This Honda has a 12,000rpm red line and we need it

By topgear, 30 October 2019

he little Honda N600 you see above has absolutely rocked our world today, and we hope it does the same to yours. 

The car in question came to our attention because it recently won Honda’s inaugural Super Tuner Legends Series in the US. That victory, decided by a panel of expert judges, means it’ll now be on display at the SEMA show in early November.

Why is it so special? Well, under the bonnet is an 800cc V4 engine from a 1998 Honda VFR800 motorbike. It may only have around 115bhp, but the whole car weighs less than 650kg, and the red line is a monumental 12,000rpm. Oh yes.

The N600 was the first car that Honda brought to America back in the 1970s, before that it had spent a decade becoming the top-selling motorbike manufacturer. The only thing Seventies about this custom build is the body, though. The high-revving engine is still connected to its original motorbike sequential gearbox, which means there are wheel-mounted paddles but a foot-operated clutch. There’s also no reverse gear, but a five-year-old could probably give the little thing a good push (don’t try this at home, five-year-olds).

The engine drives the rear wheels only, and the suspension and brakes come from a Mk1 Mazda MX5 (or Miata in the US) – so it presumably drives brilliantly. It apparently took five years for a man named Dean Williams to build it for its owner Stephen Mines, too, so it really was a labour of love.

How badly do you want a 12,000rpm rev limit in your life?