Honda has teased a couple of unusual race cars ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Auto Salon. Honda says it wanted to build competition machines with a "funny" theme. The idea can be explained as "silly ideas taken seriously," but something might be lost in the translation on Honda's website, which reassures us, "It's okay to be stupid. Why not try it for real?"
With that mission statement in place, Honda's first work is the e-Drag, a Honda e repurposed for drag racing. "Electric vehicles aren't just for being green and clean!" the site states. An accompanying illustration shows the Honda e with its two front wheels in the air, paired with rather large tires on the rear wheels. Presumably, a more powerful motor (possibly multiple motors?) than its stock 152-horsepower unit will have to be swapped in, along with stiffer suspension components.
According to a rendering, many of its body panels, including the roof and doors, will be constructed of carbon fiber. The hood, grille, front bumper and front fenders become a single-piece carbon fiber nosecone. Apparently, Honda intends to harness the power of an electric motor's instant torque to turn its city car into, perhaps, a literal funny car.
Next up is the K-Climb, a Honda N-One RS hill climb racer. The second generation of the retro kei car inspired by the 1967 Honda N360 was launched with a manual transmission in November, bolstering its enthusiast bona-fides. This one is less of a stretch, as Honda has been sponsoring a spec racing series featuring lightly modified N-Ones for several years.
The modifications are less extensive than the e-Drag's. A carbon-fiber hood and fender flares at each wheel help reduce weight while allowing for wider wheels. It's unknown whether there will be more upgrades under the hood.
Honda plans to actually enter these cars in racing events in March, so these aren't just flights of fancy. It's even letting fans vote on the color of the livery when they make their competition debuts.
It's refreshing to see a carmaker have a bit of fun with car show builds. In addition to the overlanding Fit and Airstream-inspired N-Box food truck, Honda's presentation should be one of the more interesting ones at the virtual Tokyo Auto Salon when it kicks off Jan. 15.