History of Honda Motorcycles - Timeline

1946           

  • Honda Technical Research Institute established by Soichiro Honda in Hamamatsu, Japan.
  • Internal combustion engines, machine tools & auxiliary engine for bicycle produced.

 

1947                    

  • Kiyoshi Kawashima, who becomes Honda’s supreme Advisor in 1983, joins the Company.
  • Production of A-type engine (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) started

 

1948        

  • Honda Technical Research Institute incorporated and renamed Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
  • Company capitalised at ¥1 million.
  • Production of lightweight B-type motorcycle (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 90cc) started.
  • A-type engine obtains 66% share of domestic market.

 

1949                   

  • Production of lightweight C-type (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 96cc) started. 
  • Production of lightweight D-type motorcycle (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 98cc) started and named ‘Dream’.                
  • Takeo Fujisawa, who became Honda’s Supreme Advisor in 1973, joins the Company. 
  • Company capitalised at ¥2 million.

 

1950                    

  • Tokyo branch founded.         
  • Tokyo plant founded.          
  • Motorcycle production begins at Tokyo plant.

 

1951                          

  • Dream E-type model produced on experimental basis. Records average speed of 70kph (43.5mph). Honda's first 4-cycle product.
  • Dream E-type model (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 146cc) launched.
  • Output of 130 units of Dream E-type per day establishes new record in Japanese motorcycle production.

 

1952

  • Company capitalised at ¥6 million (June).
  • F-type Cub model (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) launched and exported to Taiwan.
  • Export of Dream model started to Okinawa and Philippines.
  • Company capitalised at ¥15 million (November).
  • F-type Cub production reaches 7,000 units/month.

 

1953

  • Shirako plant opened in Saitama Prefecture.
  • Yamato plant opened in Yamatomachi, Saitama Prefecture (May).
  • Yamato plant expanded and renamed Saitama Factory (July).
  • J-type Benly model (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Dream 3E and Dream 6E models launched.
  • Honda starts Power Equipment production with launch of H-type Engine for agricultural use. 
  • Company capitalised at ¥60 million.

 

1954

  • Trading of Honda Motor Co. stock starts on Tokyo Stock Exchange.
  • K-type Juno scooter model (200cc) launched.
  • Honda announces particpation in Isle of Man TT Races.
  • Aoi plant opened in Hamamatsu. 
  • JA-type Benly model (4-cycle, 140cc) launched.
  • President Soichiro Honda attends IOM TT Races and visits Europe manufacturers. 
  • Juno scooter exported to USA.

 

1955

  • JB-type Benly model (4-cycle, 125cc) launched.
  • SB-type Dream model (4-cycle, 350cc) launched.
  • SA-type Dream model (4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • Honda takes the lead in annual domestic production.
  • Honda Racing Team wins Manufcaturers Championship in All-Japan Endurance.
  • JC56-type Benly model (4-cycle, 125cc) launched.

 

1956

  • Company capitalised at ¥120 million.
  • Honda Service Division established and one-year warranty introduced.
  • EJ model (4-cycle, 200cc) launched.

 

1957

  • Company capitalised at ¥360 million.
  • Honda R&D Centre opened in Shirako plant.
  • Dream C70 model (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.

 

1958

  • Honda Test Course opened near Arakawa River.
  • Dream C71 model with Electric Start (4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • Dream CS71 model (4-cycle, 250cc) launched.  
  • Honda Motor Co. Head Office moves to 5-5, Yaesu, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo.
  • Company capitalised at ¥720 million.
  • C100 Super Cub (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.

 

1959

  • Benly C92 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 125cc) launched.
  • Company capitalised at ¥1.44 billion.
  • Honda participates in IOM TT Races for the first time and takes 6th place in the 125cc Class as well as the Constructors Prize. 
  • American Honda Motor Co., Inc. established.

 

1960

  • Dream C72 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • New Head Office building completed in Tokyo.
  • Suzuki Factory starts operation at Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture.
  • Super Cub C102 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) with Electric Start launched.
  • Company capitalised at ¥4.32 billion.
  • Research & development division re-launched as Honda R&D Co., Limited.
  • Sports Cub C110 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Construction of new Saitama Factory completed.
  • Dream CB72 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • Juno M80 scooter (125cc) launched.

