Robert Bowen
Robert Bowen Editor
2/7/18 2:12 p.m.

If you’re not too familiar with the Honda Z600, you’re in good company. The odd little front-wheel-drive hatchback was one of Honda’s first forays into the automotive market back in the early ’70s. Call it a toe in the water from a manufacturer who sold its very first car only a few short years earlier.

The Z600’s most noticeable design feature was a funky and thick black rubber molding that surrounded the small, radiused rear window. The black window and narrow grille gave the car a shoe-like appearance—and combined with its very un-American size, the car was more of a joke than a serious attempt by Honda at cracking into the American market.

Mike Haviland also knew little about the Z600, but he didn’t choose to turn one into an autocrosser based on its oddball looks. It was simply the shortest, narrowest car that fit the SCCA autocross rules for the class that he hoped to run.

A moderately successful road racer, Mike built the car simply because he wanted to try his hand at autocross. “Before this, I ran a Yamaha-powered D Sports road racer,” he explains. “I never autocrossed it, but I thought it would be fun.”

Read the rest of the story

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
2/7/18 3:05 p.m.

I’ve always loved this car. Hard to believe that article was almost 10 years ago I remember it from the magazine so clearly.

iwannarace
iwannarace New Reader
2/7/18 9:00 p.m.

This is the inspiration for my build. I just need to ge the z600 in the garage now...

loosecannon
loosecannon Dork
2/7/18 9:36 p.m.

I had the privilege of seeing this car run once, it looks spectacular. Rumor has it that the car has been sold off in pieces but I cannot confirm this.

freetors
freetors Reader
2/7/18 10:02 p.m.

Awesome looking car. Wish I could see it run!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
2/8/18 6:33 a.m.

In reply to loosecannon :

I feel like I vaguely remember seeing the carbon bodywork for sale several years ago, but cannot confirm that.

759NRNG
759NRNG SuperDork
2/8/18 8:48 a.m.

Is there more of an in depth build on this here(GRM) .......similar to LooseC/NoCones efforts?

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
2/8/18 10:08 a.m.

I've seen it run several times, looks like an absolute blast. It is dang small standing next to it. Fun seeing the driver climb in through the windshield, which was easier than the side window.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
2/8/18 10:33 a.m.

I absolutely drooled over the article when it came out. This is my favorite car of all the cars that have been in the magazine. Just utterly badass. Sad if it has been sold for parts. Even if it was not dominating B-MOD, it was still the coolest thing in the class.

pdmracing
pdmracing New Reader
2/8/18 3:58 p.m.

I had one during gas crisis When they were rationing gas & my ss396 was costing me more than my airman salary.  One day during the Iran crisis we stuffed 4 grown men into one & went of base for one last beer , On the way back @ 55 mph the lite turned red, barking was ok until nada we blew through a 4 lane light how we didn't get killed I never know whe it finally slowed down we got out & teh rotors were glowing bright red.    Another interesting tim was when a German shepard  just cam through the window at a red light. Who was I to say no

On day after many many breakdowns I just left it at the side of some road in VA

eclipse2lancer
eclipse2lancer New Reader
2/8/18 8:02 p.m.
loosecannon said:

I had the privilege of seeing this car run once, it looks spectacular. Rumor has it that the car has been sold off in pieces but I cannot confirm this.

I had the pleasure of competing in BMod at the 2017 Solo National Championships and met Mike. He was there with a new car, a converted NovaBlade (normally an F500 chassis used in FMod), which was being driven by Rich Grupp.

He did confirm this particular build in the article had been sold off for parts. 

Here is a pic of the NovaBlade in grid next to the orange LeGrand I was fortunate to be competing with... which happens to be the old GRM BMod project. The autocross world is a small one.

-Will Lahee

 

 

iwannarace
iwannarace New Reader
2/9/18 1:06 p.m.
eclipse2lancer said:
loosecannon said:

I had the privilege of seeing this car run once, it looks spectacular. Rumor has it that the car has been sold off in pieces but I cannot confirm this.

 

He did confirm this particular build in the article had been sold off for parts. 

That is tragic.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/9/18 1:16 p.m.

Yeah, we met up with the owners/builders at Solo Nats this year. Sad to hear that the "Honda" is gone. Pretty sure they said that they still have the body, though....

65289Cobra
65289Cobra
6/14/18 1:41 p.m.

