Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Honda

Honda


A chronological day-by-day history of Honda.

Saturday 29th August 1885

132 years ago

The world’s first motorcycle, the Reitwagen ("riding car") or Einspur ("single track"), was patented. It was essentially a wooden bicycle, with foot pedals removed and powered by a single-cylinder, Otto-cycle engine. This invention is a key milestone in automobile history, as engines up until this point had only been used on stationary machines. The original design of 1884 used a belt drive, and twist grip on the handlebars which applied the brake when turned one way and tensioned the drive belt, applying power to the wheel, when turned the other way. The plans also called for steering linkage shafts that made two right angle bends connected with gears, but the actual working model used a simple handlebar without the twist grip or gear linkage. It had a 264-cubic-centimetre (16.1 cu in) single-cylinder Otto cycle four-stroke engine mounted on rubber blocks, with two iron tread wooden wheels and a pair of spring-loaded outrigger wheels to help it remain upright. Its engine output of 0.5 horsepower (0.37 kW) at 600 rpm gave it a speed of about 11 km/h (6.8 mph). Daimler's 17-year-old son, Paul, rode it first on November 18, 1885, going 5–12 kilometres (3.1–7.5 mi), from Cannstatt to Untertürkheim, Germany. The seat caught fire on that excursion, the engine's hot tube ignition being located directly underneath. Over the winter of 1885–1886 the belt drive was upgraded to a two-stage, two-speed transmission with a belt primary drive and the final drive using a ring gear on the back wheel. By 1886 the Reitwagen had served its purpose and was abandoned in favor of further development on four wheeled vehicles.The original Reitwagen was destroyed in the Cannstatt Fire that razed the Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft Seelberg-Cannstatt plant in 1903, but several replicas exist in collections at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the Deutsches Museum in Munich, the Honda Collection Hall at the Twin Ring Motegi facility in Japan, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Ohio, and in Melbourne, Australia. The Deutsches Museum lent their replica to the Guggenheim Las Vegas The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition in 2001. The replicas vary as to which version they follow. The one at the AMA Hall of Fame is larger than the original and uses the complex belt tensioner and steering linkage seen in the 1884 plans, while the Deutsches Museum's replica has the simple handlebar, as well as the ring gear on the rear wheel.

Daimler's first motorcycle

Daimler's first motorcycle

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Friday 31st May 1907

110 years ago

The first motorised taxicab service in the United States started in New York City. Harry N. Allen, incensed after being charged five dollars ($126.98 in today's dollars) for a journey of 0.75 miles (1.21 km), decided "to start a [taxicab] service in New York and charge so-much per mile." He imported 65 gasoline-powered cars from France and began the New York Taxicab Company. The cabs were originally painted red and green, but Allen repainted them all yellow to be visible from a distance. By 1908 the company was running 700 taxicabs. Within a decade several more companies opened business and taxicabs began to proliferate. The fare was 50 cents a mile, a rate only affordable to the relatively wealthy. By the 1920s, automobile manufacturers like General Motors and the Ford Motor Company began operating fleets. The most successful manufacturer, however, was the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company. Founded by Morris Markin, Checker Cabs produced large yellow and black taxis that became the most common taxis in New York City. In 1937 Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia signed the Haas Act, which introduced official taxi licenses and the medallion system that remains in place today. The law limited the number of licenses to 16,900. The medallions are now worth hundreds of thousands of dollars with fleet medallions topping $600,000 in 2007. In 1967, New York City ordered all "medallion taxis" be painted yellow to help cut down on unofficial drivers and make official taxicabs more readily recognisable. By the mid-1980s and into the 1990s the demographic changes among cabbies began to accelerate as new waves of immigrants arrived in New York. According to the 2000 US Census, of the 62,000 cabbies in New York 82 per cent are foreign born: 23 per cent are from the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and 30 per cent from South Asia, and Pakistan. In 1996, when Chevrolet stopped making the Caprice, the Ford Crown Victoria became the most widely used sedan for yellow cabs in New York. In addition, yellow cab operators also use the Honda Odyssey, Isuzu Oasis, Chevrolet Venture, Ford Freestar, and Toyota Sienna minivans which offer increased passenger room. The distinctive Checker cabs were, due to their durable construction, phased out slowly, the last one being retired in July 1999, being over 20 years in service and nearly one million miles on its odometer. Laws since 1996 require taxis be replaced every 6 years regardless of condition. In 2005, New York introduced incentives to replace its current yellow cabs with electric hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid. As of February 2011, New York City had around 4,300 hybrid taxis, representing almost 33 per cent of New York's 13,237 taxis in service, the most in any city in North America. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the Nissan design as the winner to replace the city's 13,000 yellow cabs, to be phased in over five years starting in 2013.

Harry Allen and French Darracq cabs, 1907

Harry Allen and French Darracq cabs, 1907

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Wednesday 22nd January 1936

81 years ago

Triumph cars and motorcycles became separate entities as the motorcycle company was sold to J.Y. "Jack" Sangster for £5000, who owned the rival Ariel motorcycle company. Triumph had found it difficult to make money from its cars, successful though they were. Jack Sangster began exporting Triumph motorcycles to the United States under the name of the Triumph Engineering Company Ltd. where the bikes became hugely popular. In 1939 the Triumph Motor Company, as in the car manufacturer, went into receivership and the company, including its assets, were offered for sale. The new owners placed Donald Healey in charge as general manager, but after World War Two broke out, and the Triumph factory was destroyed by German bombing, it seemed as though it was all over. In 1944 the Triumph brand name was bought by the Standard Motor Company and used to set up a subsidiary company called, Standard–Triumph, based at Standard’s factory at Canley, near Coventry. In 1946, Triumph launched the all new Triumph Roadster. The body of this car was constructed completely from aluminium on account of the post–war steel shortage and it remained in production until 1949. Shortly after the Triumph Roadster there followed the Triumph Renown and the The Triumph Roadster was the first all new car that Triumph launched after the war and had a body made from aluminium due to the post war steel shortage Triumph Mayflower saloons, but when Sir John Black retired in 1953, due to injuries sustained in a road collision, the two Triumph saloon cars were discontinued. That same year the successor to the Triumph Roadster was launched, albeit after a gap of some 4–years, and was simply called the Triumph TR2. This car had Standard–Triumph badges, but with the famous Triumph globe emblem on its wheel hubs. The TR2 was the first in a succession of Triumph TR’s, the last of which became discontinued in 1981.The first of the Triumph saloon cars was the Triumph Herald, launched in 1959. The car was designed by the famous Italian designer, Giovanni Michelotti, and marked the beginning of his long–lasting and close relationship between Giovanni Michelotti and the Triumph badge. Triumph became part of BMC and subsequently BL. The last Triumph model to be sold was the Acclaim, but this was no more than a rebadged Honda Ballade and built under license at the former Morris works at Cowley in Oxfordshire. The Triumph trademark is currently owned by German car maker, BMW, which it acquired in 1994 when BMW bought out the Rover Group. Triumph as a manufacturer of motorcycles, on the other hand, is still going strong today. Since being sold off by Triumph the car manufacturer in 1936, Triumph as a motorcycle manufacturer has changed ownership several times and limped from one financial crisis through another.However, the company has now grown into a successful business and trades under the name of Triumph Motorcycles (Hinckley) Ltd.