 

1961

  • Motor Sports Land (now Hondaland) established.
  • Company capitalised at ¥8.64 billion.
  • European Honda Gmbh (now Honda Germany) established in Hamburg, West Germany.
  • Honda wins IOM TT Races in 125cc and 250cc classes.
  • Super Cub C105 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 55cc) launched.
  • Sports Cub C115 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 55cc) launched.
  • Z100 Monkey Bike (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Honda wins 125cc and 250cc Manufacturer Championships in World Motorcycle Grand Prix.
  • Dream CBM72 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.

 

1962

  • Honda racing team wins the 125cc and 250cc championships in IOM TT races.
  • Juno M85 (4-cycle, 170cc) launched.
  • Port-Cub C240 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • N.V.Honda Motor S.A. (now Honda Benelux N.V.) establsihed to assemble and sell mopeds in Europe.
  • Construction of Suzuki Circuit completed.
  • Honda Koki Engineering Factory (now Honda Engineering Co., Ltd.) established.
  • Honda wins 125cc, 250cc and 350cc Manufacturer Championships in World Motorcycle Grand Prix.
  • Honda starts automobile production with launch of T360 Truck and S360 Sports Car.
  • All Japan Motorcycle Championship Road race held at new Suzuka Circuit. Honda wins the Championships in the 50cc, 125cc, 250cc and 350cc classes.
  • Company capitalised at ¥9.09 billion.

 

1963

  • Benly C200 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Honda wins 250cc and 350cc Class Championships at IOM TT Races.
  • Dream CP77 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 300cc) launched.
  • Honda wins 250cc and 350cc Manufacturer Championships in World Grand Prix.

 

1964

  • Sayama Factory completed in Sayama City.
  • Honda wins 125cc, 250cc and 350cc Class Championships at IOM TT Races.
  • Benly CS90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Asian Honda Motor Co., Ltd established in Thailand.
  • Super Cub CM90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle 90cc) launched.
  • Super Cub C65 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 65cc) launched.
  • Benly CS65 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 65cc) launched.

 

1965

  • Dream CB450 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 450cc) launched. Became known as the 'Black Bomber'.
  • Honda (U.K.) Ltd. established in Chiswick, West London.
  • Benly CD90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.

 

1966

  • Thai Honda Manufacturing Co., Ltd. established in Bangkok, Thailand. 
  • Little Honda P25 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Benly CL90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Super Cub C90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.

 

1967

  • Benly SS50 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Benly CL50 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Z50 mini bike (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Cumulative output of Super Cub exceeds 5 million units.
  • Honda wins 250cc, 350cc and 500cc championship classes in IOM TT Races.

 

1968

  • Cumulative motorcycle production exceeds 10 million units.
  • Benly CD50 and CD65 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc/65cc) launched.
  • Dream CB250 and CB350 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc/350cc) launched and exported.
  • CL250 and CL350 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc/350cc) launched and exported.
  • Company capitalised at ¥18.18 billion.
  • Dream CD250 (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • Honda agrees technical collaboration with motorcycle manufacturers in Mexico and Spain.
  • CT50 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • CB750 announced and displayed at Tokyo Motor Show.

 

1969

  • Honda Australia Pty., Ltd. established in Melbourne, Australia.
  • Canadian Honda Motor Ltd. (now Honda Canada Inc.) established in Toronto, Canada.
  • Dream CB750 Four (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 750cc) launched and exported.
  • Little Honda PC50 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • ST50 and ST70 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc/70cc) launched.

 

1970

  • Cumulative motorcycle production exceeds 14 million units.
  • Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. established.
  • Benly SL125S, CB125S & CD125S (4-cycle, 125cc) launched.
  • Benly CB135 & CL135 (4-cycle, 135cc) launched.

 

1971

  • New Super Cub C90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Cumulative motorcycle production exceeds 15 million units.
  • Dream CB500 Four (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 500cc) launched.
  • Benly CB50 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Honda Motor do Brasil Ltd. established in Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

1972

  • Benly CB90JX (4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Dream SL250S (4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • Dream CB350 Four (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 350cc) launched.
  • CF50 & CF70 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc/70cc) launched.
  • Elsinore CR250M Motocross (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • ST90 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 90cc) launched.
  • Dream CB500 Four announced first 'Bike of the Year' by 'My Car Report' magazine. 

