Honda 1300 Coupe Register — Road Tests

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This article published in 1969 is used with of Wheels Magazine in Australia.

This is a review of the original — see below for a 1300 review

HONDA 1300


Our Japanese Jock Yamoguchi gives a analysis of the brilliant Honda and his first driving impressions. At the 1300 will arrive in late 1969.

MR SOICHIRO order was indeed a tall He wanted a popularly priced, sedan powered by an aircooled engine, which combines dimensions of the average 1.5-litre sedan, performance of a modern engine and economy of a 1-litre ear. And its air-cooled engine maintain a noise level with a water-cooled four.

No of Mr Honda’s army of enthusiastic shrugged his shoulders or quietly to the new world, for the Honda Research and Centre immediately went high gear on the Project By October 1968, a fleet of cars was completed and shown to the

Although no press member was to drive the car, the engine of one car was fired up and revved to Valhalla. it didn’t break the tranquility of a garden of the former residence of a prince where the ear was shown endorse Mr Honda’s choice that our new car was far quieter than a well-known German rear-englned

In late February this Honda sent out a brief release informing that the announcement of the 1300 would be behind schedule. There was a in the release, however, advising if any press member should be in trying the existing prototype, he be welcome to visit their track near Tokyo.

As bus loads of eager motoring and journalists swarmed into the each could be allocated only one lap of the two kilometre course. I my name wasn’t Yamaguchi, and two extra laps. The six kilometre proved to me that the Honda was an exceptionally fast car for its engine and it was very, very quiet its cooling system by Mother

The prototype, however, displayed pronounced understeering characteristics and strong castor action. It was as if a green giant was hiding the steering gear, stubbornly to keep the car running in a straight

On April 15, the final production as well as prices were On the following day, the press was boarded on the famous Bullet which swiftly transported us to the of Nagoya, thence another ride to the home of Honda One car, the Suzuka Racing where we were let loose in 1300s.

The round eyed 99 of Honda’s 1300 is no

small with 115 ponies to prod its wheels.

Ingenious overhead cam is air-cooled — hence finning.

Four Keihin are the 99’s story.

Before into driving impressions of the a technical analysis of this piece of engineering must be Most obvious feature of the is its cooling system. Both the aluminium, alloy cylinder and block have integral cooling shrouds. The outer of the shroud is horizontally finned, and of the inner block is. vertically

The fins are shallow and sturdy to eliminate high frequency or ringing as they call it, is a major source of noise in an engine, A multi-blade cooling is mounted on, one end of the crankshaft, and turns at speed. The crankcase surface is extensively finned. Engine also plays an important in cooling effect.

The engine features dry sump by twin gear type and an aluminium tank which 7 pints of lubricant. The tank is finned and acts as an oil cooler. The block is of …-cast aluminium and cast iron liners are in.

Bore and … are 74 x 75.5 mm for a displacement of 1298 cc. The long helps to keep the engine and presents no problem in smooth in the designed rpm range. After the 1300 unit produces power at a modest 7200

The cylinder head is also of one …-cast aluminium, and features ports and hemispherical combustion A single overhead camshaft is by three plain bearings, and is by single-stage, single row Morse silent chain. It acts on two per cylinder disposed at a 56 degree via. rockers.

Valve are 37 and 33mm for intake and exhaust

The 1300 engine is the first car engine which does not a built-up, roller bearing crankshaft. The 1300 crank is in one piece and supported by five alloy plain bearings. It in two stages of tune: Series 77 is fitted with a modest 36 mm variable venturi sidedraught producing 100 hp at 7200 rpm (four horses than the prototype’s 96 hp) and out a maximum torque of 79.2 at 4500 rpm, and Series 99 performance version which four 36mm Keihins and out 115 hp at 7500 rpm and a maximum torque of lb-ft.

Dash of 77 is an exercise in ergonomics and simplicity.

Engine of 77 has one Keihin side draft for 100 bhp.


A conventional dry plate clutch of 180 mm diameter is on the nearside end of the engine. Power is by Morse Hivo silent (1 in. wide) to the Honda four-speed all gearbox. Primary reduction between the engine and the gearbox is and gearbox internal ratios are 2.0140, 1.3675 and 1.0000, to the final ratio of 3.5000:1.

ratios are wider spaced those of the prototype’s very box. Constant velocity are used on both ends of the shaft, and a sliding spline is at mid-length. Transmission has its own wet sump a trochoid pump.