Triumph Speed Twin 1938

Triumph Speed Twin 1938

1954 Triumph TR2 Roadster

1954 Triumph TR2 Roadster

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Monday 31st December 1945

71 years ago

The Triumph Company was acquired by the Standard Motor Company for £75,000 and a subsidiary "Triumph Motor Company (1945) Limited" was formed with production transferred to Standard's factory at Canley, on the outskirts of Coventry. Triumph's new owners had been supplying engines to Jaguar and its predecessor company since 1938. After an argument between Standard-Triumph Managing Director, Sir John Black, and William Lyons, the creator and owner of Jaguar, Black's objective in acquiring the rights to the name and the remnants of the bankrupt Triumph business was to build a car to compete with the soon to be launched post-war Jaguars.[ The pre-war Triumph models were not revived and in 1946 a new range of Triumphs was announced, starting with the Triumph Roadster. The Roadster had an aluminium body because steel was in short supply and surplus aluminium from aircraft production was plentiful. The same engine was used for the 1800 Town and Country saloon, later named the Triumph Renown, which was notable for the styling chosen by Standard-Triumph's managing director Sir John Black. A similar style was also used for the subsequent Triumph Mayflower light saloon. All three of these models prominently sported the "globe" badge that had been used on pre-war models. When Sir John was forced to retire from the company this range of cars was discontinued without being replaced directly, sheet aluminium having by now become a prohibitively expensive alternative to sheet steel for most auto-industry purposes. In the early 1950s it was decided to use the Triumph name for sporting cars and the Standard name for saloons and in 1953 the Triumph TR2 was initiated, the first of the TR series of sports cars that would be produced until 1981. Curiously, the TR2 had a Standard badge on its front and the Triumph globe on its hubcaps. Standard had been making a range of small saloons named the Standard Eight and Ten, and had been working on their replacements. The success of the TR range meant that Triumph was considered a more marketable name than Standard, and the new car was introduced in 1959 as the Triumph Herald. The last Standard car to be made in the UK was replaced in 1963 by the Triumph 2000. Standard-Triumph was bought by Leyland Motors Ltd. in December 1960; Donald Stokes became chairman of the Standard-Triumph division in 1963. Further mergers resulted in the formation of British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968. Triumph set up an assembly facility in Speke, Liverpool in 1959 gradually increasing the size of the most modern factory of the company to the point that it could fully produce 100,000 cars per year. However, only a maximum of 30,000 cars was ever produced as the plant was never put to full production use, being used largely as an assembly plant.[7] During the 1960s and '70s Triumph sold a succession of Michelotti-styled saloons and sports cars, including the advanced Dolomite Sprint, which, in 1973, already had a 16-valve four-cylinder engine. It is alleged that many Triumphs of this era were unreliable, especially the 2.5 PI (petrol injection) with its fuel injection problems. In Australia, the summer heat caused petrol in the electric fuel pump to vapourise, resulting in frequent malfunctions. Although the injection system had proven itself in international competition, it lacked altitude compensation to adjust the fuel mixture at altitudes greater than 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. The Lucas system proved unpopular: Lucas did not want to develop it further, and Standard-Triumph dealers were reluctant to attend the associated factory and field-based training courses. For most of its time under Leyland or BL ownership the Triumph marque belonged in the Specialist Division of the company which went by the names of Rover Triumph and later Jaguar Rover Triumph, except for a brief period during the mid-1970s when all BL's car marques or brands were grouped together under the name of Leyland Cars.The only all-new Triumph model initiated as Rover Triumph was the TR7, which had the misfortune to be in production successively at three factories that were closed: Speke, the poorly run Leyland-era Standard-Triumph works in Liverpool,[7] the original Standard works at Canley, Coventry and finally the Rover works in Solihull. Plans for an extended range based on the TR7, including a fastback variant codenamed "Lynx", were ended when the Speke factory closed. The four-cylinder TR7 and its short-lived eight-cylindered derivative the TR8 were terminated when the road car section of the Solihull plant was closed (the plant continues to build Land Rovers.The last Triumph model was the Acclaim, introduced in 1981 and essentially a rebadged Honda Ballade built under licence from Japanese company Honda at the former Morris Motors works in Cowley, Oxford. The Triumph name disappeared in 1984, when the Acclaim was replaced by the Rover 200, a rebadged version of Honda's next generation Civic/Ballade model. The BL car division was by then named Austin Rover Group which also ended the Morris marque as well as Triumph. The trademark is owned currently by BMW, which acquired Triumph when it bought the Rover Group in 1994. When it sold Rover, it kept the Triumph marque. The Phoenix Consortium, which bought Rover, tried to buy the Triumph brand, but BMW refused, saying that if Phoenix insisted, it would break the deal. The Standard marque was transferred to British Motor Heritage Limited. The Standard marque is still retained by British Motor Heritage who also have the licence to use the Triumph marque in relation to the sale of spares and service of the existing 'park' of Triumph cars.The Triumph name has been retained by BMW along with Riley, and Mini. In late 2007, the magazine Auto Express, after continued rumours that Triumph be revived with BMW ownership, featured a story showing an image of what a new version of the TR4 might look like. BMW has not commented officially on this.

Triumph advert - 1937

Triumph advert - 1937

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Friday 24th September 1948

69 years ago

Motorcycle builder Soichiro Honda founded the Honda Motor Company in Hamamatsu, Japan. In the 1960s, the company achieved worldwide fame for its motorcycles (in particular, its C100 Super Cub, which became the world’s best-selling vehicle); in the 1970s, it achieved worldwide fame for its affordable, fuel-efficient cars. Today, in large part because of its continued emphasis on affordability, efficiency and eco-friendliness (its internal motto is “Blue skies for our children”), the company is doing better than most. Before he founded the company that bore his name, Soichiro Honda was a drifter and a dreamer. He bounced from one mechanic’s job to another, and also worked as a babysitter, a race car driver and an amateur distiller. Even his wife said he was a “wizard at hardly working.” In 1946, he took over an old factory that lay mostly in ruins from wartime bombings, though he did not have much of a plan for what he would do there. First he tried building what he called a “rotary weaving machine”; next he tried to mass-produce frosted glass windows, then woven bamboo roof panels. Finally, after he came across a cache of surplus two-stroke motors, he had an idea: motorbikes. Honda adapted the motors to run on turpentine and affixed them to flimsy cycle frames built by workers at the Hamamatsu factory. The bikes sold like hotcakes to people desperate for a way to get around in postwar Japan, where there was virtually no gasoline and no real public transit. Soon enough, Honda had sold out of those old engines and was making his own. In 1947, the factory produced its first complete motorbike, the one-half horsepower A-Type (nicknamed “The Chimney” because it was so smoky and smelly). After the company’s incorporation, Honda produced a more sophisticated bike: the 1949 steel-framed, front- and rear-suspended D-Type that could go as fast as 50 miles per hour. At the end of the 1950s, it introduced the Cub, a Vespa clone that was especially popular with women and was the first Honda product to be sold in the United States. Starting in the 1960s, the company produced a few small cars and sporty racers, but it wasn’t until it introduced the Civic in 1973 that it really entered the auto market. The car’s CVCC engine burned less fuel and could pass American emissions tests without a catalytic converter; as a result, the car was a hit with American drivers frustrated by rising gasoline costs. The slightly larger, plusher 1976 Accord won even more fans, and in 1989 it became the most popular car in the United States. More recently, the customer base for Honda’s efficient, environmentally friendly cars has grown exponentially. Its tiny Fit car is selling well, and the company has plans to introduce a five-door hybrid model that will compete with Toyota’s Prius. Soichiro Honda was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1989. He died two years later at the age of 84.

Soichiro Honda

Soichiro Honda

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Thursday 31st October 1957

60 years ago

Two months after a three-man Toyota team flew to Los Angeles to survey the U.S. market, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. was founded in California with Shotaro Kamiya as the first president. Toyota's first American headquarters were located in an auto dealership in downtown Hollywood, California, and by the end of 1958, 287 Toyopet Crowns and one Land Cruiser had been sold. Over the next decade, Toyota quietly made progress into the Big Three-dominated U.S. car market, offering affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles like the Toyota Corolla as an alternative to the grand gas-guzzlers being produced in Detroit at the time. But the real watershed for Toyota and other Japanese automakers came during the 1970s, when, after enjoying three decades of domination, American automakers had lost their edge. On top of the severe quality issues that plagued domestic automobiles during the early 1970s, the Arab oil embargoes of 1973 and 1979 created a public demand for fuel-efficient vehicles that the Big Three were unprepared to meet. The public turned to imports in droves, and suddenly Japan's modest but sturdy little compacts began popping up on highways all across America. The Big Three rushed to produce their own fuel-efficient compacts, but shoddily constructed models like the Chevy Vega and Ford Pinto could not compete with the overall quality of the Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics. Domestic automakers eventually bounced back during the 1980s, but Japanese automakers retained a large portion of the market. In 1997, the Toyota Camry became the best-selling car in America, surpassing even Honda's popular Accord model.

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Thursday 4th June 1959

58 years ago

The American Honda Motor Company was established in Los Angeles, California, initially to develop a market for Honda motorcycles.

