Awesome Japanese Cars America Missed Out On: Honda S660

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Honda is definitely being a little selfish with this one.

There's no telling what Japanese carmakers will come up with next. One thing is for sure: You can bet on whatever they create to be either damn impressive or damn entertaining. Honda's S660 somehow falls in the middle of that. It's part of the kei car family, which means it's very lightweight and small in order to comply with rigorous dimensional standards. The last kei car we profiled for this series was the Autozam AZ-1. That car was a bit more outrageous than the S660 but both are forbidden fruit for Americans.

When you inevitably stop reading this mid-sentence and buy a ticket to Japan be aware that the S660 only has two engine options. The smaller choice is a 660cc three-cylinder engine that makes just over 60 horsepower, and the larger option is a 1.0-liter engine that makes about double the horsepower. Both are mid-mounted. A six-speed manual and CVT are on offer. The car is also rear-wheel drive, and the thing weighs less than 2,000 lbs. In terms of styling, it's certainly kept that wicked 1980s look that's very unique. Yet at the same time Honda has tweaked it just enough to make it look brand new. And here's something else: It's so very unlikely that it'll come out in the US. But this being a kei car you already knew that. Right?

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Of course kei cars are a no-go in the United States, but who's to say the S660 can't be injected with some steroids and become the Toyota MR2 of the 21st Century? The first MR2 was laughably tiny, mid-engined, lightweight and had an engine that wouldn't win any drag races. That seems like the S660 in a nutshell. Yeah, it would be a big leap for Honda's lineup, but the automaker has shown a willingness to mix it up recently. America is getting the Civic Type R, so why not a silly and compact roadster? It also (sort of) makes sense from a business perspective. It could share a platform with the CR-Z! With the industry at least vaguely centered on cost-efficiency and mileage, the S660 would fit right in...we hope.

When the S660 first broke cover people were hoping it'd be a sign that a new S2000 was on the way. Well, that's not happening any time soon. For now all we have is the S660 and even that must be admired from afar. Luckily there's Japanese automotive YouTube.

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