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Honda started making cars

From motorcycle to car

Soichiro Honda was a remarkable person, and his life did not start with a gold spoon in his mouth. On the contrary, his father had a bicycle workshop where little Soichiro worked, and here his budding interest in machines was nurtured. In 1922, he apprenticed as a mechanic, and after 6 years and completed his education, he opened his own car workshop. In 1937 he started a company that manufactured piston rings. One of the customers was Toyota, and there were problems with the quality. But not only that, his small business was hit by other misfortunes, in the form of earthquakes and bomb attacks. One would think that all this was enough to discourage him from further attempts at self-employment. But no, this man was made of special stuff. He started a new company: Honda Technical Research Institute. In 1946, he began fitting engines he had bought from surplus stock onto ordinary bicycles. These small motorized bicycles were the infancy of Honda, a company that within a few years became a motor manufacturer on a scale that could hardly have been foreseen. From 1948, Honda produced its own 4-stroke engines for its small motorcycles.

Honda hit a golden streak by being able to quickly produce small, reliable motorcycles at a time when the need for a means of transportation was enormous.

Honda started making cars

After just 20 years (1958), Honda was the world's largest manufacturer of 2-wheeled vehicles. Honda didn't look back and started making cars.

The first step was a small van, which few took seriously, but at the same time Honda built its first Formula 1 car in 1964, which in turn had to be taken seriously, not least because of its 12-cylinder engine. He thus started somewhat in reverse as a car manufacturer. Soichiro was convinced that motorsport was the best way to convince and an important link in product development. Without race, again Honda.

The first small minicars from Honda featured a lot of motorcycle-inspired technology. The N600 and S800 models showed that Honda was on its way to becoming a serious car manufacturer. The latter was typical of Honda, a nice little sports coupe with a high-performance 4-cylinder engine.

Honda Civic - A milestone in Honda's history

In 1972 came the first Civic, and it was a car that was at least as good as anything that came from Europe. The car won great acclaim all over the world for its fine engineering and sporting qualities combined with practicality. A really nice and charming little car, and the motoring journalists loved it.

The first Civic model was in production from 1972 to 1980 and belonged to a completely new generation of super mini cars. At the time, Honda was sold together with BMW here in Denmark, and it fit perfectly into the program, and Honda was also considered by many to be the Japanese BMW. Since the first Civic model, we are now in the 10th generation of this model, and it is today among one of the world's best-selling car models.

Unfortunately, the first Honda models were not properly rust-protected and not at all suitable for the humid Danish climate. They rusted away and there are hardly any left of this car model.

Accord set a new standard

The first Accord came into being in 1976, and it was both a beautiful and harmonious car, which was also extremely smooth to drive. It was a car that in many ways surpassed the European cars in its class, and at a lower price than what a similar sports car from BMW or Alfa Romeo cost at the time..

Honda among the largest car manufacturers in the world

These first two car models from Honda established Honda as a serious car manufacturer on a large scale. Honda today produces more than 19 million motorcycles and just over 5 million cars annually. The first Civic and the first Accord set a new standard in many ways, with excellent engineering. Honda has since built a well-deserved reputation for making reliable cars.

Engine and gearbox in a Honda are still among the best of the best.

The rust problem gave Honda a bad start here in Scandinavia. In the rest of Europe, people were also somewhat reserved. When Honda makes a new model, it is still not the 'car taste' here in Europe that weighs the most. In fact, only a limited part of Honda's car program comes here. Even the Accord model is no longer coming to the EU. On the other hand, the Americans are buying Honda in a big way, and in both the USA and Canada, the Honda Civic and Accord have always been among the best-selling car models. In Canada, the Civic has been the best-selling model for the past 20 years.

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