The single 77 power unit including and lubricant tank weighs 179 kg.

tries 77 version of Honda on Suzuki circuit

Side of slower 77 version shows vents at rear

More 99 ‘S’ Version


The body shell is an all-steel integral unit, with a sub-frame for engine and suspension The production model is lengthened by 45 mm in the section to make the boot and also to relieve some of the look.

For the sleek shape had promised, we would have to until a sportier coupe is released in autumn. The front is by MacPherson struts and wide-based arms. Rear suspension is interesting feature of the 1300.

welded tubular arms almost the full width of the One end of the arm is pivoted at the outer edge of the and the rear wheel is mounted on the end, so it is a swing axle with geometry similar to obtained with many semi-trailing layouts. Conventional springs are used.

A clever floating joint is to locate the axle on the semi-elliptic, so no torsional load is exerted on the De Carbon type shock are used on all four corners, in compressed nitrogen gas is sealed.

are Girling disc brakes at the and leading-trailing shoe drums at the Vacuum servo assistance and limiting valve are standard on the 1300, except the basic which comes sans servo.

Steering is by rack and system with a gear of 19.6:1. Two Joints are incorporated in the linkage, which collapse on Tyres are now Otsu ultra low cross-ply 6.20S-13 on 4J rims.

may be specified on the faster 99 model.

The measures 12 ft 8.9 in. long on an 88.6 in. 4 ft 9 in. wide with 59.0/48.0in. and 4ft 5 in. tall. So it is about the size of the VW It has gained some 220 lb over the and the 77 De Luxe now scales 17.4 cwt

HOW IS THE 1300?

Everyone present at the jaunt at the Research and Development test track was impressed by the straight line performance of the Honda claimed a top speed of 110 mph and a quarter mile time of sec. We all felt the prototype was capable of achieving these

The production 77 gained 4 hp over the but also put on some extra It also comes with a with wider spaced Although Honda did not take any in allowing those mad journalists to step on the gas pedal (a stop at the station in the middle of Suzuka’s straight was mandatory) in the wet, I saw 140 kph (90 on the back stretch and the engine was quite strongly.

And it was no noisier a comparable watercooled four. It up smoothly without fuss and The gearbox was one of the best found in cars with strong action and really usable ratios.

When called third would take it to 75 mph.

Handling of the production was far better than I had anticipated. was that strong self-centring though understeering was still Steering ratio was lowered the proto’s 17.6:1 (3.2 lock to lock) to 19.6:1 calls for four turns of the woodrim wheel.

It was fairly even in tight manoeuvring. proved to be up to the performance of this hot Pedal pressure was reasonable and the were progressive in action.

We the body shell of the Honda was quite acceptable in dimensions. But may think it was a bit on the smaller size, for a car with four doors. The was quite well appointed. controls were in the right and front seats held well, indicating Honda did engineering staff who liked to And one of the faster Honda men is undoubtedly the Old Man

I witnessed Mr Honda doing a violent manoeuvre snaking at high speed. And the 1300 seem to mind its Master’s handling.

The Honda 1300 is un-Japanese in performance and handling, and is equal to the best of European cars, I had a firm personal that I wouldn’t need a transport which was dearer half a million Yen (approx but I have since raised the by $A180. Yes, I am now eagerly the delivery of my personal Honda

Luxury — sporting for 99 interior — console and wheel.

Back to the top This published in March 1971 is with permission of Wheels in Australia.


Click here to downlaod a PDF

THE NICEST thing about the Honda 1300 Coupe is you’d never know it was wheel drive unless peeped under the bonnet

One driver — one of the most men in the Australian motor industry took the car for a quick squirt a test circuit. He was screwing it some devilish bends we casually remarked: Handles doesn’t it- especially for an fwd machine.

He was In fact, he didn’t really us until he’d whipped the bonnet and saw, yes, a little four-pot sitting east-west. And air-cooled to boot.

He the first, and certainly won’t be the to be surprised by this superb and Japanese Coupe.

