I drive a Honda and I love it. Outside of that ’67 Chrysler convertible (Sawzall edition) a friend and I made, it’s probably the best car I’ve ever owned. Back when that Chrysler first came off the assembly line, Honda sold only motorcycles in the U.S.
The company opened its first American showroom with seven workers at a former photo-processing lab at 4077 W. Pico Boulevard in 1959. The spiffy little bikes were an immediate success and dealers began carrying the line of inexpensive, zippy motorcycles. Boosted by a big advertising campaign and popping up all over pop culture throughout the 1960s, the cycles ultimately became the best-selling motorized vehicle of all time, selling over 100 million bikes.
American Honda quickly became a corporate citizen of Los Angeles, donating bikes for charity, and making the largest gift from a foreign company to the fledgling Music Center in 1964.
When Honda introduced a two-door sedan called the 600 in the spring of 1969, it was two feet shorter (and 600 pounds lighter) than a Volkswagen Beetle and got 42 miles per gallon. Four years later, amid an oil embargo and gas shortages, gas-sipping cars were suddenly in vogue.
To celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary, a caravan of new Honda Super Cub motorcycles recently rode from the company’s original location (now a health clinic founded by Jewel Thais-Williams of legendary disco Jewel’s Catch One) to the current headquarters in Torrance. Here’s hoping someone comes up with a groovy go-go song about that.
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