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Thursday 25th October 1962

55 years ago

Many prototypes were displayed again at the opening of the 9th Tokyo Motor Show. The highlight was the debut of Honda Sports 360 and 500. These were the first 4-wheeled cars produced by Honda, which had become a world-famous motorcycle manufacturer. Both cars were high-performance, miniature sports cars, equipped with a 4-cylinder, twin-cam engine generating a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) for Model 360 and more than 130 km/h (80 mph) for Model 500. Toyota displayed the Publica Sports with a futuristic body and no door. It had a canopy that slid backward like that on a fighter plane. Nissan displayed the Fairlady with a detachable hardtop. Popular sports cars were the Mitsubishi Colt Convertible and Prince Sports Convertible.

Honda Sports 360 (prototype)

Honda Sports 360 (prototype)

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Tuesday 14th April 1964

53 years ago

Ronnie Bucknum became Honda's unlikely choice to spearhead their Grand Prix challenge back. Honda engineers had seen him racing a Porsche 904 at Sebring and felt that his lack of an international racing pedigree had its attractions since he could test and race the RA 272 without raising undue attention or expectations.

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Sunday 2nd August 1964

53 years ago

The first grand prix car with a transversely mounted twelve-cylinder engine, the 1.5 litre Honda RA271, made its debut, at the 1964 German Grand Prix. The Honda RA271 was Honda's second Formula One racing car, and its first to actually enter a race. It was developed around Honda's revolutionary F1 engine, a 1.5 L V12, at a time when V8s dominated the F1 paddock, as constructed by BRM, Climax, Ferrari and ATS. The only other major manufacturer deviating from the received V8 wisdom were Ferrari, who experimented with both V6 and flat-12 layouts, although they ultimately elected to stick with their V8. No other manufacturers were running V12s at the time. The RA271 made its race debut during the 1964 Formula One season, just one year after Honda started producing road cars, and was the first Japanese-built car ever to enter a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The car was initially entered for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, but the car was not ready in time. The car actually competed for the first time at the German Grand Prix. As well as Honda's F1 debut, this race was also the debut for their American driver Ronnie Bucknum, and to make things even trickier the race took place on the daunting Nürburgring circuit, widely considered to be one of the most demanding in the world. Of the 24 entrants, only the fastest 22 would qualify. Bucknum was lucky to qualify as he ended the practice sessions third slowest. The two non-qualifiers were the Scirocco-Climax of Belgian driver André Pilette, which was hopelessly off the pace, and Carel Godin de Beaufort, who was killed during the session in a tragic accident at the wheel of his privately entered Porsche 718. Bucknum was some 20 seconds slower than the next slowest competitor, Giancarlo Baghetti at the wheel of a BRM, and almost a minute off the pole time of John Surtees's Ferrari. Despite a poor qualifying, Bucknum had a better race and consistently ran just outside the top ten throughout the race, ahead of many of the independent Lotus and BRM entrants. Despite a spin late in the race, allowing Richie Ginther's BRM to pass him, the reliability of the Honda allowed him to finish 13th as many of his rivals broke down (or crashed in Peter Revson's case), four laps behind winner Surtees. The team then missed the Austrian Grand Prix before returning for the Italian Grand Prix at the iconic Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Bucknum's qualifying was greatly improved as he qualified 10th, ahead of the Brabham of double world champion Jack Brabham and comfortably clear of the mark required to qualify for the race as one of the 20 fastest drivers. He was only three seconds shy of Surtees, who was the pole sitter once again, and this marked a huge improvement for the Japanese team. Although a poor start left him down in 16th, he quickly climbed through the field and ran as high as 7th before a brake failure forced him out of the race on lap 13. His ability to keep pace with the works BRM and Brabham cars in this race gave great hope for the future of Honda in F1. The next race was the United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. As there were only 19 entrants, there was no threat of failing to qualify, and Bucknum was well within three seconds of Jim Clark's pole time for Lotus. The high quality of the field, however, meant that he was down in 14th place, although he did outqualify 1961 world champion Phil Hill, now driving for Cooper. He once again ran the race just outside the top ten, fighting for long periods with the Lotuses of Walt Hansgen (works) and Mike Hailwood (RPR) and Richie Ginther's BRM. However, on lap 51 a cylinder head gasket in one of the Honda's twelve cylinders failed, and Bucknum was out of the race. This was to be the end of Honda's debut season, as they did not travel to the final race in Mexico City. The RA271 was replaced for 1965 by the RA272, so its best result remains 13th place at its debut race in Germany. Its best grid place was Bucknum's 10th place at Monza.

Honda RA271

Honda RA271

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Sunday 24th October 1965

52 years ago

Richie Ginther won the Mexican Grand Prix at 94.26 mph to give Honda its first ever Formula One victory. It was also tyre supplier Goodyear's first ever win.

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Friday 29th October 1965

52 years ago

The 12th Toyko Motor Show was held immediately after imports of passenger cars were liberalized on October 1. Models exhibited: large luxurious models, the President and the new Cedric, equipped with Japan s first V6, 3.0-liter and V8, 4.0-liter engines, and the Crown equipped with a 6-cylinder engine. Small cars concentrated on the 800-1000cc class: the fastback Colt 800, the Honda S800 and N800, the Subaru 1000 equipped with new features, and the Familia Coupe (1000). These models attracted attention as family cars geared to the "my car days," and not to be used as taxies. Sports cars such as Prince R380, Hino GT Prototype, Toyota 2000GT and Honda F-1 Racer challenged speed records and attracted the attention of young enthusiasts. Overseas participants in the show were the Soviet Union and U.K. firms, with twelve exhibits: the Moskvitch 400, the Austin Healey 3000 Mark III, the Austin 1800, and the Morris Mini Cooper.

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Sunday 10th September 1967

50 years ago

John Surtees snatched victory in Italy after Jim Clark's epic drive was let down by a fuel pump failure. It was the sixth and final career Grand Prix victory for Surtees, as well as first ever race for the RA300 machine that he drove to the win. This race is considered one of Jim Clark's greatest performances in Formula One. He led the race until lap 12 when he picked up a puncture and lost an entire lap. He then spent the next 48 laps recovering through the field, amazingly taking the lead on lap 60, and pulled away. But on the final lap, a faulty fuel pump had restricted him to third place. Jack Brabham and Surtees passed the Scotsman and finished first and second, with Surtees ahead by less than a car length at the line. This was the second victory for the Honda F1 team, and the last for the factory team until Jenson Button won the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix.

