June 5 marks the 55th anniversary of the Honda S360, Honda’s first sports car.

A cursory glance at the Honda S360, S500, S600, S800, and S2000 and it’s easy to see how Honda’s design language with roadsters has stayed intact since its inception 55 years ago. But as far as nomenclature go, we know where the number in its name comes from (the engine’s displacement) but how about that S? Although it’s not common knowledge, according to Honda, the S stands for Sports or more precisely Honda Sports.

The 11th National Honda Meeting General Assembly was held on June 5, 1962, at the soon-to-be-completed Suzuka Circuit. Product displays and test drives were also carried out on that date, with the S360 Honda Sports taking to the track with Mr. Honda behind the wheel.

Following the Honda S360 was the Honda S500. With a larger engine and with serious production numbers, it was Honda’s second production car. But with only 1,363 units produced, the S500 was not the car that cemented Honda as a true sports car manufacturer.

Launched in 1964, The Honda S600 really put Honda on the map with over 11,284 convertibles and 1,800 coupes sold making the S600 Honda’s first mass-marketed car.

The Honda S800 followed in the footsteps of the S600 with a slightly larger high revving engine that enabled this Honda sports car to crest 100 MPH.

It would be 33 years later until Honda resurrected the S lineup with the Honda S2000. In celebration of 50 years of Honda Motoring, the S2000 carried on where the roadsters of the 1960’s left off. After a 13 year run, the S2000 ended production in 2011 with over 110 thousand units sold worldwide.

It’s no surprise that Honda fans have been clamoring for a true Honda S2000 successor. Honda recently released their S660 small Kei Car in Japan, but with a mid-engine layout, it was a successor to the Honda Beat more than anything.

This hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from turning however with rumors of a more powerful engine being stuffed in the S660 for use in North American markets, but no official word has been given from Honda.

So there you have it. If you ever wondered what the S stands for, now you know.


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