Who? Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
Where? Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with the best part of 500 subsidiaries and affiliates across the globe. The UK business is based in Slough.
What’s the story? Whilst roots date back to the 30s the first true Honda product hit the market in 1947, the A Type, a two-stroke motorised bicycle. Two years later the company debuted its first bona-fide motorcycle as the D Type – or Dream – which put it on the road to global domination. By 1977 Honda breached the 100 million sales barrier and today claims to be the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer.
Key Models? Too many to mention all but, without a doubt, the Super Cub is among those you can’t ignore. Produced continuously in various designs and capacities since 1958 and, with over 60 million now having been manufactured, it’s claimed to be the best selling motor vehicle in history. In 1974 the iconic Goldwing debuted with the GL1000, a bike that would quickly become all but synonymous with touring. Just five years later Honda joined the battle for superbike supremacy with the CBX1000, a genuine classic that can attract resale values several times that of its original £2k price tag. Step forward to the 90s and the CBR900RR – the Fireblade – which took the supersports sector by storm, leaving its largely Japanese opposition choking on its fumes for a good few years!
Anyone we know ride ‘em? Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling has been caught on camera, all tattooed and ripply muscled, astride a Honda Shadow, cruising the mean streets of….well where else but LA? Stephen Bowman of Brit winning classical boy band BLAKE and star of the motorcycle industry’s Get On campaign, swiftly graduated from his learner CBF125 to the more bracing CBR600RR.
Coolest customs? It may not be everyone’s cup of PG but Sam Jilbert’s hydrogen cell powered Cub concept is indisputably eye-catching. Equally opinion dividing is this NSR decked out as it is in Hello Kitty finery. A paw concept? More conventional, if you can say such a thing of customs, is this 1964 C200, restored, refreshed, cut, strimmed, stretched and souped up to make it capable of a tidy 80mph on the straight.
Turner’s Tales – (Paul Turner Carole Nash’s Repair Centre Manager), tells us his Honda memories. The late Lee Vernon was a great mate of mine that I knew for 10 years and worked with for 6 years. This is a great Honda memory with Lee Vernon, (probably Lee’s favourite bike of all times would have been his RS250 – 1999 model). Lee loved this bike so much that the first time I went round to see it, he had it in his living room, so there we were, Lee, his dad Rob and myself, sat on the sofa drinking a cup of tea just looking at this RS250, like kids looking at a stash of Easter eggs.
After about an hour of silence, Lee turned to me and said
“Do you want me to fire it up?”
“Of course, I said yeah!!!”…I remember Donna his step mum’s face walking into a cloud of two stroke smoke in her living room, priceless!!
When the season was over and the bikes were put away for the winter Lee would strip it down to the bare frame and put all the bits in his bedroom, wrapped up in duvets and towels to keep them safe.
And what about Insurance? If you’ve customised your Honda, don’t forget to talk to our motorcycle specialists about your insurance needs, call today on 1800 818 751 and we will find the right insurance package to suit you.