John Surtees winning the 1967 Italian Grand Prix

John Surtees winning the 1967 Italian Grand Prix

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Tuesday 14th May 1968

49 years ago

British Leyland Motor Corporation was formed through the merger of British Motor Holdings Ltd. and Leyland Motor Corp. Ltd. It was partly nationalised in 1975, when the UK government created a holding company called British Leyland, later BL, in 1978. With headquarters in London, the company had interests in about 95 percent of the British automotive industry, and it manufactured vehicles ranging from commercial trucks and buses to private automobiles, construction equipment, and engines.Leyland, initially the dominant partner in the merger, was the first British manufacturer to concentrate on commercial vehicles. James Sumner of Leyland, Lancashire, built his first steam-driven wagon in 1884; and in 1896 he allied with the wealthy Spurrier family to set up the Lancashire Steam Motor Company, renamed Leyland Motors Ltd. in 1907, after its first experiments with gasoline engines. Except briefly in 1920–23, the company did not produce automobiles until 1961, when it acquired Triumph Motor Co. Ltd. (Triumph had begun in 1903 as a motorcycle manufacturer and began making cars in 1923.) In 1966 Leyland merged with another car manufacturer, The Rover Co. Ltd. (founded 1904), and the combined companies became Leyland Motor Corp. Ltd. The first chairman of the new British Leyland in 1968, Donald Gresham Stokes, Baron Stokes, had also been the old Leyland’s last chairman. British Motor Holdings Ltd. had a much more complex history, but basically it grew out of three auto manufacturers: Morris, Austin, and Jaguar. Early in the 20th century William Richard Morris (later 1st Viscount Nuffield) founded a garage in Oxford, which after 1910 became known as Morris Garages Limited. In the 1920s, with Cecil Kimber as general manager, it began producing the popular M.G. cars, which were manufactured until 1980, when they were discontinued because of rising production costs. The M.G. Car Company was created in 1927 and was absorbed by another Morris car company, Morris Motors Ltd., in 1935. In that same year, another organization, Wolseley Motors Ltd. (founded in 1901 and taken over by Morris in 1927), was similarly absorbed. In 1952 another venerable car manufacturer, Austin Motor Co. Ltd. (founded in 1905 by Herbert Austin), merged with Morris Motors to form British Motor Corporation Ltd. It continued to turn out Austin, Morris, M.G., and Wolseley cars and the highly successful “Mini” series. Although production of the Mini Cooper ended in 1971, the model was relaunched in 1990 and by 2001 was selling internationally through parent company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW). The first Jaguar car was produced in 1936 by S.S. Cars Ltd. (founded 1932 in Coventry), which was renamed Jaguar Cars Ltd. in 1945 both to avoid the accidental reminder of the German SS and to highlight the name of the make that had proved to be most successful. Jaguar in 1960 bought Daimler Co. Ltd. (founded 1893), makers of limousines and other prestige cars; and in 1961 it bought Guy Motors Ltd. (founded 1919), a commercial-vehicle manufacturer. In 1966 Jaguar amalgamated with the Austin-Morris interests (i.e., the British Motor Corporation) to form British Motor Holdings Ltd., which two years later merged with Leyland to become British Leyland; in 1984 Jaguar was sold. With two successive name changes, British Leyland became BL Limited in 1979. The company assumed its current name in 1982. In 1981 BL entered into a joint venture with Honda Motor Company, Ltd., of Japan to produce Japanese-designed Triumph Acclaims in the United Kingdom. BL began selling its interests in the 1980s, and by 1990 the Ford Motor Company had acquired full ownership of Jaguar. BMW purchased Rover in 1994 but later sold the sport utility vehicle (SUV) brand to Ford, which continued to develop the Land Rover line of SUVs as part of its Premier Automotive Group. That group also comprised Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Volvo.

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Sunday 7th July 1968

49 years ago

Jo Schlesser (40) died during the French Grand Prix after only two laps, after his car slid wide at the Six Frères corner and crashed sideways into a bank. The magnesium-bodied Honda and 58 laps worth of fuel ignited instantly, leaving Schlesser with no chance of survival. As a result, Honda withdrew from Formula One at the end of the 1968 season after Surtees again refused to drive the car at the Italian Grand Prix.

Jo Schlesser

Jo Schlesser

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Saturday 20th July 1968

49 years ago

Contested over 80 laps, the British Grand Prix was won by Jo Siffert, his first Formula One victory, and the first victory by a Swiss driver. The dreadful 1968 season had seen four Formula 1 drivers killed between April and July in a variety of racing machinery. British fans has lost both Jim Clark and Mike Spence but Graham Hill arrived at Brands Hatch with a big lead in the World Championship and with seven other British drivers in the 20-car field there was plenty for the fans to cheer. The only major change from the miserable French GP (where Honda driver Jo Schlesser had been killed) was the arrival in the Cooper-BRM team of Robin Widdows. The cars had sprouted increasingly dramatic rear wings in an effort to get as much downforce as possible. Qualifying showed that Team Lotus was dominant with Hill fastest by half a second and Jack Oliver alongside him. Chris Amon completed the front row in his Ferrari. On the second row Jo Siffert (Rob Walker Lotus) lined up alongside Jochen Rindt's Brabham while the third row featured Dan Gurney (back in action after missing several races in his Eagle-Weslake because of engine problems), Jack Stewart in Ken Tyrrell's Matra-Ford and Jack Brabham's Brabham. There was light rain at the start (for the third consecutive race) and Oliver took the lead from Hill and Siffert. The leading Lotus was trailing smoke and on the fourth lap Oliver was overtaken by Hill. Despite the smoke trail Oliver remained second. On the 27th lap. however, Hill went out with a rear suspension failure and so Oliver went back into the lead. behind him Siffert fought for second place with Amon but gradually the Lotus driver moved away. On lap 44 Oliver came to a halt with a transmission failure and so Siffert inherited the lead and went on to win Rob Walker's first victory in seven years. The Ferraris of Amon and Ickx came home second and third.

British Grand Prix - 1968

British Grand Prix - 1968

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Friday 24th October 1969

48 years ago

Vehicles exhibited at the 16th Toyko Motor Show included the midship type Bellett MX 1600 exhibited by Isuzu, the mini racing machine by Suzuki, and the rotary coupe R100 with racing specifications by Mazda. The Honda 1300 Coupe 7 and the Mitsubishi Colt Formula FIIB attracted much praise. Nissan set up a sports corner exhibiting the R 382, the Japan Grand Prux winner, which showed the company’s enthusiasm toward motor sports. Among new models, the Mitsubishi Colt Gallant, especially the Gallant GTX-1 (GTO s base model) to be sold in 1970 was most popular.

Honda 1300 Coupe 7

Honda 1300 Coupe 7

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Thursday 1st March 1973

44 years ago

The Honda Civic was introduced to the US market as an alternative to the inefficient cars offered by American car companies. The 1973 OPEC oil embargo made car owners aware of the advantages of fuel economy. Early Honda advertisements boasted "The Honda Civic. More miles per gallon than anybody."

Honda Civic (1973-75)

Honda Civic (1973-75)

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Thursday 12th July 1973

44 years ago

The Honda Civic went on sale, initially as a two-door model, followed by a three-door hatchback 2 months later. It had a transverse 1,169-cc engine mounting and front-wheel drive. Early models were rather basic with an AM-only radio, foam-cushioned plastic trim, 2-speed wipers, and painted steel rims with chrome wheelnut caps. Developed at a time when Honda was considering withdrawing from the car business if the plan failed, the Civic was well received in the marketplace, even winning the 1973 Car of the Year Award.

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Saturday 22nd September 1973

44 years ago

Mick Hand took his 250cc Honda to a new World record of 10.5 seconds for the standing quarter mile at Elvington, Yorkshire. Paul Windross failed to break any records but did cover the flying quarter in 4.91 seconds at 183.29mph on his double-engined Triumph. On four wheels John Dodds took his famous Rolls Royce Merlin engined creation to a World record for the flying quarter at 6.695 seconds and 136.36mph.

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Wednesday 1st January 1975

42 years ago

The Honda Civic CVCC was introduced in the US.

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Friday 31st October 1975

42 years ago

Toyota displayed TTC-C and TTC-V systems and also the Gas Turbine Century at the opening of the 21st Tokyo Motor Show. Nissan exhibited the Steam Engine Cedric and showed its NAPS system using a multi-media show. Honda displayed its ESV with CVCC engine. Mitsubishi stressed high performance and low pollution by combining its Astro Engine and emission cleaning system MCA. Mazda displayed the rotary engine REAP and reciprocating engine CEAP system. Isuzu exhibited the Gemini Coupe which cleared the 1975 regulations by introducing GM technology for air injection EGRplus a catalytic converter. Fuji Heavy Industries announced the Leone Sports equipped with the SEEC-T system that cleared the 1976 regulation and attracted wide attention. The only new models displayed were the Toyota Corolla Sprinter Liftback, Silvia, and Cosmo s revival model. The rest of the exhibits had radical technological innovations under their hoods, but looked unchanged and mostly modest.

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Sunday 6th January 1980

37 years ago

Jimmy Carter signed a bill authorising $1.2 billion in federal loans to save the failing Chrysler Corporation. At the time it was the largest federal bailout in history. The "Big Three" American car makers (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) had suffered through the 1970s, as Japanese competitors led by Honda and Toyota outperformed them in quality and price. Chrysler, which lacked the vast cash reserves of GM and Ford, was brought to the brink of bankruptcy by 1980. The federal bailout, which required Chrysler to find billions in private financing in order to receive the federal money, brought Chrysler back from the brink. Lee Iacocca, the charismatic executive largely responsible for Ford's successful Mustang, joined Chrysler in late 1979, and engineered the company's return to profitability during the 1980s.

