|Also called||Honda 600 Coupe
Z360 Kei car
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||354 cc I2
356 cc EA I2
598 cc I2
|Wheelbase||2,000 mm (79 in)|
|Length||3,125 mm (123.0 in)|
|Width||1,295 mm (51.0 in)|
|Height||1,280 mm (50 in)|
|Curb weight||595 kg (1,310 lb)|
For some markets the vehicle was called the "Z" followed by the size of the engine (ie: Z600) , so included the engine size in the name and identity of the vehicle.
First generation 
The two-door Honda Z was a kei car/city car designed and built by Honda sold from 1970 to 1972. US sales (only with the larger 600 cc engine) ended in 1972, well before the 1973 introduction of the Civic. Marketed as the "sport coupé" version of the N600 "sedan", the two models were sold side by side at American motorcycle dealerships until the first stand-alone dealers opened with the Civic on their lots. Total production was 40,586 units. The car was first introduced in October 1970.
In certain countries such as the USA the Z600 name simply reflected the engine's size of 598 cc (36 cu in). The smaller-engined Honda Z360 was available in Japan (and other markets, such as Australia) with a 354 cc (22 cu in) twin. In the UK they only came in 600cc form and were called simply 'Honda Z' with no mention of the engine size in the name.
As with all cars in the Kei class, the Z360's specifications were tightly governed. The Z360 originally featured an air-cooled, 354 cc, 2-cylinder SOHC engine with a 4- or 5-speed transmission driving the front wheels. Outputs were 31 PS (23 kW; 31 hp) at 8,500 rpm for the Act and Pro versions, and 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp) at an astronomical 9,000 rpm for the sportier TS and GS models. The Z600 model's 598 cc SOHC engine was rated at 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp). In December 1971, the Z360 received a facelift and a water-cooled engine, it too producing 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp) at 9,000 rpm. Only a month later, the 31 PS engine used in the lower spec variants (Standard, Deluxe, Automatic, Custom) also became water-cooled. The engine's technical achievements reflected influence from Honda's larger 1.3 L air-cooled four cylinder used in the Honda 1300 coupe and sedan.
One car magazine recording 136 mpg-imp (2.08 L/100 km; 113 mpg-US) when they didn't exceed 30 mph (48 km/h), which came at almost the perfect time with a gasoline shortage looming.
Despite its small size and low-powered engine, the Z had no problem maintaining freeway speeds and serving its purpose as a commuter. The only frequent complaint about the car was that it had a very harsh ride, which was largely due to its short wheelbase. Front suspension is coil sprung and independent; the rear utilizes leaf springs on a live beam axle. This primitive rear suspension contributed to the relatively poor handling and ride quality of the car. The interior fit two adults comfortably, though the back seat was not nearly so accommodating.
The car featured an opening rear glass hatch surrounded by a thick black plastic surround, leading to nicknames such as "TV-set" and "swimming goggles". The hatch revealed a small, shallow cargo area. Below the cargo area was a locker that was accessed via a hatch hidden behind the number plate. This locker contained the spare wheel and tools. Later versions, after a November 1972 facelift, dispensed with this extra gate and were also of a pillarless design. These also received the new EA engine of 356 cc (22 cu in), now only available in a more powerful, 36 PS (26 kW; 36 hp) version.
In the UK the Z was only available in orange with a black stripe up the side and was always 600cc, though the engine size was never in the name.
A Honda Z was prominently featured in the Australian film Malcolm as a get-away car that split into two.
Second generation 
|Body style||2-door Mini SUV|
|Layout||M4 layout / AWD|
|Engine||656 cc E07Z NA/turbo I3|
|Wheelbase||2,360 mm (93 in)|
|Length||3,395 mm (133.7 in)|
|Width||1,475 mm (58.1 in)|
|Height||1,675 mm (65.9 in)|
|Curb weight||960–970 kg (2,100–2,100 lb)|
The Honda Z was a retro-styled subcompact (656 cc) SUV by Honda Motor Company, introduced in 1998 at Honda Primo Japanese dealerships, and discontinued in autumn 2002. It was a two-door version of the Honda Life with the engine installed in the center of the vehicle.
