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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Honda 600 - The First Honda Car produced For USA Import - We Had One

1972 Honda 600 at
Proctor Honda - I am typing from the showroom

1100 pounds and 36 horsepower - this car is tiny

I am sitting in the showroom at Proctor Honda in Tallahassee - waiting for the service on our 2016 Honda Odyssey Van. We bought it one year ago and it has 12000 miles on it. I am in a pretty good mood because the service tech just told me that there is no charge for the 12000 mile service.

Another reason I like coming here is because sitting right in front of me in the showroom is a 1972 Honda 600. This was the first car Honda imported into the USA - a few year before the Civic. It is also the first brand new car that Lulu and I bought together.

1972 was a big year for us. We were married a year and Lulu graduated from THS. We bought a little travel trailer to live in while we started building our new home by the Bungalow in Tamaqua. Lulu also started commuting from Tamaqua to Kutztown State College - 40 miles each way.

In those days - my employer used to pay teachers their summer play in a lump sum to save postage stamps. We got a big check and proceeded to buy a new car. It was a new Honda 600 for $1525. It barely sat 4 people. It had a 2 cylinder engine - 4 speed - no AC - and no options were available but a radio.

The car weighed 1100 pounds. It had 36 horsepower. It was one of the first ones to have front wheel drive. It had 10 inch tires and disk brakes. It went from 0 to 60 MPH in 19 seconds. It topped out at 77 MPH and got 36 miles per gallon. We loved that little car - by today's standards it was not very safe.

The first thing we did when we got it was to drive it to Miami. It took us 2 days and $8 of gasoline to get there. When we got there - we rented a tiny apartment for $70 a month. It was really just a bedroom and bathroom on an enclosed veranda - but we loved it. We both got jobs right away - Lulu worked the service desk at K-Mart and announced the Bluelight Specials. I ended up selling cars for Honda. It was a romantic life for both of us - and we considered staying there. But at the end of August we drove back to Tamaqua and I went back to teaching and Lulu became a Kutztown Coed - where she majored in library science.

Life went on - we bought almost 80 cars since then. But that little Honda holds a special spot in our hearts. We visited Disneyworld for the first time in that car on the way home to Pennsylvania. To save money on that trip home - we stayed in the little Honda - on that humid mosquito filled night.

Tomorrow we will drive our new Honda van to Orlando to meet our good buddies Carl and Marylou at the Palma Maria for supper. Things have changed a bit - we rented an Embassy Suite in Orlando to relax after our dinner - and then drive home the next day.

Back on our first visit to Florida in 1971 - when we eloped - Lulu vowed to one day live in Florida. Little did we know back then - one day she would be a professor at Florida State University. And I would be carrying her bags.

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