Honda Put Mini Bikes in Cars in the 1960s, Way Before the Motocompo
Pre-Rad but just as great.
The Honda Motocompo was one of the greatest accessories you could buy from a Japanese automaker in the 1980s. The tiny, foldable motorcycle served as the transportation for the last mile of inner-city commuting and neatly folded into the trunk of the adorable Honda City.
Despite the Motocompo being the most popular iteration of the in-car motorcycle, it was far from the first. As it turns out, Honda had been stuffing tiny motorized bikes into cars for two decades prior to the Motocompo's release, all the way back to the introduction of its first sports car.
Before the Motocompo was Honda's tiny Z-Series minibike. It didn't fold and it wasn't square, but it was meant to solve the same short-distance commuting problem and still ended up in the back of a car for transport.
When the Z-Series was introduced, Honda was just preparing one of its first production cars: the S600. Keep in mind that Honda was predominantly a motorcycle company up until the early '60s; the S600 was Honda's rush to beat the Japanese government's attempt to create a barrier of entry for new car companies. There was a ton of technology in the S600 carried over from Honda's motorcycle arm, too. We recommend reading this post about a YouTuber's S600 restoration project to learn more about the car's motorcycle-inspired underpinnings.
The "Monkey bike," as it was affectionately called, happened to fit nice and neatly in the rear of the S600 coupe—the roadster didn't get the same luxury given the folding top. For what it's worth, Honda built just under 8,800 examples of the S600 from 1964 until 1966, and of those, less than 20 percent were coupes.
As demonstrated in the video below, owners could simply pick up the small minibike and slide it in through the rear hatch. It made the perfect two-wheeled companion vehicle for just about any last-mile circumstance, or even at the golf course, apparently, in which case the golf clubs rode shotgun.
Today, vehicles have grown larger and portables more compact. The urban mobility trend never really went away, but it's also yet to really catch on in the United States. Between the low-volume production, lack of U.S. sales, and pure silliness of riding around on a novelty bike, it's unlikely that you'll find this combo for sale anywhere—except maybe on Bring a Trailer.
Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: Rob@thedrive.com