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Thread: Honda 1300 1969-1973

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    Honda 1300 1969-1973

    The Honda 1300 was an automobile produced by Honda from 1969-1973. The largest car ever manufactured by Honda to that point, the 1300 was a front wheel drive car released as a sedan and coupe, primarily intended to compete against Japanese automotive stalwarts such as the Toyota Corona and the Nissan Bluebird. An ambitious project spearheaded by Soichiro Honda, engineering delays and a high price against its competition hampered its success. However, lessons learned from the 1300 project would lead to the success of the Civic released in 1972, and the successor of the 1300 released in 1976, the Honda Accord.

    During development, changes were made multiple times, sometimes on a daily basis, which hampered efforts in production. Mr. Honda was adamant that the engine needed to be air-cooled instead of water, claiming that "since water-cooled engines eventually use air to cool the water, we can implement air cooling from the very beginning."

    In May 1969 final specifications and prices? for the Japanese market were announced. There were originally two engine versions, being the "Series 77" with a single carburetor 100 PS (74 kW) engine and the "Series 99" with a four carburetor 115 PS (85 kW) unit: the less powerful car was listed with four levels of trim offered, of which the top three were also available with the four carburetor engine. The manufacturer's ex-works prices ranged from 488,000 for the entry level "Series 77" standard saloon to 710,000 for the "Series 99" Custom saloon. Automatic transmission and air-conditioning were optional. Six of the seven versions offered were priced comfortably above the Toyota Corolla 4-door deluxe, then retailing at 520,000: for this price Toyota included delivery to the Tokyo area.

    The car had been introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1968, but production only got under way during the early months of 1969. In May 1969 the Honda 1300 went on sale in Japan. It was reported at the time that launch was delayed by a couple of months because company president Soichiro Honda found the styling of the car as presented at the Tokyo Motor Show the previous year unacceptably bland and called for a redesign. It was not lost on contemporary commentators that Honda himself at the time owned and frequently drove a Pontiac Firebird, and the split air intakes on the front of the Honda 1300 as it came to market suggest that Honda design personnel were also aware of the boss's fondness for his Pontiac.

    Despite enthusiastic imprecations from Honda's US dealers the Honda 1300 was not sold in the USA. Nor is there evidence of any sustained effort to sell it into Europe. Surviving examples appear mostly to be located in countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. In European terms, the car's engine size and dimensions would have placed it in the competitive sector of small 1300 cc family sedans, although its 57-inch (1,400 mm) width, reported to have been selected in order to qualify for the lower tax class on the domestic (Japanese) market, was significantly below the European standard represented by cars such as the Ford Escort of the time.

    The engine

    The engine was SOHC air-cooled, with a fan attached to the flywheel to pull cool air through the engine block, labeled DDAC, or Duo Dyna Air Cooling. This warm air, and additional hot air from around the exhaust manifold, was then used to heat the passenger compartment, a novel approach which was not commonly used afterward. Hideo Sugiura, then the head of the R&D Center, looked back upon the sentiment of the time:

    "We had a powerful company founder, Mr. Honda, who was on top of the engineering operation. He also had expertise, which he had acquired through a string of enormous successes. Having such a leader, the sentiment in the company was that we had to see it all the way through, regardless of where the road might take us. There was to be no surrender. We could not give up halfway."

    "Streamlining the bulky construction of the air-cooled engine, and giving it the quietness of a water-cooled engine, will create the ideal power plant...." With that concept in mind, the research engineers worked tirelessly to achieve their ideal. It was from this grueling process of trial and error that the DDAC integrated dual air-cooled engine was achieved. The initial prototype was completed in July 1968, after which dynamic performance testing, temperature measurements and other basic evaluations were conducted.

    In a departure from the previous Honda practice of using roller bearings on the crankshaft, the 1300 engine had more conventional plain bearings. Two versions of the engine were available. The engine fitted to the 77 sedan and Coupe 7 had a single Keihin carburetor and developed 100 PS (74 kW), while the engine that powered the 99 sedan and Coupe 9 was equipped with four Keihin carburetor and developed 115 PS (85 kW) at 7,300 rpm.

    Initial skepticism was expressed among competitor manufacturers and in the trade press concerning Honda's power output claims for the car, but those who drove it reported an engine that would freely rev to an indicated 8,000 rpm and remarkable performance for a 1,300 cc engined car: the factory figure at launch for a standing quarter-mile acceleration test of 17.2 seconds was felt to be not unreasonable. The engine was a dry-sump design with a pressurized oil system feeding from a tank. An electrical fuel pump was another high-tech novelty which would eventually be common. The electrical system was another matter it had a separate redundant set of wiring on each side of the car.

    The high-revving character and dry-sump oil system both meant that the 1300s engine should be a natural for racing, and soon the RSC (Racing Service Club, Honda's competition department) built the mid-engined, tubular framed Honda R1300. Next, in the 1969 Japan GP the similar Can-Am style Carman-Apache made its racing debut, with a Honda 1300 engine tuned to 135 PS (at 7,000 rpm) mounted transversally in the middle. Weight was a mere 490 kg. The car only made 29 laps (out of 120) before retiring, but continued to race with some modest success through the next year.

    Source: wikipedia.org
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    Honda 1300 #2
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