Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Car Of The Day: July 31, 2012

Today's car of the day is Playart's 1969 Honda N360.

The Honda N360 is a kei car, designed and built by Honda and produced from March 1967 through 1970, while its larger N600 brother lasted three more years. After a January 1970 facelift, the N360 became the NIII360 and continued in production until 1972. The car featured front wheel drive and an air-cooled, four stroke, 354 cc, 31 hp (23 kW) two-cylinder engine, and was borrowed from the Honda CB450 motorcycle. The displacement was reduced so as to comply with kei car legislation which stipulated maximum allowable engine displacement. This same engine was also used in the Honda Vamos, with a beam axle/leaf spring rear suspension. The "N" prefix stands for the Japanese word "norimono" which means "vehicle" in English. The exterior dimensions were in compliance with Japanese government regulations concerning kei cars, however, vehicles installed with the 402 cc and 599 cc engines were too large for the category, and were largely intended for international sales.

For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Honda N360

This is one of the cars that makes Playart such a favorite among collectors today- quirky subject material.  While the Civic is well-represented in small scale, this one is not.

A two-door sedan was the original body style, with a two-door wagon (considered a commercial vehicle in Japan, and therefore called a "Van") called the LN360 coming in June of the first year. An upgraded 36 hp (27 kW) engine was added in October 1968 for the N360 T. A 402 cc engine was used in the similar N400. The engine's technological specifications reflected engineering efforts resulting from the development of the larger Honda 1300, which used an air-cooled 1.3 litre engine. One of the primary differences between the N360 and the Honda Life that followed was the N360/600 had an air-cooled engine, and the Life had a water-cooled engine. The water-cooled engine was better able to comply with newly enacted emission standards in Japan, and a move away from air-cooled, and two-stroke engines. As does the original Mini, but unlike the succeeding Life, the N360/600 had its gearbox mounted in the sump rather than bolted on as a separate unit.

The Hondamatic-equipped N360AT which appeared in August 1968 was the first kei car equipped with an automatic transmission.

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