Honda 1300

24 Rare Honda Models You’ve Never Seen

Honda has forged a reputation as one of the most dependable automotive manufacturers in the world. It has shown it can create solid daily drivers like the Accord and the Civic.

It has also produced some spectacular performance cars. The Honda S2000 and NSX are the two that instantly spring to mind. 

Over the years, Honda has also given us some of the world’s rarest cars. We have collated this list of 24 rare Hondas. These have either low production runs or have become rare classics in 2024.

Honda S500

Honda S500
Image Credit: Maysy/WikiCommons.

The S500 was just the second production car Honda ever produced. The company built 1,363 of these, a larger displacement version of the still-born S360 Roadster. The S500 had a 531 cc DOHC inline-four at its heart with 44 hp. The S600 also had four-wheel independent suspension. This was a novel setup, thanks to the torsion bars at the front and the chain-driven coilover-sprung rear trailing arm.

1984 Honda CRX Mugen

1984 Honda CRX Mugen
Image Credit: philluis/Flicker.

While the CRX is not a rare car, the Mugen version is. The partnership between Honda and Mugen began with this CRX. Honda produced a concept in 1984 showing what the two companies could do together. The CRX Mugen had a 120 hp 1.5-liter inline-four and weighed just 1,819 lbs. The car helped develop Mugen parts for the American market. Microsoft also added it to the Forza Motorsport series of games.

Honda Prelude SiStates & Prelude SiTCV

1991 Honda Prelude 2.0 Si-TCV
Image Credit: Neil Potter/Flickr.

Records state Honda produced just 3,000 SiState Preludes and SiTCVs in 1989. These were special edition trim models exclusive for Japan, and both had four-wheel steering plus a Viscous limited-slip transmission. The Japanese version of the 2.1-liter B21A1 was under the hood, producing 147 hp. Both models included previously optional items as standard. Some of these were the leather-wrapped steering wheel and sound-deadening on the firewall and hood.

Honda Z

Honda Z
Image Credit: crash71100/Flicker.

There were just over 40,000 Honda Zs produced from 1970-1974. A lot for the small Honda company then but not for the giant it is today. The Z is a two-door hatchback Kei car, with an inline-two engine that produces up to 36 hp. Okay, that isn’t a lot but it was plenty for a vehicle weighing 1,312 lbs. Honda exported the car to Europe as the Z600, but only sold 918 of them.

Honda 1300

Honda 1300
Image Credit: 韋駄天狗/WikiCommons.

When it hit the road in 1969, the air-cooled engined S1300 became Honda’s largest vehicle. The S1300 is a sedan and coupe that competed against rivals the Toyota Corona and Nissan Bluebird. However, it suffered from multiple issues. Engineering delays and a high price compared to the competition hurt it, and Honda only made 1,445 units. But it did lead Honda onto the highly successful Civic and Accord models.

Honda S800

Honda S800
Image Credit: nakhon100/WikiCommons.

Replacing the S600 as Honda’s image car was the S800. Available as a coupe or roadster, this small sports car packs a 791 cc inline-four with 70 hp, which made it the first Honda to break 100 mph. Thanks to the high-revving engine, the S800 was the fastest production 1.0-liter car globally. It also had impressive fuel mileage, achieving 35 MPG. Honda made just 11,536 S800s from 1966 to 1970.

Honda Prelude SiR.S

Honda Prelude SiR.S
Image Credit: Honda Prelude SiR.S/Flickr.

Another rare Prelude, the SiR.S. Launched in 1998, it has a 2.20 liter DOHC VTEC under the hood as found in the Prelude S-Type. New bodywork also helped it stand out. A rear spoiler, body-colored side protectors, tinted glass, and new 16-inch wheels upgraded the classic Prelude design.

First-Generation Honda Insight

First-Generation Honda Insight
Image Credit: dave_7/WikiCommons.

Undoubtedly a rare car in 2024, the first-generation Insight was the first hybrid car available in North America. It only had a 1.0-liter inline-three, but a 13 hp electric motor helped boost fuel economy to a remarkable 73 MPG. Honda sold roughly 17,000 first-generation Insights between 1999 to 2006.

