The Honda Z holds a place of importance in the history of the Honda Motor Company as it was the vehicle that helped to transition Honda sales in America out of motorcycle dealerships and into the first wave of Honda car dealers.
Honda produced just under 41,000 units from 1970 to 1972, breaking down the Honda Z model into the Z600 and the Z360. The numbers represented the size of the engine in each model with the Z600 have a 598 cc engine, and the Z360 offering a 354 cc engine. The Z600 was sold primarily in the United States and Europe, while the Z360 was popular in Australia and Japan.
The smaller size of the Honda Z did not lend it to being a practical family sedan, which was the prevailing need for consumers in the United States and Europe. In 1972, Honda introduced the Civic to American consumers and the Z600 disappeared from American dealerships. By 1974, the Honda Z line was completely replaced by the Civic throughout the world.
In 1998, Honda decided to release a new version of the Honda Z as a subcompact with a 656 cc engine. The new Honda Z was only sold in Japan, but it contained a couple of features that made it a very interesting vehicle. Because the new Honda Z was manufactured in the same plant that made light pickup trucks, the Z was given a 4WD transmission. The new Z was also the first Honda vehicle to offer body-color bumpers, which was a feature that would eventually become standard on all Z Turbo models.
In 2002, there was a wave of new emission laws that required Honda to make considerable design changes to the Z. Rather than invest time and money in making the necessary modifications, Honda simply discontinued the Honda Z line at the end of the 2002 model year.