Robert Bowen
Robert Bowen Editor
8/11/20 9:54 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This feature originally ran in the October 2006 issue.]

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

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/11/20 9:55 a.m.

One of my favorite builds ever. 

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/11/20 11:24 a.m.

I hate it when organizations changes the rules too often up to make you spend money for no reason other than not being a lying shiny happy person about it. 


this is a super creative build regardless, I love it!

nocones GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/11/20 11:43 a.m.

Do we know what happened to this car? I know I saw some pictures of it at an event a few years later but since then crickets

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/11/20 1:16 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

We talked to the owners at Nats a few years ago. IIRC, the chassis was reused in their current racer while the body is sitting somewhere. (This could be totally wrong, though, so don't quote me.)

RadBarchetta New Reader
8/14/20 8:15 a.m.

Very cool story and impressive build!

But if you change or upgrade every single part of the Z600, is it still a Z600? Or just a Z600-shaped racecar?

8/14/20 8:40 a.m.

Ah, the Honda of Theseus. My favorite problem in philosophy.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
8/14/20 9:44 a.m.

Ah, the Honda of Theseus. My favorite problem in philosophy.

This needs more upvotes. I nominate for the next Say What? column.

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