Sunday, March 24, 2013

True Tales - 1st car 1969 Honda

"1st car, 1969 Honda" by Steve Wander

Being brought up in a working class home, where I was making minimum wage $3.35 an hour while my dad was making about 10, I quickly found the value of a dollar. Any time I could save one or make one, I did. My first car became reality about 5 weeks into my drivers license. I had saved up about $150 and was really getting tired of riding my bike 3 miles to school (one way) every morning and then riding that same bike to work the closing shift at the local Wiener World.

I saw an add for a 1969 Honda AN600 coupe. I had never seen this model but the price was right, $200. I quickly had my dad drive me down to the beach community where the car lived. We turned the corner and saw the smallest car I had ever seen, It was like a Morris Mini, but about 10 inches skinnier. I curiously looked it over and declared that I would probably fit in it with a small passenger, but that was about it. It did have a back seat, but the driver seat was adjusted back so it was touching the rear seat bun. 

I talked to the owner and asked the normal questions, "Does it run? Does it stop? Ill take it...." I told the elderly gentleman that I had $150 for a down payment and I could muster the other 50 in about a week. He looked me up and down and finding me of sound body and mind, told me to take the car home tonight and just return with the $50 when I could. I was very happy and hopped in the car and anxiously started it up.

The starter was a button that you pushed with the car in "run" obviously added after the ignition went back east, far east. It kicked over after a slight drum roll of the electric fuel pump that was mounted to the radiator support when I passed the "on" position of the ignition. It sounded a little like a lawnmower and later I found out why. Seems the exhaust header pipe was cracked big time under the heater hot air exchanger (ala VW) and raw exhaust was permeating the interior. 

I was getting a little light headed and the interior stunk so I rolled down a window and got her and myself home safely. I took the header pipe off and had it welded up (no spares for these cars after only 16 years on the road, even from Honda) and the exhaust mellowed to a nice 4 stroke motorcycle motor. After all that is all it was, a 2 cylinder 4 stroke wasted spark ignition 600 cc 30HP motor.

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