American Honda celebrated its 60th anniversary by restoring a vehicle built by a brand that is now considered a competitor. That vehicle a 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10, and here’s why Honda decided to fix it up.
American Honda opened up shop in the United States in 1959 and began by selling small motorcycles in southern California. In order to get those bikes to dealers, the then-LA-based company—which didn’t sell cars in the U.S. until about a decade later—relied on Chevy Apache 10 pickups.
Those trucks, Honda writes in its press release, were critical in helping Honda “quickly establish a U.S. market foothold” to the point that, by 1965, the company was the hottest-selling motorcycle brand in the U.S. It’s because of the Chevy’s historical significance that Honda decided to pay homage to the trusty old trucks by restoring one for American Honda Motor Company’s 60th anniversary celebration earlier this month.
Honda describes how it went about restoring the 160 horsepower, 283 cubic-inch V8-having, three-speed manual pickup, writing:
Tapping its U.S. archives and memories of retired Honda associates for details, a 1961 Chevy half-ton pickup was found and carefully renovated, replicating the original paint scheme as used by company salesmen delivering motorcycles to dealers to sell on a consignment basis.
To ready the special truck for its debut at AHM’s 60th anniversary celebration on June 11, it was given a mild mechanical freshening plus new factory-correct white paint and hand-painted graphics like the originals. Two vintage motorcycles, a Honda 50 and CB160, like those originally carried in the trucks, are placed in the truck bed. The completed package is now on display in the lobby of American Honda’s Torrance, Calif. headquarters.
The truck looks sweet, and so does the bed-parked 1965 Honda CB160 sport bike and the 1965 Honda 50 “Super Cub,” which Honda describes as “the first big success among the Honda motorcycles sold in the U.S.”
Honda says the truck will—after some showings—make its way to the American Honda Collection Hall in Torrence, California, and I think that’s just awesome. I dig the fact that an automaker isn’t afraid to restore and show off a competitor’s vehicle.