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Wednesday 7th October 1981

36 years ago

The Triumph Acclaim, a badge-engineered Honda, was introduced and was produced until 1984 when the Triumph marque was discontinued. The development process began in 1978, when British Leyland entered into negotiations with Honda to develop a new small family saloon. This was originally intended as a stopgap measure until the Maestro/Montego models were to be ready for production in 1983. On 26 December 1979 Michael Edwardes officially signed a collaboration between the two companies. The new car went into production 18 months later, badged as the Triumph Acclaim and based on the Honda Ballade (which was not sold in Europe). It replaced the Triumph Dolomite, which had finished production a year earlier at the defunct Canley plant in Coventry. The end of Dolomite and TR7 production meant that the Acclaim was the only car to wear the Triumph badge after 1981. The Acclaim was significant as the first essentially Japanese car to be built within the European Economic Community (now the European Union), to bypass Japan's voluntary limit of 11 percent market of the total number of European sales. The Acclaim was also a major turnaround point for BL itself, with the car sporting good reliability and build quality from the outset - a stark contrast to the quality issues which had plagued the Austin Allegro and Morris Marina during the 1970s. The Acclaim holds the record for the lowest percentage of warranty claims for a BL car. Unlike previous Triumphs, it was assembled at the Pressed Steel Fisher Plant at Cowley Oxford, taking over the withdrawn Austin Maxi production lines. It paved the way for the Honda-based, Rover-badged range of cars which BL (and successor organisations Austin Rover and Rover Group) would develop throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The most notable outward change from the Honda was the appearance of a central badge on the grille. At the time, the Japanese model had "Honda" to the right-hand side of the grille. Other changes included twin Keihin carburettors (the Ballade had only a single carburettor), the mirrors were situated on the doors, the independent front and rear MacPherson strut suspension was tweaked for the UK market and the seats were based on Morris Ital frames. The Acclaim was provided in a more luxurious interior trim than its Honda equivalent, even in its base models. The brakes were disc at the front and drum at the rear. All Acclaims were powered by the transverse-mounted all alloy and overhead-cam 1335 cc engine found in the Honda Civic. This engine was a member of the Honda CVCC family, although the cast alloy rocker cover with Honda branding was replaced with a plain black pressed steel item for the Acclaim to disguise the car's Honda origins. The engine drove the front wheels through either a five-speed manual gearbox or a three-speed Trio-matic (which was a manually selectable automatic transmission) gearbox (the same as the Hondamatic) and the interior was nearly identical (except for the seats). The usual BL trim levels were offered: L, HL, HLS and the top of the range CD, which had front and rear electric windows, chrome bumpers, headlamp washers, 165/70 tyres (the L had 145/80 tyres and the HL & HLS had 155/80 tyres), plastic wheel trims, velour upholstery with seat pockets on the back of the front seats, front seat head restraints and optional air conditioning. The car remained largely the same throughout its production life. A Mark 2 version of the Acclaim came out in 1983 (from VI No. 180415 onwards). The main changes were to the exterior door handles, an electronic digital clock replaced the previous mechanical one, a restyled steering wheel, a restyled gear knob, the rear interior door handles (they were just swapped) and the heater recirculation control, which was moved. Mark 2 HL and HLS cars were better equipped than the earlier ones. There was a limited-edition Avon Acclaim, getting its name from Avon coachbuilders of Warwick who did the conversion work, that had leather seats with piping to match the body colour, leather door panels, wooden and leather trimmed dashboard, wooden door cappings, two-tone metallic paint, colour-coded wheels with chrome embellishers, chrome-plated grille, colour-coded headlamp surrounds, vinyl roof and extra soundproofing. There was also an Avon Turbo, which had Lunar alloy wheels with 205/60 tyres, suede upholstery, front air dam, and side decals. A Turbo Technics turbocharger increased the engine's power output from the standard 70 bhp to 105 bhp. It is thought that there are only four surviving Avon Turbos including the press car (VWK689X), which was the first Avon Turbo. The acclaim was Britain's seventh best selling car in 1982 and the eighth best selling car in 1983. Production finished in the summer of 1984 when the Rover 200 was launched, based on the next incarnation of the Honda Ballade. A total of 133,625 Acclaims were produced, the vast majority of which were sold in the UK. The last Acclaim off the production line (a silver CD with the Trio-matic) is now in the Heritage Motor Centre. The Acclaim's demise saw the end of the Triumph marque as a car (although the name continues in motorcycles), as Austin Rover's restructuring retained only the Austin, Rover and MG marques, and by 1989 even the Austin marque had been axed. Earlier in 1984, Austin Rover had confirmed that the Triumph brand would be discontinued when the Acclaim was replaced, and its successor would be badged as a Rover. On Sunday 9 October 2011, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Acclaim, 23 Acclaims were gathered at the Cowley works where the cars were built and the Heritage Motor Centre. This included the oldest known surviving Acclaim, the first Avon Turbo, the final production Acclaim and the only known nut-and-bolt restored Acclaim.

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Saturday 10th October 1981

36 years ago

Europe’s first license-built Japanese car was launched, the Triumph Acclaim, nee Honda Ballada. The four door medium sized saloon had front-wheel drive, was powered by a 1.3 litre 70 bhp petrol engine, and was between the Ford Escort and Ford Cortina in terms of size.

Triumph Acclaim

Triumph Acclaim

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Monday 1st November 1982

35 years ago

Honda production began in the US as a 1992 Accord rolled off the assembly line at the Marysville, Ohio plant of the Honda of America Manufacturing Company.

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Sunday 10th April 1983

34 years ago

Race of Champions, a non-championship Formula One race was held at Brands Hatch. It was also the last non-championship F1 race to be held in the sport's history. The reigning world champion Keke Rosberg in the Williams FW08, narrowly beat Danny Sullivan in his Tyrrell. Former world champion Alan Jones finished third in his last drive for Arrows. Rosberg and Arnoux held their grid positions off the line, but Sullivan rose to third place after being given a nudge under braking for the first corner, the extra momentum forcing him into overtaking Jones around the outside instead of hitting him. Arnoux used the estimated 650 bhp (485 kW; 659 PS) available from his Ferrari 126C2B to blast past Rosberg on the straight at Pilgrims Drop on the first lap, but tyre trouble prevented him from pulling away. Johansson was the first retirement after four laps, the new Honda engine failing on its F1 début. Johansson had made a good start and had passed four cars before the Honda engine started to smoke going into Dingle Dell on lap 4 while chasing Rebaque. After a quiet first start with turbo power, Nigel Mansell ended his race with handling difficulties two laps later. On lap seven, Arnoux, who had been passed for the lead by Rosberg going into Surtees, pitted for new tyres, his Ferrari wearing its rubber extremely quickly despite cool ambient temperatures (Arnoux also had major tyre troubles in practice and was lucky not to damage the car after blowing a rear tyre at speed on the run to Clearways). By lap 23 and two further stops, his team had no further sets of tyres and he was forced to retire with camshaft trouble, although he had set the fastest lap of the race as consolation, though his lap of 1:17.826 in the flat bottomed Ferrari was 5.458 seconds shy of Didier Pironi's lap record of 1:12.368 set at the 1980 British Grand Prix in a ground effects Ligier-Ford. Watson retired with a bad driveline vibration, while Rebaque retired with tyre and suspension failure in a car he wasn't totally comfortable with. In commentary, Murray Walker claimed that Rebaque looked at sea in the powerful Brabham-BMW, despite his recent experience in racing cars at the ultra-fast Indianapolis Motor Speedway and other oval speedways in the American-based CART series. Serra's car broke its gear linkage also retired from the race. At around half-distance of the forty-lap race, Rosberg also began to suffer from tyre wear, particularly blistering to his left-rear. Sullivan was using a softer-compound set of tyres, but had "scrubbed" them in the pre-race warm-up and had no such problems. For the final fifteen laps, he was right behind Rosberg, but never managed to overtake the Williams. Despite running side-by-side at places on the last lap, Rosberg held on to win from Sullivan, with Jones (still with two pins in his hip after breaking it falling off a horse on his farm in Australia) half a minute behind in third. Henton, Boesel, and the lapped Schlesser and Guerrero completed the finishers. Rosberg would later add the championship Monaco Grand Prix to his victory haul in 1983, but the other finishers would not approach their results at this race in any other F1 Grand Prix in 1983.

