The Honda Collection Hall, located within the grounds of Twin Ring Motegi, was established upon a concept springing from the words of Founder, Soichiro Honda: “Machines never lie. Success will always come if they’re really good. So let’s show the world what we’ve done. Then they can see the real Honda!”
Within the hall on display are not only Honda’s production motorcycles, automobiles and power products manufactured on the concept of being useful to people, but racing machines that aimed to reach the pinnacle of motor sports, accompanied by photographs and episodes describing their prime years and Honda’s dreams and passion for racing.
The Honda Collection Hall celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2013, and still shares Honda’s roots with visitors now.
At the Honda Collection Hall, Honda’s products and racing machines are not just mockups for show, but are kept in a fully-functional state. As part of this policy, the Honda Collection Hall periodically conducts track tests, in which these machines are actually driven.
The 2014 track test was held on Wednesday, September 17, with Former Honda works rider Hikaru Miyagi testing 9 machines.
Former Honda works rider. Former champion of the All-Japan Road Race Championship and US Championship, his skills extend to four-wheel racing as well. He is currently a MotoGP commentator on live television, and test rides Honda’s historic machines at the Honda Collection Hall.
Honda’s machine to first challenge the Isle of Man TT race
In 1954, Honda declared that it would enter the Isle of Man TT Race, widely acknowledged as the pinnacle of Grand Prix motorcycle racing at the time. The RC142 is the machine that made this declaration come true, 5 years later in 1959. Three machines were entered into the race, and all three Japanese Grand Prix machines equipped with 125cc 2-cylinder 4-valve DOHC engines finished the race in 6th, 7th and 11th, giving Honda the team award, a remarkable accomplishment in the home of motor racing. Naomi Taniguchi, finishing on his RC142 in 6th, was the first Japanese rider to score world grand prix points.
The first machine to sport Honda’s tricolor design
In 1973 RSC (now known as HRC), despite Honda not participating in WGP racing at the time, entered the CB750R in the Daytona 200 Mile race. The coloring of the machine, based on the production Dream CB750 FOUR and improved to exert over 90 PS and reach 250 km/h, was the first to sport the now familiar Honda tricolor design. Amid the majority of 2-stroke machines, Morio Sumiya rode his 4-stroke CB750RACER to 6th.
The substitute machine that fought the world for 3 years
In 1984, the V-4 NSR500, Honda’s main racing machine, had occasional fluctuations with performance, and then-ace rider Freddie Spencer raced the 3-cylinder NS500 or 4-cylinder NSR500, depending on the race. The NS500 won the 1983 title, and was already a mature machine. Spencer and Randy Mamola won 2 races each on the NS500, but it was not enough to overwhelm the 4-cylinder machines, and the following year, 1985, saw the NSR500 take over as Honda main racing machine.
High-powered machine bringing Honda’s 8th Suzuka 8-hour victory
In 1989, the bike of Wayne Gardner / Mick Doohan ran into back-markers while leading the Suzuka 8-hour Endurance Road Race, ending their race. In 1990, Gardner fell, and after a furious charge through the field, ran out of gasoline, and retired. In 1991, Honda entered the race with the RVF750, sporting a high-powered water-cooled V-4 engine with a maximum output of over 140 PS, and learning from experience, a reserve fuel valve, and a small window on the fuel tank to see how much fuel was left. This resulted in Honda winning its 8th Suzuka 8-hour race.
The machine that won all 15 grands prix
From its debut in 1984, the NSR500 was developed and enhanced, bringing Honda numerous victories. The 1997 model not only won all 15 races of the season and gave Honda the Manufacturers’ title, but contributed to Mick Doohan’s fourth Championship title. At the time, the NSR500’s advanced engine set the stage for engines with ‘big-bang’ firing orders, providing superior traction and acceleration, which other manufacturers followed. Mick Doohan selected a more peaky, harder-to-handle engine with ‘screamer’ firing order, to win his 4th consecutive title.
The Grand Prix machine that won the 250cc class
In 2001, Honda handed the reins of the NSR250, with a highly-developed water-cooled 2-stroke V-2 engine, to Daijiro Kato. The NSR250 and Kato won a record-equalling 11 races, achieving both the Riders’ and Manufacturers’ titles. In the inaugural Japanese Grand Prix the same year, Honda won the 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc classes, achieving its 500th grand prix victory since its entry into world grand prix racing in 1959. Kato’s win gave Honda its 499th victory.
Williams-Honda FW11 (1986)
The machine that gave Honda its first Formula 1 title
In 1983, Honda returned to Formula 1 racing after 15 years, in a partnership with Williams. In Round 9, the Dallas Grand Prix this year, Honda won its first grand prix since its return. In 1985, a new Honda driver, Nigel Mansell, won 4 grands prix. In 1986, fuel regulations were changed from 220 liters to 195, prompting Honda to introduce its fuel-efficient, 1,000+ horsepower FW11 engine. Mansell and Nelson Piquet drove Honda to its first Formula 1 title, winning 9 out of 16 grands prix.
The unbeatable turbo machine that won 15 out of 16 races
In 1988, Honda partners with McLaren to tackle Formula 1 racing in earnest. The FIA, wary of engine powers exceeding 1,400 horsepower, further restricted turbo boost pressure and fuel consumption, but the MP4/4 overcame these hurdles by thorough work on the engine and chassis to maximize fuel efficiency, winning 15 out of 16 grands prix. Honda won the Constructors’ title, and Ayrton Senna the Drivers’ title, bringing Honda its second consecutive double-title win.
McLaren-Honda MP4/4 (1988)
McLaren-Honda MP4/5 (1989)
Third straight double-title with Senna and Prost unbeatable
In 1989, Formula 1 racing outlawed turbo engines for naturally-aspirated engines. Honda’s rivals were convinced that they could win as long as Honda didn’t have turbo engines. The MP4/5, equipped with Honda’s 3.5 liter V-10 engine, dominated the season, winning 10 out of 16 grands prix, the battle of the year raging between team-mates Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. The MP4/5 brought glory to the team, as Prost won the Drivers’ title, and Honda the Constructors’ title, its third straight double-title.