Right the word go with the 1300 Mr thumbed his nose at convention. He principles that had been and rejected by other manufacturers. that they would Mr Honda just nodded and worked on relentlessly to prove his

He has certainly done that. The uses front wheel with spectacular success, air with efficiency that even the best water-cooled and other advanced techniques many others shy away

There are two models of the 1300 on sale in Australia: the 9 and its baby the 7.

The cars are identical in body and specification and share the 1300 capacity. But the 9 has 9.3 to 1 compression instead of the 9.0 to 1, timing set 10 degrees earlier. and of those delightful little carbies, instead of the 7’s Thus the 9 has 116 bhp at 7300 rpm and the 7 100 bhp at 7000

Bennett-Honda, the NSW distributors, invited us to exclusive first drive of a 9 before the Coupes were here.

We drove it into the after it had been immaculately by Brian Vinson at Bennett-Honda’s showroom and our first impression, the one was to remain dominant throughout the was its stunning lack of fwd characteristics. of course, warranted investigation:

The mill is mounted firmly to a sub-frame that in turn up extremely firmly to the car’s There is an extension of the sub-frame rearward, not only to house the control gear shift, but to extra rigidity. The motor/sub-frame is well-located just slightly in of the wheels.

The suspension itself is simple: Front A-arms to the sub-frame and McPherson struts. At the Honda has used (brilliantly, a system unique to road Each rear wheel is on a axle that pivots on the side of the chassis, and is therefore as long as the track is wide.

The are sprung and located longitudinally by with a floating connection to the leaves twisting as the axle and falls. The advantages of this include much lower centres, reduced camber and less susceptibility to undesirable effects than with swing axles. These cross beams are only elsewhere on the U2 sports-racers and at the front of F-100/250/350 series commercials.

We tested the Honda on the greatest of roads we could find and we say suspension is one of the best-sorted of any car, of size or configuration.

As our friend the Coupe tears into flat and just a shade on the side of neutrally. It feels a very well set-up rear-drive car. It is so well set up pouring on the power at the apex of tight bends brings the in tighter, just as rear-drive — and that is not an fwd characteristic at

Backing off in a tight bend only a very mild and transition to oversteer.

Our lovely model Yvonne loved the she was impressed by the comfort, control and superb attention to detail, in the boot. Rob Luck shot pictures of her and the Coupe 9 in Sydney’s Expressway tunnel.

Pounding dirt, we found the Honda ready to travel much than we would have comfortable for such a small Despite shocking surfaces, it moved off line, and when it only minute correction was to bring it immediately back it should be. The ride was so smooth and over bad dirt that I was to write road test with ease.

At one stage I that you heard the bumps than felt them; the passengers were carried and comfortably in their seats, the impression that somewhere was a real suspension deftly with whatever came

But the 9’s ride is not without It is far too pitchy on rough bitumen, a of the short wheelbase.

Honda CB1300 Prototype

We also when we later drove a 7 for that its suspension is set considerably than the 9. For town use, the ride is more comfortable the pokier car, but it does not corners or dirt nearly as It shows definite fwd traits hard pushed.

With the little motor, Honda has once and for all that it has overcome all the previously associated with

The engineers devised a system Duo Dyna Air Cooling. The head and have airways — just like the water of liquid-cooled engines — are cast with short, vertical fins. A multi-bladed mounted directly to one end of the crankshaft air through the passages, providing the cooling.

It is assisted by more on the exterior of the motor.

Because has made the fins thick and they do not ring with vibrations — a major with previous air-cooled So the motor is in fact far quieter many small water-cooled

The lubrication system — and its dry sump — also the cooling. There are two oil pumps: one the oil from the dry sump tank high up inside the right-hand to the motor, and the other pumping it from the crankcase to the tank. The like the rest of the engine, has the cooling fins.

The 1298 cc with its OHC hemispherical-chamber, cross-flow is all alloy, considerably reducing This is a major reason the car is so balanced.

The four Keihin carbies have just one air and are carted slightly on their manifolds. At the other side of the there’s a beautifully cast that flows down in of the engine into two pipes, one.

Four Keihin carbies the 116 bhp engine of the Coupe 9 for mid-17 and 116 mph performance. Motor is finned and out.

The engine’s performance is it knocks out 116 bhp (88 bhp per litre!) and 75.9 of torque.

