America’s Very First Honda Unearthed in Los Angeles

Classic and collector vehicle restorers unite! Something about this story makes it a very important restoration for the ages. Honda mechanic Tim Mings could restore an N600 in his sleep, having successfully refurbished more than 1,000 of them over the last two decades. When he spots the serial number on a 1967 N600, however – he knows he’s onto something sweet. Its serial number is 1000001, which indicates this N600 is the first motor vehicle Honda ever imports to the United States of America.

Honda Serial One

The car makes the trip in 1969 to function as a test vehicle, before it is lost to time in some storage space like most vehicles of its kind. In fact, of VIN numbers 1-50 that Honda builds in 1967, only three models still survive today. Tim thinks a complicated motor parts economy is to blame for this. He tells a reporter, “These cars became orphans very quickly. If you bought one at a Honda motorcycle dealership and a car dealer came into your town, the bike shop wasn’t obliged to repair or carry parts for it. Most Honda car dealerships started with the Civic in 1973; because it was before they were around, they weren’t obligated to work on these either.”

Tim’s Journey With the First American Honda Import

Tim owns the N600 for several years before giving it a good cleaning, which reveals the very first N600 VIN number beneath some dirt and grime. The N600 -with its 42 horsepower 58cc engine and maximum speed of 88 mph- is smaller than the popular V8-powered vehicles of the late ’60’s. In fact, it is almost three feet shorter length-wise and weighs half of what an average car weighs. Its diminutive size means it has an advantage in fuel efficiency, a key selling point during the fuel shortage of 1973. These Hondas are also known for their extreme durability compared to their American counterparts, adding extra mileage for the dollar value. Models less precious than Serial One have a market value of around $10,000.

The Rebuild

Only 50 1967 Honda N600s are manufactured, Serial One -and Tim owns the first. He spends about 18 months restoring the green ’67 N600, documenting his progress in a video called, Small Car, Big Dreams: Restoring Serial One, the First Honda Car in the U.S. As he nurtures his N600 to pristine condition, he also gives it a pure white paint job. Now that the restoration is complete, you can see the Honda Serial One on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Told you this is sweet!

Restorations get our motors running – check out Classic Auto’s own transformation of a 1965 Chevy C10 truck into a shining white restomod in our video series Project C10.

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Classic and collector vehicle restorers rejoice – we can help you keep your investment safe. Classic Auto offers affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Let us customize a policy to fit your needs. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot. Call 888-901-1338 or get an instant quote online and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.