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Did you know that Honda successfully engineered its own air-cooled powered cars dubbed the Z360 and this progenitor to the Honda Accord, the Honda 1300?

Honda’s are known for their innovative engineering and proof of this was their early cars which, right from the get-go, took risks and didn’t play it safe to appeal to a discerning Japanese market. Earlier this week (Mar. 13, 2019) Japanese Car Spotter @Wasabicars_official shared a photo of a Honda most people have never seen before, the Honda 1300 Coupe 9, the progenitor of the modern day Honda Accord. Under the hood was an air-cooled inline-four cylinder which used a new technology called DDAC (or Duo Dyna Air Cooling) a unique double-walled cooling structure. Check out Wasabicar’s post below and a video from Honda’s collection showcasing this awesome piece of engineering.

First, the photo. This car spot is obviously from a parts yard and does not showcase what this car looks like in mint condition. The video above does a better job of that. Like the Accord not counting this current generation, there were two versions, a sedan and a coupe. The sedan had two variants, the regular 77 sedan and a 99 sedan. The same with the coupe, a Coupe 7 and Coupe 9. The later versions of either got the hotter engine.

The sedan and Coupe 7 had a single carb 1300 engine that made a decent 99 HP while the 99 sedan and Coupe 9 had a four-carb setup that made a generous 113 HP at a Honda-like 7,300 RPM. Honda engineers are on record quoting that 8,000 RPM is possible to reliably rev up to.

The piece de resistance of this car is Honda’s Duo Dyna Air Cooling system which used a fan attached to the flywheel which pulled cool air through the engine block via channels much like coolant flows through an engine, except replace the liquid with cool air. The now heated air can be further used to heat passenger when it’s cold.

Cooling aside, the engine was so good that when this car debuted at the 1970 Tokyo Motor Show, Mr. Eiji Toyota was in attendance, saw the engine stats, and flipped a b***h on his engineers. According to Honda’s heritage center

The story goes that he then called in his young engineers and dropped a bomb, shouting, “Honda’s car produces 100 horsepower with a 1300-cc engine. Why can’t we do the same thing?” This and other examples from the time evidence the high marks the H1300 received for its outstanding engineering.

Engine aside, the 1300, being one of the last Honda projects of Soichiro Honda himself had a personal hand in, is a competent handler. Up front are MacPherson struts and out back are suspension arms utilizing a rear swing axle design much like the Chevrolet Corvair except, a lot like the Ford’s Twin I-Beam rear suspension, the axles are much longer and connect on opposite sides eliminating unwanted camber changes associated with traditional swing axle suspension.

With a hint of oversteer when pushed, Australia’s Wheels magazine went on the record in 1971 saying, “The nicest thing about driving the Honda 1300 Coupe is that you’d never know it was front drive unless you peeped under the bonnet first.”

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The design language of the 1300 is simple, classic, and evokes power. The front grilles almost look like BMWs of the time and the four headlight design is a clean touch. Although the Coupe is clearly the sexier of the body styles, it’s the humble looks of the sedan that really appeal to me. Just like Accords today, these early sedans have an understated elegance that hides its engineering prowess underneath it all.

 

1300’s never sold all that well in Japan which discouraged Soichiro Honda into dumping more money exporting them worldwide. The Civic took off, became much more of a sucess and lessons learned from the 1300 transferred over to what we now know as the Accord. Honda admitted air-cooled really wasn’t the future and upgraded the 1300’s powerplant to a water cooled unit, changing the name of the 1300 to 145.

I’m so glad I’ve come across the 1300 and can’t wait to see one in real life.

What do you think about these early pre-Accords? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I manage the website http://www.honda-1300-coupe.com and I have a one owner Coupe 7 up here in British Columbia Canada. I bought the car in Adelaide, South Australia back in 1972 and had it shipped to Canada when I moved back to Canada in 1993. Truly a unique car for sure.

    If you are ever heading to BC let me know and you will get the opportunity to see one in person.

    • I’ll keep your offer to see one in mind, Thank you. Wonderful site, btw. I’ll have to geek out over that service manual and other uploads on my free time.

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