2019 Honda S2000 20th Anniversary

2019 Honda S2000 20th Anniversary
Image credit: Honda

To mark the 20th anniversary of the S2000 sports car, Honda took the covers off a prototype at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon. This was a restomod based on the AP1 S2000, with a revised design, suspension, and audio system. Despite looking fantastic, Honda sadly didn’t go further with the concept.

Honda S2000 Ultimate and GT Editions

Honda S2000 Ultimate Edition
Image Credit: SAUD AL-OLAYAN/Flickr.

To mark the end of S2000 production, Honda created the Ultimate Edition and GT Edition. Based on the AP2 S2000, the cars had a Grand Prix White body color, removable hard top, and black S2000 badging. Honda also gave them a red leather interior and color stitching on the gear lever gaiter. Honda produced 100 GT Editions and the same number of Ultimate Editions.

1992 Honda NSX-R

1992 Honda NSX-R
Image Credit: Jorge Martinez/Flickr.

The NSX-R was the Type R version of Honda’s legendary supercar. The R provided a no-compromise racing experience, as Honda engineers modified the NSX to tune it for superior track performance. Weight was down by 265 lbs to 2,712 lbs. Lightweight carbon seats replaced the electric leather seats. Honda also fitted stiffer springs at the front and a stiffer front sway bar, resulting in more rear grip and reducing oversteer tendency. From 1992-1995, just 483 NSX-Rs were ever built, exclusive to the Japanese domestic market.

2005 Honda NSX-R GT

2005 Honda NSX-R GT
Image Credit: BINGO MEDIA/Youtube.

To say farewell to the NSX, Honda produced the stunning-looking NSX-R GT. Just so the manufacturer could race the car in the JGTC and Super GT series. There was only one NSX-R GT, making it the rarest of all NSXs. A larger rear diffuser, further weight-saving measures, and a wider, longer body were the core changes to the supercar.

Honda Life Pickup

Honda Life Pickup
Image Credit: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima/WikiCommons.

Honda has produced a small number of utility vehicles, one of which is the Life Pickup Truck based on the Life hatchback. Weighing 1,213 lbs, it could carry a remarkable 772 lbs, and power came from a 356 cc EA straight-twin engine. The Life Pickup is exceptionally rare, as Honda produced just 1,132 units from 1973 to 1974.

Honda Torneo SiR-T

Honda Torneo SiR-T
Image Credit: Dra0511/WikiCommons.

The Torneo came from the Accord, and the SiR-T was a sportier version of the latter. A 178-197 hp 2.0-liter F20B provides the power, which redlines at 7,400 rpm. The F20B in the SiR-T had a distinguishable blue valve cover and was at a tilt toward the driver. Honda built just 1,100 units from 1997 to 2000, with Honda producing them in automatic and manual form.

Honda EV Plus

Honda EV Plus
Image Credit: Evplus/WikiCommons.

Perhaps one of Honda’s most unknown vehicles is the EV Plus of the late 1990s. The Plus was an experimental foray into EVs without using lead-acid batteries, with 340 units produced. The car had a small, front-wheel drive 288 V battery with a brushless DC motor, and the Plus was good enough for a range of 105 miles. Weirdly, Honda never sold the Plus. But they did offer them a three-year lease. Once those were over, Honda took back all EV Plus and scrapped them. Honda abandoned the concept after the slackening of the mandate issued by California’s Air Resources Board (CARB).

First-Generation Honda Accord Inspire

Honda Accord Inspire
Image Credit: Rainmaker47/WikiCommons.

The Inspire was a direct development of the Honda Accord chassis, although it also shared its platform with the Vigor. The Inspire sneaked in just before the early 1990s recession in Japan, and it looked to take on rivals the Toyota Cresta and Nissan Laurel. Engines were the 2.0-2.5-liter G20A1 and G25A1 inline-fives, with up to 187 hp. A key selling point was its luxurious interior, at a lower price point than the top-level Honda Legend.

Honda Civic EG6 SiR-S

Honda Civic EG6 SiR-S
Image Credit: Alan Brodie/Flickr.

The EG6 is a relatively unknown version of the Civic. Honda built between 3000-5000 built 1992-1993. Unique features included the DOHC VTEC decals on the doors and champagne-colored EG6 alloys. Colors were Granada Black Pearl, Milano Red, and Louisanna Green, the last of the tree reportedly the rarest of the colors.

