Happy 100th Mr Honda

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Honda is celebrating a ‘Happy 100th birthday’ to Soichiro Honda – the company’s founder.

Born on November 17th 1906, the son of a blacksmith and a weaver, Soichiro was fascinated by machines and how they worked. One of his earliest memories was being enthralled by the first car he had ever seen.

He later said: “As the car rolled through our small village I turned and chased after that car for all I was worth. I could not understand how it could move under its own power. And when it had driven past me, without even thinking why, I found myself chasing it down the road as hard as I could run.”

Soichiro started as an apprentice at a garage, working as a car mechanic before starting his own car repair business in 1928.

Racing was an early passion. Soichiro built his first racing car with parts including a V8 aircraft engine, but he stopped racing in 1936 after a serious accident.

After selling his first company, in 1948, Honda Motor Co was formed. The first Honda motorcycle – the A Type – was an early success, proving to Soichiro that motorcycles could be the answer to cheap transportation.

Early machines were refined until the development of the legendary 1958 Super Cub.

A passion for racing was still in our founder’s blood and soon the Isle of Man TT races would provide the pedestal to advertise the quality of Honda’s motorcycles.

In 1954 he said: “I here avow my intention that I will participate in the TT race and I proclaim with my fellow employees that I will pour all my energy and creative powers into winning.”

He was still chasing his dreams and they were soon realised when in 1961, two years after Honda’s debut on the Island, Mike Hailwood won the Ultra-Lightweight and Lightweight TTs.

Soichiro Honda remained president until his retirement in 1973, but he stayed on as a director and was appointed ‘supreme advisor’ in 1983.

Soichiro Honda died on August 5th 1991.
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MCN Staff

By MCN Staff