What you’re looking at here is the S2000’s predecessor. It’s called the S800, and it went out of production way back in 1970 - it took Honda near enough 30 years to make a follow-up.
It was the third instalment in a trilogy of small sports cars from the Japanese brand, the first being the S500, its second-ever production car. It’s a beautiful, important piece of Honda’s history, so you might be surprised to learn that this one is set to go under the hammer for around the price of a late-model S2K.
S800s were produced in reasonable numbers, and there’s still a decent population let today. As such, the example up for grabs at Silverstone Auctions’ Heythrop sale this month has a pleasingly non-scary estimate of £15,000 - £20,000.
For that, you’ll be getting a pretty little S800 coupe (a roadster was also built), with a 791cc engine driving the rear wheels. It may only develop 70bhp, but it’ll still feel brisk(ish), as it weighs under 800kg. Plus, that small engine up front will be a joy to use, with an 8000rpm redline to enjoy.
Earlier S800s - like the S500 and S600 - were especially quirky, using a chain drive setup. After the first 1000 cars were out the door, this was swapped for a normal driveshaft, while the independent rear suspension was dropped due to the switch to a live axle.
The auction winner will take delivery of an exceptionally tidy S800 which was treated to a full body restoration from 2014-2017, which involved separating the shell from the ladder frame. The S800 Club Chairman - handily a former Rolls-Royce engineer - gave the engine an overhaul in 2017.