In production form the Honda 500 Sport differs considerably from the prototypes shown at last year's show. The most notable changes concern the engine and transmission. The capacity of the four-cyl, d.o.h.c. aluminium engine has now been enlarged from 492 c.c, to 531 c.c., developing 47 net b.h.p. at 8,500 r.p.m, with a peak torque at 4,500 r.p.m. The original five-speed gearbox is now replaced by a four-speed with synchromesh on the three upper ratios. The cockpit was widened by more than five inches and the design changed. Soichiro Honda announced the very competitive price of £460.
One car that is definitely not a prototype and getting a great deal of attention is the Honda 500 sports car, scheduled to go into quantity production this month. Priced for the domestic market at under £460, the Honda looks well proportioned and with a specification that includes a four carburetter twin o.h.c. engine of 493 c.c. (bore 52 mm. by stroke 58 mm.), 40 b.h.p. at 8,000 r.p.m. and maximum torque of 27.5 lb. ft. at 6,000 r.p.m., it should be a frisky performer. Dry weight is 1,167 lbs. A cutaway chassis showed the independent rear suspension and drive, consisting of a short propeller shaft to a differential fixed to the frame. The half shafts drive their respective wheels by roller chains which are enclosed in alloy cases and run in oil. Special guides are claimed to prevent the chain from fouling or jamming should it break, and it is adjusted by means of a sliding jockey wheel. Obviously derived from motorcycle experience, the rear wheels are independently sprung by means of telescopic hydraulic dampers enclosed in coil springs while the chain cases act as "swinging arms" and radius rods. The chassis is low and consists of side members of U section with cross braces but raised up at the rear end to take the rear "legs"; 80 m.p.h. is claimed.