In the 1960s, Japanese cars were seen as conservative, technically outdated and of low quality. This was fair criticism, given that the car industry in Japan only took off in the aftermath of the Second World War and was focused more on getting people back on their feet, rather than outright quality. The car that changed this perception though was the Honda S800.
By this time, Honda had established itself as a quality motorcycle manufacturer. As a logical progression for a firm which was driven by technical innovation, Honda made its first sports car, the S500 in 1962 – this was replaced by the S600 two years later in 1964. These cars were mainly for its home market and did not receive a lot of appreciation globally. The S800 however buckled this trend.