Honda “Serial One” N600 Restoration
All businesses have to start somewhere. For Honda’s automotive business in the United States, the beginning was a green N600. In 1967, the N600 sedan was developed from the Japanese market N360. 50 N600s were assembled and shipped to the U.S. for an evaluation, including serial number N600-1000001, which was the very first Honda automobile in America.
The vehicle is now owned by Honda restorer and specialist Tim Mings, who describes himself as the only full-time Honda 600 mechanic in the world. His shop in Duarte, California is known to tackle everything from maintenance, repairs, and complete restorations on Honda 600’s.
Finding Serial One
The acquisition of N600-1000001 happened by a complete accident. As Tim recalls, all 50 of the cars that were delivered to the U.S. for testing were supposed to crushed at the end of the test. Yet three, including serial number 001 were sold by a scrap yard owner, before the other 47 were destroyed.
Tim has owned and restored over 300 600’s, but none as special as Serial One. He also managed to get his hands on all three of the pre-production models.
“About a decade ago at Pomona, I saw a 600 on a trailer in front of me. I’d seen plenty at this point, so it was no big deal. I parked, and a friend called me, suggesting I come by and look at it. And it was clean–complete and together. He was asking some outrageous price, so I put a note on it, saying, when you realize that no one is going to pay that price for a non-op Honda 600, call me. Sure enough, three days later, he calls and we strike a deal. When he delivers it, he tells me, oh, I have another one at home. He emailed pictures, and he delivered that one too. That was the Serial Number One car. He wasn’t aware at the time that they were ’67 models or early VIN cars; quite by coincidence, years earlier he got them separately from two different people who lived 100 miles apart or more. The stars aligned, and he collected both. He thought he wanted to make a hot rod out of them, then realized that this was a skill set that he did not possess. Then I got them.” Source: Hemmings Daily
Honda and Tim Mings have partnered to tell the story of Serial One. At SerialOne.com, you can watch and learn more about the entire restoration.