La restauración fue hecha como parte de las celebraciones de los 60 años de Honda en EEUU.

Con 12 fabricas en Estados Unidos, y más de 26 milles de carros producidos en el país, Honda es uno de los fabricantes de automóviles más importantes que opera en el territorio estadounidense. Pero hace 60 años, cuando comenzó sus operaciones, American Honda ni siquiera vendía automóviles. En 1959 el único producto de Honda eran motocicletas importadas de Japón. A finales de 1960 cuando la demanda comenzó a aumentar, Honda adquirió una pequeña flota de pickups Chevrolet para distribuir las motos a los concesionarios en el sur de California. 

Hoy, Honda está celebrando 60 años de operaciones en Estados Unidos y para celebrar la ocasión el fabricante consiguió una pickup Chevrolet 1961 de media tonelada, similar a las que usaba para distribuir sus motos hace 60 años, y la restauró con la apariencia original de los vehículos reparto, cuidando hasta el más mínimo detalle.

Galería: American Honda restauró su pickup de reparto Chevrolet 1961

La restauración terminó justo a tiempo para el inicio de las celebraciones de los 60 años de American Honda en sus cuarteles generales en la ciudad de Torrance, en California. A fin de restaurarla a la perfección,  Honda incluso ubicó un par de motos clásicas similares a las que se pueden ver en la imagen al inició de la galería de imágenes de arriba usada como modelo para la restauración. Se trata específicamente de una Honda CB160 y una Honda 50, también conocida como la Super Cub, que eventualmente se convertiría en el vehículo de producción más producido en todo el mundo. La camioneta ha estado dando una gira por todo el país que la llevará a Sema 2019 en Las Vegas.

¿Qué habrían dicho los ejecutivos de Chevrolet involucrados en la venta de la flota de pickups a Honda, de haber sabido en el formidable rival en que se convertiría? Eso es algo imposible de saber, pero lo que si sabemos, es que nos complace en extremo ver a Honda dejar las rivalidades a un lado y restaurar un producto de su competencia, así solo haya sido para celebrar su propio cumpleaños. 

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American Honda Restores a Chevy Pickup

  • 1961 Chevy Apache 10 pickups were used to deliver motorcycles to dealers in early 1960s
  • Hand-painted graphics plus Honda 50 and CB160 motorcycles from the era complete authentic recreation
  • Restoration is part of American Honda 60th anniversary celebration; public display plans include 2019 SEMA Show

Shortly after American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM) first opened for business in 1959, the company purchased a small fleet of Chevy pickups to deliver motorcycles to its fledgling dealers across Southern California. One of these trucks is depicted in an iconic photo circa 1961 in front of AHM's original office at 4077 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles. Underscoring their importance during those early days, American Honda restored a truck to authentically match the one in the old photo, helping celebrate the company's 60th anniversary.

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. These trucks helped American Honda quickly establish a U.S. market foothold, starting in Southern California. By 1965, Honda was the best-selling motorcycle brand in America with amarket share of almost 72 percent.

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.

Plans for public display include the 2019 SEMA Show and other events around the country, as well as classic vehicle gatherings around Southern California. Ultimately, the truck will make its way to the American Honda Collection Hall in Torrance, where it will be staged in front of a replica of the company's original Los Angeles office.

Delivery Truck Basic Specs:

  • Half-ton chassis
  • 8 ft. bed
  • 283 cu. in. V8 engine
  • 160 HP
  • 3-speed manual transmission

Precious Cargo
The truck's cargo—in this case two important motorcycles from those early days—were also procured, helping recreate what the package looked like as salesmen traveled around the state to support their dealers.  

A red 1965 Honda 50, known in other parts of the world as the Super Cub, occupies the left side of the truck bed. The first big success among the Honda motorcycles sold in the U.S., the “Nifty Thrifty Honda 50” as it was advertised, put Honda on the map in America in the early 1960s—and around the world for that matter.

Easy to ride for almost anyone, the Honda 50 became a surprise hit – immortalized in the “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” marketing campaign. This 1965 model runs and rides perfectly and is ready for another 60 years of enjoyment.

Honda 50 Basic Specs:

  • Pressed steel, step-through monocoque frame
  • 49 cc single-cylinder pushrod engine
  • 3-speed semi-automatic transmission with centrifugal clutch

Also sharing the Chevy truck bed is an original 1965 Honda CB160, one of Honda's early small displacement sport bikes. The little CB was a big hit for American Honda, following in the footsteps of the larger CB77 “Super Hawk” in moving away from a stamped steel monocoque in favor of a tubular steel frame. 

Cycle World magazine dubbed the new bike a "baby Super Hawk" at the time. It was popular with young riders moving up from the Honda 50 or 90 who wanted something that looked like a true motorcycle. This 1965 model was completely restored last year and is in perfect running order.

Honda CB160 Basic Specs:

  • Tubular steel backbone frame
  • 161 cc SOHC vertical twin engine
  • 16.5 HP
  • 4-speed manual transmission
  • Electric starter