Honda’s at all times been one to do issues otherwise. Take VTEC as a main instance of Honda’s ingenuity. Whereas different producers went with turbocharging, supercharging, and rotary engines, Honda’s engineers went with a system that modified the cam timing optimized for gasoline financial system at low RPMs and efficiency at greater revs.
It was this form of intelligent know-how that put Honda in a category of their very own, justifying their premium over different Japanese producers. In addition they have been answerable for the NSX, maybe the primary true useable mid-engine supercar. Let’s not neglect in regards to the Beat too, the primary mid-engine kei-car.
So it ought to come as no shock Honda’s museum isn’t known as a museum. No, that will be too mainstream for a unusual firm akin to Honda. As a substitute it’s known as a “Assortment Corridor”, and fairly than being in an industrial zone or at their headquarters, it’s positioned proper in the course of the Motegi Twin Ring circuit.
Positioned two hours exterior of Tokyo, it’s a little bit of a journey however nicely value if for any gearhead, whether or not you’re a Honda fanatic or not. You will get there from Tokyo on public transportation but it surely’s fairly expensive, takes some time, and can get complicated so in all probability not value doing that. As a substitute, hire a automobile and benefit from the countryside surroundings close to Motegi.
Not like Fuji Speedway or Suzuka Circuit, Motegi is especially used for bike races and occasions. There’s one spherical of Tremendous GT held at Motegi however that’s about it for motor racing occasions. Honda additionally does its Thanks Day occasion right here, just like Nissan’s NISMO Competition and Toyota’s Gazoo Racing Day at Fuji.
For the ¥1000 entry payment (about $eight.75 U.S.) you possibly can enter the Motegi Twin Ring advanced, however admission into the Honda Assortment Corridor is free. The employees on the entrance gate will present you a map on the right way to get to the Assortment Corridor from the gate, however principally you drive two-thirds of the Twin Ring to get there. So far as museum visits go, it was probably the most particular and distinctive.
Because of its distance from principally every little thing, the Honda Assortment Corridor isn’t too busy. From the skin it’s an unassuming gray constructing, however when you get inside it’s Honda heaven. You’re greeted by a glass sculpture with Soichiro Honda’s well-known “Dream” motto written on it.
Behind it are a few of Honda’s greats together with the S500 sports activities automobile, Tremendous Cub bike, and RA272 Components One automobile. Tucked away to the aspect is the S360 prototype—bear in mind this automobile for later.
The primary ground consists primarily of the doorway foyer, the reward store and restaurant to the left, and the historical past of Honda’s robotics experiments in the suitable. It’s possible you’ll not know this, however Honda’s been attempting to make machines stroll like people since 1987. The aim was to make an “Astro Boy for actual.”
By means of their trial and error, their work finally grew to become ASIMO. The lovable and likable humanoid robotic that has grow to be a form of unofficial mascot for Honda and their entire “Energy of Goals” slogan.
On the second ground Honda’s many bikes and motor automobiles are displayed. Honda just lately celebrated their 100,000,000th Tremendous Cub motorcycle and there was an enormous provide of Cubs to have a look at the museum. Every little thing from their first motorized bikes, the primary Honda motorcycle (the Dream D), and scooters have been accounted for.
Throughout the corridor, previous the Tremendous Components and Tremendous GT automobiles, are Honda’s highway automobiles. It begins off with the T360, Honda’s first motorcar. To most individuals the S500 is Honda’s first automobile however the T360 was the genesis of Honda Motors. It featured a 360cc engine to abide kei-automobile rules on the time. Behind it have been a sequence of its successors and Honda’s different small industrial autos.
To the suitable have been a trio of Honda’s S-series sports activities automobiles: the S500 Roadster, S600 Coupe, and S800 Roadster. Not solely was this automobile necessary to Honda’s historical past but it surely was necessary to the historical past of Japanese sports activities automobiles.
The introduction of the S500 spurred different Japanese producers to make a sports activities of automobile of their very own, giving delivery to icons such because the Toyota Sports activities 800, Mazda Cosmo, and Datsun Fairlady.
Honda T360Honda LifeHonda S500, S600, S800
Transferring on, we have now the Honda Life, which was a kei-automobile foreshadowing the Civic. The Honda 1300 Coupe was an air-cooled sports activities automobile with 110hp and a 7300rpm redline, exhibiting Honda’s potential for sporty coupes.