1983 Race of Champions

1983 Race of Champions

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Tuesday 26th April 1983

34 years ago

The Honda Motor Company Ltd. dedicated their new Ohio assembly plant .

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Friday 22nd July 1983

34 years ago

The Ford Orion was introduced in Europe. Over 3.5 million Orion’s, which was in essence a saloon version of the Ford Escort, were sold throughout the car's 10-year life. In the early 1980s, Ford's model line-up and image was changing, reflecting shifting patterns in the new car market across Western Europe at this time, as front-wheel drive gradually became more popular than rear-wheel drive and hatchbacks began to eclipse traditional saloons and estates. The company's older saloon line-up was replaced mainly by hatchbacks, starting with the Escort MK3 in 1980 and the new Sierra (which replaced the Cortina) in 1982. By 1985, even the top-of-the-range Granada would offer a hatchback bodystyle, with the saloon and estate models not debuting until the early 1990s, while a booted version of the Sierra was finally launched in 1987. The Orion was designed to fill the market demand for a traditional four-door saloon, which had been absent from the Escort range since the end of MK2 production in 1980, and also in larger cars by the demise of the hugely popular Cortina in 1982. The Orion looked similar to a contemporary Escort at the front apart from the different grille design, but the rear of the Orion had a long flat boot (making the car a three-box saloon design) rather than a hatchback or estate body like the Escort. Although the Orion's length was similar to that of the contemporary Ford Sierra (then only available as a hatchback) it had more rear legroom and a larger boot. This concept was similar to the Volkswagen Jetta, the saloon version of the Golf hatchback which had been on sale since 1979. Ford initially offered the Orion in only GL and Ghia trim levels, missing out on the lower specification levels available on the Escort, as well as the basic 1100cc engine. Only 1300 cc and 1600 cc CVH engine options were available from launch (though with both carburettor and fuel injection options on the 1.6 Ghia). A lower specification L model was introduced in 1984 as was the option of a 1.6 diesel engine on L and GL models. The Orion Ghia 1.6i standard features included central locking, sunroof, sport front seats, electric windows, rear head restraints, tachometer and an information binnacle informing the driver when the vehicle needed maintenance. All of these features were rare equipment on a small family car in the 1980s, giving the Orion upmarket pretensions. The Orion 1.6i shared an engine with the Escort XR3i and offered similar performance and handling without the insurance unfriendly tag that the XR badge started to command in the late 1980s due to its popularity with car thieves - and it was also less frequently targeted by thieves than the Escort XR3i or RS Turbo. The 1.6i was topped by a luxury limited edition called the 1600E in the autumn of 1988, the 1600E name harking back to the Mark II Ford Cortina 1600E from 20 years earlier, as both were considered to be well-equipped saloon cars with decent performance for the working person. The Orion 1600E was available in black, white and metallic grey and had RS alloys, wood cappings on the dashboard and doors, and grey leather seats. Only 1,600 were made, of which 1,000 had leather trim. With the facelift in 1986, Ford brought the styling and engineering of the Orion closer to the Escort's and lower-specification models crept into the range along with equipment levels being brought together between the two cars, and helped Orion sales increase further. The Orion also gained the new 1.4 "lean burn" petrol engine which was added to the Escort at this time. The success of the Orion across Europe, particularly in Britain (where it was among the top 10 selling cars every year from 1984 to 1990), was followed by several other manufacturers launching saloon versions of their popular hatchbacks. By 1986, General Motors had launched a saloon version of its Opel Kadett/Vauxhall Astra hatchback, which was sold as the Vauxhall Belmont on the British market. Austin Rover, on the other hand, made use of a Honda design for its new Rover 200 Series saloon, which was launched in 1984 and gave buyers a booted alternative to the Maestro hatchback, although with a totaly different platform, as the true booted variant of the Maestro was the larger and more upmarket Montego. The Orion was launched around the same time as the Fiat Regata, saloon and estate versions of the Ritmo (Strada in Britain), although the Regata was aimed further upmarket at cars like the Ford Sierra. The Orion was a strong seller in Britain, peaking as the seventh best selling car in 1987 and 1988 with over 70,000 sales.

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Saturday 11th February 1984

33 years ago

The Chicago Motor Show was opened by Mayor Harold Washington and Illinois Secretary of State Jim Edgar. More than 700 vehicles were exhibited including the new sporty Pontiac Fiero, the Honda CRX, the Nissan 300 ZX and the Ford Mustang SVO. Chevrolet offered visitors a glimpse of the redesigned Chevrolet Cavalier Type 10, displayed with a special Chicago appearance package. Concept vehicles shown included the four-wheel steering Mazda MX-02, Nissan NX-21 (dubbed family car of the Nineties), Ford Ghia Barchetta convertible, mid-engined Toyota SV-3 prototype, Oldsmobile diesel Ciera ES, and Chevrolet's fiberglass Citation IV.

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Monday 23rd July 1984

33 years ago

Austin Rover announced its second new car launch of the year — the Rover 200, a four-door saloon which replaced the Triumph Acclaim and was the combine's second product from its venture with Japanese car maker Honda. As a result, the Triumph marque was discontinued by Austin Rover. There have been three distinct generations of the Rover 200 during its 21 years (1984-2005) production run. The first generation was a four-door saloon car based on the Honda Ballade. The second generation was available in three or five-door hatchback forms, as well a coupé and cabriolet (in relatively small numbers). Its sister model, the Honda Concerto was built on the same production line in Rover's Longbridge factory. The final generation was developed independently by Rover on the platform of its predecessor, and was available as a three or five-door hatchback. Just before the sale of Rover in 2000, and following a facelift, the model was renamed and sold as the Rover 25, and the MG ZR was based on the Rover 25 with mechanical changes to the suspension. Production ceased in 2005 when MG Rover went into administration. Production rights and tooling for the model, but not the Rover name, now belong to Chinese car manufacturer Nanjing.

Rover 200 - 1984

Rover 200 - 1984

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Sunday 7th October 1984

33 years ago

The European Grand Prix was the first major race was run on the new 4.54 km (2.82 mi) Nürburgring GP-Strecke and the first time F1 had returned to the 'Ring since the 1976 German Grand Prix that was held on the old 22.835 km (14.19 mi) Nordschleife circuit. During the race morning warm-up session, Alain Prost spun his McLaren-TAG and hit a course car parked at the side of the circuit. Young Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna triggered a first corner accident which took out the cars of Rosberg, Marc Surer, Gerhard Berger, and Piercarlo Ghinzani. Senna's Toleman (which had started 12th) had run into the back of Rosberg's Williams under braking at the end of the main straight which caused the accident. Rosberg had started fourth (after blowing his Honda engine coming out of the final corner of his qualifying lap), but was slow off the line as his engine had suddenly developed a misfire. After qualifying second on the grid, Alain Prost won the race in his McLaren from the Ferrari of Michele Alboreto and the Brabham-BMW of defending World Champion Nelson Piquet, with both the Ferrari and Brabham running out of fuel as they crossed the finish line. When they got out of their cars which stopped at the pit exit, Alboreto and Piquet raised their arms to each other in a gesture of frustration at FISAs 220 litre fuel limit for turbos which had reduced races to economy runs. Niki Lauda, who had almost lost his life in a fiery crash while driving a Ferrari 312T2 during the 1976 German GP, started 15th and finished 4th in his McLaren, which could have been 3rd had it not been for a spin when he locked his brakes while lapping Mauro Baldi on lap 21. In stark contrast to the lack of safety of the Nordschleife, Lauda gave the new GP-Strecke the thumbs up as a very safe Grand Prix circuit, saying that it was "the perfect place to hold a Grand Prix". He also added that returning to the 'Ring held no fears for him as his accident was 8 years previous and if he had not gotten over it by then he never would.

