Honda follows the restoration of the first car it sold in the U.S.

It’s always nice to see a car company recognize its heritage, and that’s easy to do when said heritage includes iconic muscle cars, or a distinguished racing pedigree. The 1969 Honda N600, the first Honda car sold in the U.S., isn’t the sexiest piece of automotive history, but it’s important nonetheless.

The N600 helped launch the shift that saw small Japanese cars successfully challenge the hegemony of gas guzzlers from the Big Three. And now the first of those cars to hit U.S. shores is getting a restoration, which Honda will document in an online video series called Serial One.

The car in question is one of just 50 N600s imported to the U.S. during the car’s first year on sale here. It’s now in the hands of Tim Mings, who describes himself as the world’s only full-time Honda N600 mechanic. He’s restored over 1,000 of the cars in his Los Angeles-area shop, and he bought this particular car sight unseen some time ago. At the time, he didn’t realize he’d purchased the first U.S. N600.

The flood of Civics, CR-Vs, and Accords on U.S. roads today makes it hard to imagine a time when Honda wasn’t an automotive powerhouse. But in 1969, the company was only known for making small motorcycles, and its first U.S.-market car focused on efficiency at a time when consumers seemed to only care about style and performance. This was the height of the muscle car era, and the N600 was decidedly un-muscular.

It had a 598-cc two-cylinder engine and a top speed of just 81 mph. Granted, the engine was pretty advanced for the time, featuring all-alloy construction and the ability to rev to 9,000 rpm. And the N600 put Honda in a good position for the 1970s, when oil crises and new environmental legislation suddenly made fuel economy more important to consumers and other manufacturers.

So while it won’t attract as much attention as, say,  a restored ’69 Camaro, the first Honda N600 definitely deserves some TLC. Honda expects the restoration to take 12 to 18 months, and will release videos documenting its progress. Stay tuned to see this pile of junk turn back into a working automobile.

Cars

Forget turrets. Hummer could fight its next war in the electric SUV segment

General Motors is considering resurrecting the Hummer brand it axed in 2010 to make electric off-roaders. The plan hasn't been approved yet, and it risks alienating some die-hard Hummer fans, but it makes sense on several levels.
Cars

Fisker wants to make sure Tesla’s Model Y isn’t in a class of one when it lands

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.
Cars

Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at E3 that the infotainment screens will support YouTube video streaming very soon. This most likely lines up with the latest software update that is expected later this year.
Gaming

The PlayStation Network is back up. Here’s the latest on the PSN outage

Sony's PlayStation Network is back online after going down for several hours on Thursday afternoon, annoying legions of gamers right in the middle of E3. Here's the latest on the outage
Cars

Florida allows autonomous cars to drive on its roads without human supervision

Florida governor Ron DeSantis passed a law that establishes a legal framework for self-driving cars to operate within the state. It allows car and tech companies to test self-driving cars without a human operator behind the wheel.
Cars

New Toyota tech will automatically shut off engines, apply parking brakes

Toyota is launching two new safety features for the 2020 model year. One will automatically shut off a car's engine when stationary, and the other will automatically shift into park and apply the parking brake to prevent rollaways.
Cars

It’s not easy being green. Why EVs have a long road to replace gas vehicles

Electric vehicles are all the rage right now, but are they really better than your average gas-powered car? We take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of the technology, and whether or not they're ready for mass adoption.
Cars

Aston Martin will put its Valkyrie hybrid hypercar to the ultimate test

The Aston Martin Valkyrie will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021. Aston Martin is taking advantage of new rules that encourage automakers to bring their fastest hypercars to the legendary French race.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.
Outdoors

The best smart helmets are full of cool tech, and totally worth the messy hair

Helmets might be a haircut's worst nightmare, but they're constantly evolving, and have undergone a 21st-century makeover. No matter your sport, here are the best smart helmets currently on the market.
Cars

Kia draws inspiration from Greek mythology to create a crossover for millennials

Kia will expand its global portfolio of crossovers and SUVs when it unveils a model named Seltos on June 20, 2019. Developed for milennials, the Seltos is a small, high-tech model named after the son of Hercules.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Don’t let the SUV bodies fool you, BMW’s X3 M and X4 M are bona fide M cars

BMW is launching the first M versions of its X3 and X4. The 2020 X3 M and X4 M Competition pack a new 503-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-six and BMW’s usual array of performance tech.
Cars

After years of Le Mans misfortune, Toyota becomes impossible to beat

Toyota scored a one-two finish at the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans, its second win a row at the legendary French race. Toyota is the first Japanese automaker to win Le Mans twice, but its wins came without any real competition.