As we pointed out in our Just column last month, the that the 116 bhp is developed at 7300 rpm many sceptical eyebrows. But look a long way to find a that is smoother, less and more willing than one.

Second gear pull strongly from as low as rpm and wind out to its maximum 54 very Third and top performance is just as letting the driver potter to 1000 rpm if he likes. There’s no of complaint from the motor, smooth, silent power.

And the motor/gearbox/remote control is so well-mounted, is absolutely no vibration as the little lugs away from rpm.

On the open road we the engine along in the 5000-7500 rev in third and top to clock incredibly times over one of our test Third gear runs out to 79 so it is spot-on for overtaking and fast Once again, the motor’s and quietness are impressive as you back line up the bend and squeeze on the going through.

One of our drivers as we wound out of yet another bend: not raw power like say a V8 or a hot six — smooth pull that the whole process so damned

At the Hardie-Ferodo strip we found the pulled 17.9 second miles and hit 80 in a brilliant 20.8 The 0-60 figure was 11.7.

we didn’t have enough to record a top speed: the most we saw was 108 mph on the for a genuine 100 mph. We were that up a hill and it was no trouble for the in fact it was winding out with gusto, so we have no hesitation in Honda’s claim of a genuine 116 mph at rpm should be accurate.

Over the we returned 24.5 mpg. You expect 30 mpg or more with driving.

The brakes are just as as the performance: they drag the car from 60 mph in a very, very 3 seconds.

But I wasn’t happy their pedal feel the touring tests:’the rest of the scene is so good that you to expect an extremely high and despite power boosting the need a decent shove. also not as progressive as I’d to complete an otherwise fabulous set-up for the driver.

All controls are within drivers’ reach, simple and unobstructed. Location of flasher (presstip of indicator blends perfectly with for efficient highway/multi-lane traffic

The steering wheel is mounted high, but you adapt to it instantly for a good all-round position. The rpm red-lined tacho, speedo and gauge are straight in front of with oil and amp gauges to the left, in a of the dash board that around towards the driver. The end curls back towards him giving an aircraft-like effect and the entire gauge/control layout the best of any car.

With scrupulous attention to detail, the alone is a significant contribution to relaxation, and thereby, safety.

The pedals are well-placed, but perhaps be a little further forward for comfort, although in typical fashion the important toe-and-heel is wonderful.

Left — The and right hand ends of the cluster slope back driver for maximum efficiency. degree of wrap-around from below dash.

Right Mr Honda excelled himself thoughtful points like clip-in, clip-out fuses. them into your for instant anti-theft device.

The will nestle too closely to the leg for some drivers, but we like it way. Your hand automatically on to it. The box itself is good, for quick changes into gear.

The syncro there is and if you whip the change through it crunches nastily.

We also that our car became terribly in Sydney’s 85 degree humidity though it had through-flow ventilation and windows. There’s no power for the through-flow, so you cook when slowly in city traffic.

The of a blower presents another when it comes to demisting: you use heat, and this is uncomfortable in like ours where the may be badly fogged during rain, but the temperature is still 70 or 80 Certainly it clears the screen in time (the air is simply from the engine’s turbo so it hits the screen with but who wants to roast in the process?

the Honda’s styling is a matter of taste, and very much its finish is unquestionably good.

All and bolts in the car are tightened to correct it is proof-coated throughout (this helps excellent sound and the trim and paint work are

We were able to run the Honda a very tough water in which it was doused from all by very high pressure jets. It did not leak one drop a feat which a top local executive says most cars cannot emulate.

says the car will carry adults comfortably in the rear. It might take two Australian in comfort, but any distance in the back necessitate a crash course in for an ….

Nonetheless, the seat is very comfortable, as are the front buckets.

The boot is quite but is spoiled by ridiculously small Jack clips neatly its own bracket Tools pack space on other side of

Bennett-Honda ambitiously intend to 1000 Coupes in the next — probably at the rate of 7s for every 9. We found the 9 a more car for drivers than the 7, because of its handling and performance. Even the 9 develops its power at higher rpm the 7 it is still smoother and more down low, and a lot more at the top end.

The 9 costs $3180 and the 7 — and that’s damned value in Japanese or Australian.

Honda CB1300 Prototype
Honda CB1300 Prototype
Honda CB1300 Prototype


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