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Future models - Honda - S660

Tokyo show: Honda to debut tiny S660

Small package: Honda will debut its S660 roadster at the Tokyo motor show, but it is unclear whether it will be sold outside its home country of Japan.

Honda harks back to past while looking to the future with S660 compact roadster

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Honda logo25 Oct 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

HONDA has referenced its sportscar history with the tiny S660 compact convertible concept that is set to debut at next month’s Tokyo motor show.

The near production-ready compact roadster harks back to a number of tiny Honda sportscars, including the quirky Pinninfarina-designed Beat ‘Kei’ car that Honda built between 1991 and 1996. Describing the tiny roadster as an “open-top sports-type mini-vehicle”, Honda says the S660 features a “Super cockpit” interior that pushes for the “ultimate space for the driver.” The design of the S660 is also clearly inspired by the EV-STER electric sports-car concept that Honda debuted at the previous Tokyo show in 2011, albeit with toned down exterior and cabin design.

While the S660 is reminiscent of the Beat, the front-end design with its deep grille and narrow headlights also hints at its larger and more serious big brother, the forthcoming NSX hybrid super-car.

Honda is yet to release powertrain details for the S660, and it remains unclear whether it will be a Japanese market only Kei car, or if it will be given a wider international release further down the track.

The S660 name harks back to Honda’s first ever passenger vehicle, the S500 roadster from 1963 that was powered by a 492cc four-cylinder engine with a four-speed manual gearbox and used motorcycle parts such as a chain drive at the rear wheels.

This was followed up by the S600 in 1964 that maintained the sealed roller chain drive to each rear wheel and was powered by a 43kW, 606cc engine. This was Honda’s first mass-marketed passenger car and was available in both right- and left-hand drive.

The engine in the S600 was used in Sir Jack Brabham’s F2 race car in the mid-1960s.

Currently, the CR-Z hybrid coupe is the only sportscar in Honda’s local line-up, following the demise of the much-loved S2000 convertible in 2009 and the Integra that was discontinued in 2007.

Last month Honda Australia confirmed that it will bring the re-born NSX supercar Down Under in 2015, with the petrol-electric sports machine back after a 10-year absence from the market.

The S660 will be joined on the Honda stand at Tokyo by a production version of its Jazz-based Urban SUV soft-roader that was revealed at the Detroit show earlier this year.

The tiny SUV will go on sale in global markets after the Tokyo premiere, and while Honda Australia has not confirmed a local berth for the crossover, the Japanese car-maker’s local director Stephen Collins has expressed keen interest in adding it to the line-up.

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