This Bizarre Honda Pickup Truck Is No Ridgeline
Honda is one of the most recognizable carmakers in the world. That said, when most people think of Honda, they picture a number of small, economical sedans and hatchbacks that are affordable and reliable. For enthusiasts, Honda represents one of the most tuner-friendly carmakers, with several hot little sports cars throughout the company’s time. However, very few people think of pickup trucks when they see the boxed-in “H.” The rarest and most bizarre vehicle Honda ever made was a pickup truck, and we aren’t talking about the Honda Ridgeline.
Does Honda make pickup trucks?
Honda is most known for the Honda Civic and Accord. These two sedans have come in various iterations over the years. They are so successful, in fact, that most people don’t even realize that Honda also makes pickup trucks, minivans, and SUVs. The Honda Ridgeline is the brand’s only mainstream pickup truck, but Honda had another pickup truck that was all but forgotten.
That’s right. Long before the Honda Ridgeline was the weird, funky, strange, oddly-proportioned little Honda Vamos. If this model is unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. You aren’t alone. Honda only made 2,500 Honda Vamos between 1970-1973.
The other reason you may not have heard of the Honda Vamos is that it’s really weird. Aside from only ever making 2,500, Honda made such a strange little truck that most of the very few people who ever bought them couldn’t hardly figure out what to do with the little thing.
What is the Honda Vamos?
According to Silodrome, the Honda Vamos fell into the “Kei Truck” category meant to fill the niche gap that the Mini Moke filled in England and the VW Thing filled in the States. Notably, in Japan, the Kei Class is a specific section of the car market designed small and cheap. As outlined by the government, Kei cars and trucks must adhere to restrictions in size and engine power, but taxes on the vehicles would be far lower.
The Honda Vamos sits on the Honda TN360 platform – a common Kei truck platform used for mostly commercial and agricultural applications. The Vamos used a middle-mounted air-cooled, twin-cylinder 354cc engine with a single overhead camshaft and two valves per cylinder. It’s noted that Honda adapted this engine from one of Honda’s most popular machines, the Honda CB450 motorcycle.
This tray-back pickup truck only made 30 hp. A 4-speed manual transmission sends all that power to the rear wheels. Crudely stamped from steel, the body offered passengers no fixed roof or doors. There was a cloth top options for a roof and hollow steel bars that could latch in lieu of doors. Despite its extremely petite engine, some say drivers often refer to these weird pickup trucks as “spritely” because they only weigh 1,146 lbs.
How much is a Honda Vamos worth?
Japanese cars and trucks are often collectible. These extremely rare little Kei trucks are all the more collectible since many of the original 2,500 examples didn’t survive their cheap construction. Many succumbed to rust over the years.
This one is currently listed for sale by TVP Classics out of Belgium for €17,500. This is likely one of only very few on the continent.