.
Dino Dalle Carbonare