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Sunday 21st October 1984

33 years ago

Second place in the final race of the season, the Portuguese Grand Prix, gave Niki Lauda the world motor-racing championship for the third time. The man who won the race, Lauda’s McLaren team-mate, Alain Prost, was pipped to the title by the narrowest of margins, just half a point. McLaren dominated the season, with Prost winning 7 races to equal the season wins record set by Jim Clark in 1963, and Lauda winning 5, making the McLaren MP4/2 the most dominant single season car in the sports history to that point. The team also scored four 1–2 results during the season to easily win the Constructors' Championship with a then-record 143.5 points, some 86 points in front of second-placed Ferrari. McLaren won 12 of the season's 16 races, with Brabham's reigning World Champion Nelson Piquet scoring two wins. Michele Alboreto (Ferrari) and Keke Rosberg (Williams-Honda) were the only other winners in the season with each winning a single race. For Japanese giant Honda, Rosberg's win in the Dallas Grand Prix in the United States would be the first of 40 wins for their turbocharged V6 engines until the turbos were banned following the 1988 season. It was also Honda's first win in Formula One since John Surtees had won the 1967 Italian Grand Prix at Monza driving the V12 powered Honda RA300 in its debut race. The Dallas Grand Prix was a one-off race, as the race was inexplicably run during the 100F heat of a Texas July summer; the weather and track temperatures were so high that the track broke up very badly. Aside from those problems, the circuit and the organization were well-received, and race was a classic- but only 7 cars finished. This was similar to the previous race in Detroit, where only 6 cars finished. Renowned British motorsports journalist Denis Jenkinson referred to these 2 American races as "demolition derbies". Zolder held its last Formula One Grand Prix when it hosted the third round Belgian Grand Prix. Fittingly at the track where Ferrari's Gilles Villeneuve had been killed in 1982, Michele Alboreto took pole and won the race carrying Villeneuve's #27 on his car. The Dijon-Prenois circuit also hosted its final Grand Prix when it hosted the French Grand Prix (Rd.5) won by Niki Lauda.

1984 champion Niki Lauda on the podium

1984 champion Niki Lauda on the podium

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Thursday 17th January 1985

32 years ago

Emilio Scotto of Argentina (30), quit his job, jumped on his Honda Gold Wing motorcycle, affectionately named "the black princess", and with $300 in hand, he headed down the street. Ten years, two months, and 19 days later he returned home to a hero's welcome, having circumnavigated the planet both clockwise and anticlockwise consecutively, visiting 214 countries and 28 territories. Five things Emilio used en-route: 42,000 litres of gasoline, 9 seats, 12 batteries, 86 tyres, and 700 litres of oil.

Emilio Scotto

Emilio Scotto

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Thursday 10th July 1986

31 years ago

Austin Rover launched its new Honda-based Rover 800 executive car, which replaced the decade-old Rover SD1 and was part of a joint venture with Japanese carmaker Honda. The car was also sold in America under the Sterling marque. The Honda version was badged as the Honda Legend.

Rover 800

Rover 800

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Sunday 12th July 1987

30 years ago

Nigel Mansell squeezed every last drop out of his Williams, overtaking team-mate Nelson Piquet three laps from the end of the British Grand Prix before running out of fuel on his lap of honour. Piercarlo Ghinzani had a less than memorable day after he ran out of fuel and was then push started by his mechanics. Add in that he had already angered stewards with a couple of extra laps at the end of qualifying, they wasted no time in disqualifying him. At the start, Prost was the quickest and took the lead, only to be passed by Piquet at Maggotts; Mansell soon followed his teammate. The race then became a close fight between the two Williams drivers, as neither Senna (also Honda powered) nor Prost were a match for them. Lotus were finding that while the active suspension worked well on bumpy street circuits, at smoother tracks like Silverstone finding balance with the car was proving difficult. Piquet led most of the race. By lap 35 Mansell was around 2 seconds behind his teammate. Both Williams drivers were scheduled to complete the race without a tyre change, but Mansell and the team elected to make a stop in order to change tyres. Mansell rejoined the race some 29 seconds behind Piquet, with 28 laps remaining. On fresh rubber Mansell began an epic charge which saw the lap record broken 8 times to the delight of the over 100,000 strong British crowd. By lap 62 the two cars were nose to tail and on lap 63 Mansell performed his now famous 'Silverstone Two Step' move, selling Piquet a dummy on the Hangar Straight and then diving down the inside into Stowe Corner. 2 corners after crossing the finish line, Mansell's car slowed down and was engulfed by the crowd. Initially it was thought that he had run out of fuel, but he had actually blown up the engine, out of the stress of running the last 6 laps on "Q" mode (which gives the engine +100hp), and risking running out of fuel at any moment (his fuel display was reading "minus 2.5 laps"). In fact that incident was the last straw for the patience of the Honda management, since it had – again – threatened their easily attainable 1, 2 result. Honda moved to McLaren the following year, leaving Williams with no options but to sign for underpowered Judd V8 units. Nelson Piquet went on to sign with Lotus on the following weeks, a move that kept Honda powering that team in 1988 as well. Senna finished a quiet race in third place while his teammate Satoru Nakajima had his best F1 finish by coming home 4th. Rounding out the points were Derek Warwick (Arrows-Megatron) and Teo Fabi (Benetton-Ford).

Nigel Mansell - 1987 British Grand Prix

Nigel Mansell - 1987 British Grand Prix

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Sunday 20th September 1987

30 years ago

Alain Prost recorded his 28th career win - beating the record of 27 held by Jackie Stewart since 1973 - at an event-filled Portuguese Grand Prix, his relentless harrying of long-time leader Gerhard Berger paying off two laps from the end when Berger spun his Ferrari. "I wasn't altogether surprised when he spun because we were both running very hard," Prost said. The race had to be restarted after the first attempt finished after two laps following a multi-car pile-up at the first corner. Off the track, the headlines were taken by a very unhappy Nigel Mansell, who made no secret of the fact he thought his Honda team were not working with him and that his car was "five miles-per-hour slower than the others". He retired after 13 laps with engine trouble, almost ending his hopes of winning the drivers' title.