Launched on October 9, 1998 the PA1 Honda Z was manufactured for Honda by Yachiyo Industry Co, a Honda subsidiary manufacturing light trucks. The basic structure of the Z, including its midship-mounted engine placement and 4WD drivetrain was shared with its Honda Acty sibling. Unlike the Acty though, it was a four-seater passenger car which also meant that it had to pass passenger car safety standards. The 656 cc E07Z three-cylinder engine was available in a naturally aspirated as well as in a turbocharged variant.
The Z was only ever available with a four-speed automatic transmission, the same that was used on the EF Honda Civics. The centrally mounted engine was placed in an upright position underneath the rear seat, a layout called "UM-4" (stands for Under Midship 4WD) by Honda. Engine oil changes and minor maintenance work is done through an interior door. As with other mid-engined, four-wheel-drive vehicles, such as the Lamborghini Diablo VT, a viscous center differential was used. Some noteworthy and unusual design features of the Z included the comparatively large-diameter tires, chunky "grip-style" door handles, and the adoption of perspex double-cover headlights.
While the Honda Capa was the first car in the "J-Mover" series, the third generation Life and new Honda Z made up the "K-Mover" series. Famous rock group ZZ Top made the introductory commercial, including a song and video ("ZZ Top on the Z"). Since the car's name has always been pronounced "zed" (ゼット) by Honda, in the British fashion, the Americans in ZZ Top had to follow suit.
In June 2000 a special "Super Emotion" package appeared, with body-colored bumpers, CD player with speakers and tinted glass for a small extra cost. This proved so popular that body colored bumpers were soon made standard on turbo models. In August 2002, with stricter exhaust emission about to take effect, Honda ended production of the Z. This was to be Honda's first and last SUV Kei-car. Honda also sold a side mounted step and wheel-arch protector, but these were only for after-market fitment as they made the car too wide for kei regulations and were not crash tested. The naturally aspirated version had 52 PS (38 kW) at 7,000 rpm, while the turbocharged and intercooled version pushed out 64 PS (47 kW) at 6,000 rpm. The engine had four valves per cylinder, Honda's PGM-FI fuel injection system, and were classified as LEVs.
Land speed record 
On August 19, 2008 a 1971 Z600 coupe named Evil Tweety set a new speed record for stock body production cars with 750 cc engines at 103.978 MPH (with a stock 600 engine bored to 700 cc). The record was set by Eric Burns at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The next day Chris Clay took "Evil Tweety" to a new record for altered gas cars with 750 cc engines at 106.531 MPH These records were beaten three years later, the production car record by a Saab 96.
- 360cc: Nippon 軽自動車 Memorial 1950→1975 [Nippon Kei Car Memorial 1950–1975] (in Japanese). Tokyo: Yaesu Publishing. 2007. p. 76. ISBN 978-4-86144-083-0.
- Nippon Kei Car Memorial, pp. 83–84
- "Top Ten: Japanese classics". channel4.com. Archived from the original on 2007-11-19. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Honda Motegi Twin Ring Museum display, available at Flickr
- Nippon Kei Car Memorial, p. 87
- "Honda Z: We were surprised when boyzz appeared on TV!". ZZ Top in Japan. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
- "2002 model Honda Z: Specifications". Honda Motor Co. Retrieved 2011-04-19.
- Honda Z360, Japanese sales brochure, #ZK1-7009 (1970)
- ThisOldHonda.org Z600
- 1970s Honda Z Sales Brochure
- Steve's Honda 600 Coupe
- Hondazcar The Uk's only Z600 site
- 2002 Honda Z (japanese)
- Honda Z family tree (japanese)
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