"Bitten by the rulebook " sounds familiar.  As a Lt stationed in France in the early 1960s, I had a 998cc WSM Sprite coupe built in London to run as a surefire contender in the under-1-liter GT class on The Continent.  Lengthy delays in construction meant that I was unhappily shipped back to CONUS before the Sprite was finished.  So much for my dreams of FIA European glory!  SCCA rules were of course completely different from those in France, and I ended up way over my head in CProd; she would've been a decent FProd or GProd runner.  Years later, I think she finally ended up in EProd long after I'd sold her.  Lesson learned:  those murky crystal balls will get you every time!  (otoh, I did get a lotta practice in watching my mirrors!)

BHPBob
BHPBob
6/14/18 1:54 p.m.

I had the distinct honor of driving that little beast at the Spring Nationals in Lincoln in 2012.  Something that doesn't come through in the photos in the article is the true size perspective.  At 6-2 and 200 lbs.  I was considerably larger than Mike and had to climb in through the windshield.  When sitting in the driver seat (or more accurately, sitting atop the side bolsters) I felt and looked like a bear riding a tricycle.  I remember being off the pace in BM, but that was due to my incredibly awkward driving position and rustiness.  The car's performance capability was amazing.  Something else that doesn't come through in the article is that Mike and his wife are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet despite being certifiably crazy.  The article does mention "long distance running," but it doesn't mention that they are both world-class ultra-marathoners.  Yeah... competing in 50 and 100-mile races through the desert where you go through 2-3 pairs of shoes in one race.  Uh huh.  Certifiable.  But also just world-class nice folks.  –Bob Tunnell     PS. Also pretty cool is that same weekend Patty got to drive Del Long's EM Jeep, pictured in the photo above under the More Like This heading  That was a great weekend for both of us!

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
6/14/18 2:00 p.m.

^^^ Thanks for posting Bob!  Always good to hear a first-person account.

 

And as far as "the nicest people you'll ever meet"   you and Patty certainly would know.  Takes one to know one and all that!     

HoserRacing
HoserRacing HalfDork
6/14/18 2:04 p.m.

I know someone with a Honda 600 they're looking to sell if anyone is interested in recreating the beast devil

pheller
pheller PowerDork
6/14/18 6:28 p.m.

I'm not overly familiar with the rulebook, but how much of this vehicle was original, if anything? 

Was the D-Mod rulebook at the time just allowing you to create any chassis as long as fit under an original body shape? 

BHPBob
BHPBob New Reader
6/18/18 6:03 p.m.

In reply to pheller :

In answer to your first question... none that I'm aware of.  Which is not all that uncommon in DM and EM.

The rules say, "...the shape of the body must remain recognizable as that of the approved make and model."  Additionally the floor pan length must match the original and the width must match or exceed that of the original.  There are some allowances for wheelbase deviation from the original although they come with weight penalties so most stick with the OE wheelbase.  But there is no requirement for any original parts to be used.

ojannen
ojannen Reader
6/18/18 9:04 p.m.

In reply to pheller :

Normally in D-Mod/E-Mod, you have to pick a body shell that fits the wheelbase you want.  The rules are open enough that you most cars end up with a tube frame, driver on the left, engine on the right, suspension in the front, live axle in the rear.  That is why you end up with things like the Jeep.  The original car had an 80" wheelbase and that happens to be the minimum wheelbase for the class.

D-Mod changed about 5 years ago, while the Honda was being built.  Motorcycle engines were outlawed and the minimum weight was increased by 200 or 300 lbs.  I believe that combination of changes made the Honda obsolete.  The engine pushed it into B-Mod where it was oversized and overweight.

 

twofoot
twofoot
7/14/18 10:37 p.m.

So this guy builds the coolest car in the free world and then sells it off for parts? WTH?

But... The molds still exist, right??? Where do I send my money to get one?

Chris

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/14/18 11:22 p.m.
twofoot said:

So this guy builds the coolest car in the free world and then sells it off for parts? WTH?

 

Even when the article was written, the car was rendered obsolete during its build due to rule changes.

 

One of my favorite cars ever featured in GRM.  But it's still a motorsports-only car, and what happens to them when their class moves on?  Autocross is too esoteric for cars to wind up in museums, and I don't know if vintage autocross would ever really catch on.

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