1997 Honda NSX Type S-Zero

1997 Honda NSX Type S-Zero
Image Credit: Ray Penber/Flickr.

Available only in Japan, Honda offered the NSX Type S-Zero to customers who wanted a track-day weekend car to replace the discontinued NSX-R. The Type S-Zero had an extreme weight reduction thanks to the absence of a stereo, power door locks, airbags, and power steering to name just a few. The weight came down 110 lbs to 2,800 lbs. Honda would make just 30 units from 1997 to 2001.

1999 Honda RA099

1999 Honda RA099
Image Credit: Morio/WikiCommons.

Designed by ex-Ferrari and Tyrrell designer Harvey Postlethwaite, the RA099 was the Honda test car ahead of a planned entry into Formula 1. Honda was considering a Grand Prix return in 1998, so they hired Postelthwaite to design a new chassis. Built by Dallara and test-driven by Jos Verstappen, it put in some encouraging lap times during testing. However, Psetlethwaite died of a heart attack at a test in Jerez, Spain, and Honda would shelve the project. Instead of returning as a works team, the manufacturer would supply engines to the BAR and Jordan F1 teams. Only four RA099s saw a race track and the whereabouts of only one are known. This is on display at the Honda Collection Hall at Twin Ring Motegi.

Honda S660 Modulo X Version Z

Honda S660 Modulo X Version Z
Image Credit: H.DRIVE Racing/Youtube.

Honda is one of the Kei car kings, and for years it was the Beat that flew the flag. Its successor was the S660, but production stopped in March 2022. To mark the occasion, Honda produced a limited-edition version called the Modulo X Version Z. There were no performance changes to the 658 cc engine. But the car came with Sonic Gray Pearl Paint with black trim, plus burgundy upholstery inside with carbon fiber trim.

1984 Honda City Cabriolet

1984 Honda City Cabriolet
Image Credit: Iwao/WikiCommons.

The original Honda Jazz was the Honda City outside of Europe. In the mid-1980s, the Japanese manufacturer decided to employ design legends Pininfarina to build a version of the subcompact. This was the City Cabriolet, which had the wider track, fenders, and bigger bumpers from the Turbo II City. But as the name suggests, it was also a drop-top. Only a small number of Carbioloets were ever built, which was also the first car of its kind in Japan.

Honda T360

Honda T360
Image Credit: TTTNIS/WikiCommons.

Honda’s first-ever production automobile was the little T360 pickup truck. It only had a small inline-four DOHC engine, but the truck was light at just 1,345 lbs. Honda produced the T360 for four years, with over 100,000 made. They have since become a real rarity, and the T360 is perhaps the most important car in the manufacturer’s history.

Second-Generation Honda NSX Type S

Second-Generation Honda NSX Type S
Image Credit: Matti Blume/WikiCommons.

In 2016, Honda brought the NSX back into production as a hybrid supercar. A 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 with 573 hp lay at the heart of the new NSX, which had also received a radical redesign. However, its high price tag meant sales were slow, and production ceased at the end of November 2022 with the limited-edition NSX Type S that had 602 hp. Honda produced only 300 NSX Type S’s, The slow sales for the new generation NSX have meant they are far rarer than they perhaps should be.

1996 Honda Integra DB9 Xi 4WD

1996 Honda Integra DB9 Xi
Image Credit: jdmvipdotcom/Youtube.

Lost amidst the love of the Integra Type R, the DB9 4WD came in during the third generation of the Integra. It marked the first time a four-wheel drive option was available, and you could only select it on the four-door, ZXi4WD, and Xi4WD. Under the hood was a 1.6-liter SOHC ZC engine, with four-wheel drive provided by Honda’s Real Time 4WD.

Henry Kelsall

Author: Henry Kelsall

Title: Writer

Bio:

Henry has freelanced for over eight years now, mostly in automotive matters, but he has also dabbled in other forms of writing too. He has a lot of love for Japanese classics and American muscle cars, in particular the Honda NSX and first-generation Ford Mustang. When not writing, Henry is often found at classic car events or watching motorsports at home, but he also has a curious passion for steam trains.

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