Honda S360 : The birth of the S-Series #blogpost

When you hear “Honda S-Series”, most of you will think will think about the S2000. But way before the S2000, even before the first S-Series Honda, the S500, there was one car, and it’s called the S360. And as with most S-Series, the numbers stands for its displacement. And yes, this car has a 360cc engine. At first the S360 was aimed for the Kei car territory, which would have been Japan’s first kei sports car, but sadly Honda didn’t sell it.
There were many versions of the S360, but the most well-know are the TAS-260 and AS-250 prototypes. They are both basically the same, they just have a few minor changes. There were about 12 prototypes that were ever built by Honda.

Inside the car

Released in 1962 as a prototype, the S360 runs with a straight 4, DOHC, 356cc engine carried from the T360 kei truck. Yes, a 356cc straight 4, I don’t even know why it needs that many cylinders, the N360 only had 2. But as a result, the S360 generates 35 horsepower, and has a tachometer reaching 12000 rpm and 140 km/h ( I’m guessing those numbers are close to the car’s capabilities ), while later prototypes have a 14000rpm tacho and a 140km/h speedo. These figures may look small, but remember, it was 1962 and it was a 360cc car. As its successors, the S360 carries the well balanced FR layout. Despite made in 1962, the prototype actually had a 5-speed manual gearbox. Back then most cars only had 4. Hell even the S500 only had 4. The S360 was small, it only had a 1950mm wheelbase.

How it didn't make it

Although it didn’t make to production, and despite its very small engine and size, the S360 was a success on its debut. It made a good impression to the people, but Honda thought that it wasn’t a good idea to sell it. So at the end of the day, they came up with the larger, more powerful S500, which made to production as Honda’s first car. Why? Well it’s more marketable outside of Japan, and that makes sense. The S360 just wasn’t good enough for outside of Japan. The kei car laws only apply to Japan and that could have been the main concern from Honda. The S500 was a better car to be sold worldwide. And they were right, it was a success outside of Japan, and from there came the other S-series Hondas. In 2013, during the S660 Concept debut, there was the S360 displayed next to the S660, showing how it all started. It may not come to production, but it started one Honda’s best cars like the S800 and S2000.

There’s not much to be told about the S360. There were not much information, not even dimensions, but it’s good to know the car that started it all.

My thoughts

To me, the S360 will be the Honda I want, but can’t have. Sure, there’s the bigger S500, but the S360 looks cute to me. The short back-end really catches me. Sure, it only has 35hp, but it should be enough, it doesn’t weigh anything. it’s N360 size should make it very agile on the corners, and it revs sky-high, that really takes my heart away. I really wish Honda had made this car into production.



Nice post! I’d never heard about this one before :)

05/17/2016 - 15:32 |
1 | 0

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I just heard about it like this afternoon. I was looking at some 1/43 S660 models when I see miniature S360 at the back, so I googled it.

05/17/2016 - 15:47 |
1 | 0

12,000 RPM in 1962 must have been mental to hear screaming down your high street

05/24/2016 - 01:28 |
1 | 0

Sponsored Posts