With values of their early vehicles soaring, savvy buyers will be "turning Japanese" at Shannons Melbourne Spring Classic auction on Monday where three iconic models will be offered - two with no reserve.

Honda's remarkable S600 sports coupe launched in March 1964 to coincide with its entry into Formula One, was the company's first sports car.

Based on Honda's first production car, the S500 of 1963, the S600 featured a 606cc four cylinder DOHC all-alloy engine with four carburettors derived from its motorcycle racing programme, with fully independent suspension. The final drive to the rear wheels was by enclosed chains

Enthusiasts raved about its switch-like gear-change, but above all that screamer of an engine, with its redline running all the way up to 11,000rpm that made it sound like a squadron of Ferraris.


Shannons have a well-maintained, very early two-owner S600 Coupe in Monday's sale that is said to have travelled only 1600km in the past seven years, mostly to Honda Club events.

As one of just 1800 of these unusual and highly collectible coupes produced, this timewarp Honda is expected to sell in the A$16,000 ($20,000) to A$22,000 range.

Another great Japanese car in the auction is a rare 1969 Datsun 2000 Sports being offered with no reserve.

Introduced in 1967, the Datsun 2000 Sports roadster was the last example of an open-topped Datsun sports car line that dated back to the Sports 1000 of 1959. With its OHC 2.0-litre four cylinder engine and new five-speed gearbox, it would easily outperform its main rival, the MGB, and with its good handling enjoyed considerable racetrack success in Australia.

The vehicle being auctioned has been in the hands of the present owner for 10 years, during which it has been used primarily as a weekend car.

Shannons say the 1969 model Datsun 2000 will require restoration to return it to its former glory, but at its anticipated selling price of A$5000 to A$8000 it represents an exciting opportunity for an enthusiast.

Shannons also have a well-cared-for, one lady owner from new 1970 Toyota Corolla KE11 offered, with no reserve, in Monday's auction.

This first-generation Australian-assembled two-door Corolla sedan runs the model's usual 1166cc engine and four-speed manual gearbox combination, however a new engine was fitted in the late 1980s.

It comes with its original books and receipts for repairs carried out over the years and, because of its originality, is expected to sell in the A$3000 to A$5000 range - about half what these early Corollas bring overseas.