The First Honda In America Is Getting Exactly What It Deserves

Illustration for article titled The First Honda In America Is Getting Exactly What It Deserves

Tim Mings is maybe the only mechanic on Earth who wrenches exclusively on Honda N600s and Z600s, the plucky Mini-esque ultracompact cars that were built in the late 1960s and early ’70s. As he started his latest restoration project, he wiped some grease off the VIN stamp and realized, holy crap, he’s got the first one.

Mings, AKA “Merciless Mings,” operates a shop in Southern California and subsists entirely off fixing people’s N600 and Z600s. A twenty-year veteran mechanic, he says he’s been a Honda guy his whole life.


Apparently he has a regular rotation of 200 some-odd clients with these cars, but this particular “Serial One” project is going to be something truly special.

It is literally the first production Honda in the United States, and without a doubt a thing of beauty as it sits. But Mings will be making it even nicer, and eventually sending the car off to a Honda Museum where it will be preserved indefinitely.

Mings will be documenting the whole restoration process for you to keep up with, and I recommend you do. Just watching that introductory clip above has me tingling. Not only because I’m a bit of a vintage-Honda fanboy myself, but Mings’ passion is plain to see even through the camera.

Couldn’t be happier that this car is in the hands of someone who knows how to treat it. Maybe he’ll invite us over if he reads this!

Hat tip to Chris at TTAC!

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles



Last year I attended Dr Simeon’s talk about preservation vs restoration. The main subject matter was Shelby Daytona Coupe CSX2287. Simeon made the decision to preserve the car instead of restore it. Which angered Peter Brock since the car had been modified a few times through it’s life. Brock felt the car should be returned to its original day 1 condition (his design).

Long story short, Simeon drives home this point that historically significant cars should not be restored. Now we can argue what historically significant means... But do we think this little Honda should be restored or preserved.

BTW, I ask this purly for discussion purposes. This guy is more than entitled do whatever he damn well pleases with his car. And an awesome little car it is.