Honda is using SEMA to show off their 2010 vehicles and the accessories available for each. It's also using the show to signal its return to grassroots racing, displaying several vintage racers and production cars alongside their descendants. Although we're covering the entire Mugen-accessorized 2010 lineup elsewhere, we didn't want to miss a chance to talk about three little cars at the back of the booth that had us drooling.
A mint 1971 N600, with its original, yellowed window sticker shows how far we've all come. At $1,395 the N600 cost just about a-buck-a-pound and its 598 cc air-cooled two-cylinder put out just 36 hp, but that was enough to get it to 80 MPH and still return 40 MPG. The N600 was also the car that introduced Americans to Honda automobiles, and firmly established Honda's reputation for frugality and fun.
Next to the N600 sat "Tokyo Joe," the 1974 Bolus & Snopes Civic 1200 racecar that scored six SCCA GT5 championships between 1985 and 1990. It was campaigned by American Honda employee Bob Boileau and once held the title of "World's Fastest Civic" when it was clocked at 146.698 MPH on the Talladega Superspeedway back in 1976. It also looked like it might move the frugal/fun ratio for Hondas a little to the other side of the equation.
Balancing both nicely was the spotless 1984 Mugen CRX prototype. Using a host of parts developed by Mugen, the car showed the performance possibilities inherent in the CRX platform. The Mugen sported a body kit designed for high speed stability, engine mods, a thoroughly reworked suspension, and meatier (but still just) 13-inch tires. A real throwback to the early days of Honda road and racing machines.