Then we come to the Civic. Forward of its time, the Civic offered easy, inexpensive motoring in a intelligent front-wheel drive package deal arriving at a time of an oil disaster. It additionally arrived to the market two years earlier than the Volkswagen Golf and would grow to be one Honda’s hottest and lasting fashions.
Honda Civic (N600)
Subsequent generations of the Civic and Accord have been additionally on show, together with the Accord Aerodeck taking pictures break. There was additionally a little bit show signifying the Honda Electro Gyrocator from the IEEE for having the world’s first map-based automotive navigation system within the 1981 Accord.
Honda’s metropolis automobile, appropriately named the Metropolis, was additionally proven in each hatchback and cabriolet variations. The Motocompo fold-up bike that was offered as an non-compulsory additional to slot in the boot was proven subsequent to it. (By the way in which, you possibly can see that on this season of Jason Drives.) This was an idea utilized by a number of different manufactures at this yr’s Tokyo Motor Present for straightforward future mobility past the automobile.
After all Honda’s sports activities automobile historical past hasn’t been forgotten, although you’d be forgiven for considering so. The Beat, CR-Z, Del Sol, and Kind R automobiles have been there to remind us all of a time when Honda was on the forefront of intelligent and inexpensive sports activities automobiles. Honda selected to show the EK2 Civic Kind R, Integra DC2 Kind R, and NSX NA1 Kind R as they’re maybe essentially the most iconic of the Kind R automobiles.
Honda Kind RHonda Civic EK2 Kind RHonda NSX Kind R
Seeing this part of the museum was each an indulgence and a tragic reminder of what Honda was and the place they’re now. The outdated automobiles have been easy, light-weight, and most significantly didn’t appear like anime characters. Immediately’s Kind R may be very quick, but additionally a far cry from its origins. Additionally, Honda actually must make a modern-day coupe just like the Integra.
The third ground consisted of Honda’s racing bikes and racing automobiles. For some cause Toyota and Mazda’s Prototype race automobiles have been additionally displayed right here. Contemplating Honda’s latest F1 engine points, seeing their colourful historical past within the sport and being the primary Japanese producer to enter made it all of the extra disappointing.
Honda entered F1 early on in its historical past in 1964, only one yr after they began making automobiles. The RA271 was their first entrant and one thing not seen earlier than in F1, Honda made each the engine and chassis. Over time Honda was concerned in F1 as each a works workforce and an engine provider. After all the MP4/7 pushed by Ayrton Senna, Honda’s closing automobile of their second F1 period, was on show.
F1 isn’t the one motorsports Honda have been concerned in. Vehicles from the Tremendous GT and All Japan Touring Automotive Championship have been proudly on present. The S800 RSC, Honda’s oldest production-based racer, was tucked away in a nook.
This specific automobile gained the GT-1 class within the 12 Hours of Suzuka in 1968 and completed third total.
Honda S800 RSC
Its successors additionally gained victories of their races. The 1987 Civic Si was the winner of all six races within the 1600cc class in addition to taking the Constructor’s and Driver’s Championship of the JTCC. The Accord Si was additionally profitable in profitable a championship in 1996.
The three NSX racers have been one thing to behold. The race automobile was the automobile that entered Le Mans in 1995, profitable the GT-2 class and ending eighth total. The Quantity 18 blue NSX was entered within the All Japan Grand Touring Automotive Championship with Mugen because the engine provider and Dome Co. Ltd because the racing development with Honda offering technological help. The blue No. 100 automobile was entered within the Worldwide GT endurance sequence held at Suzuka.
Honda NSX GT-2 Le Mans
Visiting the Honda Assortment Corridor was an important journey down Honda’s reminiscence lane. It was a reminder of the innovation of Honda and what made them revered and admired within the trade. Maybe they have been too forward of their time, inflicting them to relaxation on their laurels within the final decade than proceed their revolutionary streak. Issues are choosing up not less than with the reborn NSX and different fashions.
In the event you’re going to go to a automobile museum, this must be on the high of your checklist. Toyota’s Vehicle Museum in Nagoya was extra numerous and inclusive of highway automobiles, and stuffed with issues with significance to each the Japanese and international auto trade.
Honda’s may be very a lot steeping their very own historical past in bikes and automobiles, each for the highway and for racing. Plus it’s additionally contained in the Motegi Twin Ring circuit, and for anybody that’s performed Gran Turismo, why would you not wish to tick that off your bucket checklist?