Lesser known but no less fascinating cars - Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon

Jan 14, 2018,12:18 PM

In terms of automotive eye candy internet is a den of temptation. Being subscribed to some feeds to help me get out of the firm conviction that modern cars are largely commodity goods, I occasionally come across a vehicle I do not know but very much like. 

The most recent find has been this Carrozzeria Watanabe Griffon. The 60s brought a motorsport craze to Japan and as we are talking a pre-globalisation world, a domestic industry sprung up to cater to the desire for more speed. 

One of these was Masao Watanabe, who was something of a wizard for setting up Formula 3 cars. Later on he turned to building his own road / race cars (1970 to 1984), after which the company continued as an alloy wheel / rim manufacturer (still alive it seems). 

The first road car was the Honda S600 based Flying Pegasus (one piece produced), which later got renamed into Griffon for the serial production. Where I use the term serial loosely, as under 10 were made in total. 

Picture from: Automobiles-Japonaises

The S600 powertrain - a 606cc I4 cylinder - delivered all of 57bhp at a heady 8500rpm. But the better aerodynamics made the Griffon some 20kmh faster than the stock S600, so it cracked 160kmh. 

Picture from: Automobiles-Japonaises

While hardly a supercar by modern standards the exoticism and the looks truly appeal to me irrespective. Getting to drive one, well I guess the chances of accumulating 10 Philippe Dufour watches are higher wink

Thanks for reading!

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Glad you enjoyed it, 5980!

 By: KMII : January 14th, 2018-14:50
Definitely share the curiosity of finding the odd tidbit in the automotive world 🌎

Like a cleaner designed Saab Sonnet III

 By: Wojo : January 14th, 2018-16:27
Great looking little coupe, with a jem of a power plant. This must be a hoot to flog through the gears, all while hitting the high redline. Best regards, Wojo

Thanks Wojo!

 By: KMII : January 14th, 2018-22:10
Did not think of the Sonnet but you are very right! Luckily the Honda powerplant should easily withstand such high rev fun