 

1973

  • Elsinore MT125 & MT250 (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 125cc/250cc) launched.
  • Dream CB250T & CB360T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc/360cc) launched.
  • 25th Anniversary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
  • President Soichiro Honda and Executive Vice President Takeo Fujisawa retire and become Supreme Advisors.
  • Company capitalised at ¥19.48 billion.
  • Motorcycle distributors from 37 countries travel to Japan for 'Silver Jubilee Holiday'.

 

1974

  • Dream CB550 Four (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 550cc) launched.
  • Honda Suisse S.A. established in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Soichiro Honda recieves an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Michigan Technological University, USA.
  • Construction of Kumamoto Factory begins.
  • Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. established.
  • Head Office moved to Harajuka, Tokyo.
  • Company capitalised at ¥24.35 billion.
  • Gold Wing GL1000 (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 1100cc) launched. 
  • Dream CB500T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 500cc) launched.
  • Dream CB400 Four (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 400cc) launched.

 

1975

  • TL250 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) trial bike launched.
  • CB750F (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 750cc) launched.
  • XL125 and XL250 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 125cc/250cc) launched.
  • Moto Honda da Amazonia Limitada established in Brazil.

 

1976

  • Honda racing team enters the European Motorcycle Endurance Race Series.
  • Honda International Technical School opened in Saitama Prefecture.
  • Dream CJ250T and CJ360T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc/360cc) launched.
  • Honda wins Bol D'or 24 Hour race. The biggest endurance race in Europe.
  • CB125T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 125cc) launched.
  • Company capitalised at ¥25.5 billion.

 

1977

  • Motorcycle production begins at Moto honda da Amazonia Limitada in Manaus, Brazil.
  • NC50L (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) moped with quick starter system, launched.
  • P. T Imora Honda established in Indonesia.
  • I. A. P. Industriale S. P. A. (now Honda Italia Industriale S. P. A.) established in Italy.
  • CB750A Hondamatic (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 750cc) launched.
  • Hawk-II CB400T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 400cc) launched.
  • Construction of Tochigi Proving Grounds (Honda's own test circuit/facility) started in Tochigi Prefecture.
  • Hawk CB250T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • Plans for motorcycle production plant in Ohio, USA announced.
  • Elsinore CR250R (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 250cc) motocross bike, launched.
  • Honda Foundation established.
  • GL500 (also known as CX500) (2-cylinder, V-twin, 4-cycle, 500cc) announced. Production started August 1978. 

 

1978

  • Palfrey NC50 (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Hawk CB400T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 400cc) launched.
  • Benly CM125T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 125cc) launched.
  • XL250S (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 250cc) launched.
  • GL400 (2-cylinder, V-twin, 4-cycle, 400cc) launched.
  • Honda Europe N. V. establsihed in Ghent, Belgium.
  • Pal-holiday and Paladian (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • CB400N Super Dream (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 400cc) launched.
  • CBX (6-cylinder, 4-cycle, 1000cc) launched.
  • Charlett (50cc) launched.
  • Total production of motorcycles exceeds 30 million units.
  • CB900F (4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-cycle, 900cc) launched.
  • CB750K (4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-cycle, 750cc) launched.

 

1979

  • CB650 (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 650cc) launched.
  • Tochigi Proving Grounds (Honda's Test Course/Facility) completed.
  • GL400/GL500 (CX500) Custom models (V-twin, 4-cycle, 400/500cc) launched.
  • MB50 and MT50 (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • CB125T, CM125T and CD125T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 125cc) launched.
  • Supreme Advisor Soichiro Honda receives an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Ohio State University, USA.
  • CB750F (4-cylinder, DOHC, 4-cycle, 750cc) launched.
  • CD50 (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Honda Manufacturing (Nigeria) Ltd. established.
  • XL500S (1-cylinder, 4-cycle, 500cc) launched.
  • CB250N Super Dream (2-cylinder, 4-cycle 250cc) launched.
  • CM400T (2-cylinder, 4-cycle, 400cc) launched.
  • NX50 (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 50cc) launched.
  • Honda of America Manufacturing Inc. starts motorcycle production.
  • GL1100 Gold Wing (4-cylinder, 4-cycle, 1100cc) launched. Made in USA.
  • CR80R, CR125R and CR250R Motocross models (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 80/125/250cc) launched. 
  • MB100 (1-cylinder, 2-cycle, 100cc) launched.

 

 

 

Further information to follow soon.

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