The Honda Scamp changed a lot of pre-conceived ideas about mini cars with mini engines – the concept of which had become a little maligned by the likes of the Glas Goggomobil
and Lightburn Zeta
Using a transverse mounted, overhead cam, light alloy, air cooled two cylinder engine, the Scamp 360 equaled the acceleration of mini cars with bigger engines, making the Scamp quite a performer (and a tough, durable performer, too).
Honda engineers developed the Scamp from research, testing the engine in tough Grand Prix racing, with marked success and proved the engine a winner.
They also subjected the gearbox and suspension to the rigors of racing so that the whole unit was plenty tough.
Honda didn’t forget the interior, either. The Scamp's heating and ventilation system was highly sophisticated; there were air inlets on either side near the doors, while a separate (and highly efficient) heating system operated from the engine's ducting.
Fan driven, the heated air was extracted through a grille on the rear parcel tray, which forced the air to demist the rear window as well - this at a time long before rear-demisters were the norm.
The Scamp's luggage compartment was not very big, but with two people on board, the rear seat folded down to give added carrying space. There was a glove compartment up front, map pockets in the doors and bins beside the rear seat.
The steering wheel was placed at a more traditional angle and, surprisingly for such a cheap and cheerful car, the seats were very comfortable.
The biggest criticism of the driving position was in the use of offset pedals, however many owners claimed to have become used to them in a very short time.
There may not have been many instruments to speak of (speedometer and fuel gauge), but they were well placed and easy to read, being sited directly in front of the driver.
The Scamp was a great "city" car. It was quick, easy to manoeuvre, economical, and comfortable. It also managed to perform quite well on long drives for those game enough to take them onto the highway.
Honda Scamp N360 Engine:
The Honda Scamps N360 engine was a two cylinder air cooled OHC 4 stroke 354cc engine, with a compression ratio of 8.6:1. It developed 31 bhp at 8,000 rpm, and 24 ft. lbs torque at 5,500 rpm. The manual transmission featured 4 forward gears, both engine and gearbox forming one complete unit being fitted transversely. The Scamp could reach a 70 mph and do the standing quarter mile in 22 seconds.