Alain Prost - 1987

Alain Prost - 1987

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Tuesday 29th September 1987

30 years ago

Henry Ford II, longtime chairman of Ford Motor Company, died in Detroit at age 70. When his father Edsel, president of Ford, died of cancer in May 1943 (during World War II), Henry Ford II was serving in the Navy and unable to take over the presidency of the family-owned business. The elderly and ailing Henry Ford, company founder, re-assumed the presidency. By this point in his life, the elder Ford was mentally inconsistent, suspicious, and no longer fit for the job; most of the directors did not want to see him as president. But for the previous 20 years, although he had long been without any official executive title, he had always had de facto control over the company; the board and the management had never seriously defied him, and this moment was not different. The directors elected him, and he served until the end of the war.[5] During this period the company began to decline, losing over $10 million a month. The administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been considering a government takeover of the company in order to ensure continued war production, but the idea never progressed to execution. Henry Ford II left the Navy in July 1943 and joined the company's management a few weeks later. After two years, he assumed presidency of the business on September 21, 1945. Since it had been assumed that Edsel Ford would continue in his capacity as president of the company for much longer than turned out to be the case, Henry Ford II had received little grooming for the position, and he took over the company during a chaotic period; its European factories had suffered a great deal of damage during the war, and domestic sales were also in decline. Henry Ford II immediately adopted an aggressive management style. One of his first acts as company president was to place John Bugas in charge of taking control of the company from its entrenched management and firing Harry Bennett, head of the Ford Service Department, whom his grandfather initially hired to stifle attempts at unionization. Next, acknowledging his inexperience, he hired several seasoned executives to support him. He hired former General Motors executives Ernest Breech and Lewis Crusoe away from the Bendix Corporation. Breech was to serve in the coming years as HF2's business mentor, and the Breech–Crusoe team would form the core of Ford's business expertise, offering much-needed experience. Additionally, Henry Ford II hired ten young up-and-comers, known as the "Whiz Kids". These ten, gleaned from an Army Air Forces statistical team, Henry Ford II envisioned as giving the company the ability to innovate and stay current. Two of them, Arjay Miller and Robert McNamara, went on to serve as presidents of Ford themselves. A third member, J. Edward Lundy, served in key financial roles for several decades and helped to establish Ford Finance's reputation as one of the best Finance organizations in the world. As a team, the "whiz kids" are probably best remembered as the design team for the 1949 Ford, which they took from concept to production in nineteen months, and which re-established Ford as a formidable automotive company. It was reported that 100,000 orders for this car were taken the day it was introduced to the market. Henry Ford II was president of Ford Motor Company from 1945 to 1960. In 1956, under his leadership, the company became a publicly traded corporation and dedicated its new world headquarters building. When he resigned the presidency, he became CEO of the company. During his term as CEO of Ford, he resided in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. On July 13, 1960, he was additionally elected Chairman; he resigned as CEO on October 1, 1979, and as Chairman in 1980. His nephew, William Clay Ford, Jr. would later assume these positions after 20 years of non-Ford family management of the company. During the interim, the family interests were represented on the board by Henry's younger brother William Clay Ford, Sr., as well as Henry's son Edsel Ford II and his nephew William Clay Ford, Jr. During the early 1960s Henry Ford II engaged in lengthy negotiations with Enzo Ferrari to buy Ferrari, with a view to expanding Ford's presence in motorsport in general and at the Le Mans 24 Hours in particular. However negotiations collapsed due to disputes over control over Ferrari's racing division. The collapse of the deal led him to inaugurate the Ford GT40 project, intended to end Ferrari's dominance at Le Mans (the Italian marque won the race six consecutive times from 1960 to 1965). After two difficult years in 1964 and 1965, in 1966 GT40s locked out the podium at both the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours before taking the first of four consecutive wins at Le Mans.[6] In 1973 and 1974, as it became clear that the American car market would begin to favor smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, Ford's then-President Lee Iacocca was highly interested in buying powertrains from Honda Motor Company as a way to minimize the cost of developing a small Ford car for the North American market, such as a modified version of Ford of Europe's Ford Fiesta. The plan was rejected by Henry Ford II, who stated: "No car with my name on the hood is going to have a Jap engine inside." Although, strictly speaking, it was too late for that, as the Ford Motor Company had been selling a Mazda compact pickup truck as the Ford Courier since late 1971, Henry Ford II did not like the idea of flagship North American passenger car models moving in that direction. Ford Motor Company did go on to adapt to the era in which Japanese, German, and American participation in a globalized automobile industry became tightly integrated. For example, Ford's relationship with Mazda was well developed even before the end of HF2's period of influence. However, in Iacocca's view, it lagged several years behind GM and Chrysler, due to Henry Ford II's unappealable influence, before others led it forward despite his resistance. HF2's management style caused the company's fortunes to fluctuate in more ways than one. For example, he allowed the offering of public stock in 1956, which raised $650 million for the company, but the "experimental car" program instituted during his tenure, the Edsel, cost the company almost half that. Likewise, HF2 hired the creative Lee Iacocca, who was fundamental to the success of the Ford Mustang, in 1964, but fired Iacocca due to personal disputes in 1978 (about the break in their relationship, Iacocca quoted Ford as saying, "Sometimes you just don't like somebody"). He formally retired from all positions at Ford Motor Company on October 1, 1982, upon reaching the company's mandatory retirement age of 65, but remained the ultimate source of authority at Ford until his death in 1987.

Henry Ford II

Henry Ford II

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Friday 30th December 1988

28 years ago

Takeo Fujisawa (78), Japanese businessman who co-founded Honda Motor Co., Ltd. alongside Soichiro Honda, died of a heart attack. Fujisawa oversaw the financial side of the company while Honda handled the engineering and product development. Together, they took the company from a small manufacturer of bicycle engines to a worldwide car manufacturer.

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Thursday 13th July 1989

28 years ago

The Honda Motor Car Company Ltd announced plans to build a factory in Swindon, Wiltshire, England. Honda's decision to invest in production facilities in Swindon came as a result of Honda's collaboration with British Leyland (BL). (Note Much of the engine manufacturing equipment was shipped to Japan and has most recently been used in the production of the companies F1 power plant) (later the Rover Group), which started in 1979. Honda of the UK Manufacturing Ltd (HUM) was established in 1985 and production at the engine plant began in 1989. In 1992, production of the Honda Accord (which had the same design but different engines to the Rover 600 Series) began in Swindon, and a second engine line was installed. In 1994, production of the Honda Civic began in Swindon - the same year that the Rover-Honda venture ended due to Rover's takeover by BMW. Despite this, the 1995 Rover 400 Series was based on the new Honda Civic. In August 2000, it was revealed that United Kingdom–manufactured Honda cars would be exported to Japan for the first time. In the same year, the plant also began production of CR-V SUV, which had been on sale in the UK since 1997. In September 2001, HUM opened a second car assembly plant in Swindon, creating an additional 200 jobs at the site. In December 2001, workers at the Swindon plants voted to form a union, and be represented by the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union. In 2002, production of the Honda Accord ended at Swindon, with the new models being imported from Japan. In October 2002, Ken Keir, the then–managing director of HUM, stated that Honda would maintain vehicle production in the United Kingdom. This was irrespective of whether or not it joined the Eurozone. In September 2006, it was announced that Honda would be recruiting an additional 700 workers for the Swindon plants, and raising production of vehicles at the site by 32% to 250,000.[7][8] In February 2008 it was announced that Honda would be making an £80 million investment in new production facilities at the Swindon site for the manufacture of plastic car parts and metal castings for engines.[9] On 30 January 2009, due to the recession, which had sparked a fall in sales, it was announced that direct workers at the Swindon site would be laid off for four months until 1 June, with full-pay for the first two months of the period and about half-pay for the remainder. If the employee fell under the indirect staff or maintenance heading they, instead, would lose approximately £1,500 and be forced to remain at work. In October 2009, HUM began production of the Honda Jazz, which until then had been imported from Japan. Production of the Jazz at Swindon was halted in 2014, and once again it was imported from Japan only. In September 2012, Honda announced a £267 million investment programme the Swindon site. This was to support the introduction of new models of the Civic and CR-V, and a new 1.6-litre diesel engine. The investment would take

Honda car plant, Swindon, UK

Honda car plant, Swindon, UK

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Wednesday 11th October 1989

28 years ago

The Rover Group, Britain's largest independent carmaker, launched its new medium-sized hatchback, the 200 Series, (Mk 2) which replaced the small four-door saloon of the same name, and gave buyers a more modern and upmarket alternative to the ongoing Maestro range, which has declined in popularity recently. Essentially, the 200 series was a British built Honda Ballade. Engines employed were either the Honda Civic derived E series 'EV2' 71 PS (70 bhp) 1.3 litre 12 valve engine, or BL's own S-Series engine in 1.6 litre format (both in 86 PS (85 bhp) carburettor and 103 PS (102 bhp) Lucas EFi form). The resulting cars were badged as either Rover 213 or Rover 216.

Rover 200 Series Mk2

Rover 200 Series Mk2

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Monday 5th August 1991

26 years ago

Sochiro Honda, founder of the Honda Motor Company, died at the age of 84. In 1937, Honda founded Tōkai Seiki to produce piston rings for Toyota. During World War II, a US B-29 bomber attack destroyed Tōkai Seiki's Yamashita plant in 1944 and the Itawa plant collapsed in the 1945 Mikawa earthquake. After the war, Honda sold the salvageable remains of the company to Toyota for ¥450,000 and used the proceeds to found the Honda Technical Research Institute in October 1946. In 1948 he started producing a complete motorized bicycle, the Type A, which was driven by the first mass-produced engine designed by Honda, and was sold until 1951. The Type D in 1949 was a true motorcycle with a pressed-steel frame designed and produced by Honda and with a 2-stroke, 98 cc (6.0 cu in) 3 hp (2.2 kW) engine, and became the very first model in the Dream series of motorcycles. The Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan (Japanese) lists both the Type A and the Type D models as two of their 240 Landmarks of Japanese Automotive Technology. As president of the Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda turned the company into a billion-dollar multinational that produced the best-selling motorcycles in the world. Honda's engineering and marketing skills resulted in Honda motorcycles outselling Triumph and Harley-Davidson in their respective home markets. The next year, Honda was reacquainted with Takeo Fujisawa, whom he knew during his days as a supplier of piston rings to Nakajima Aircraft Company. Honda hired Fujisawa, who oversaw the financial side of the company and helped the firm expand. In 1959, Honda Motorcycles opened its first dealership in the United States. Honda remained president until his retirement in 1973, where he stayed on as director and was appointed "supreme advisor" in 1983. His status was such that People magazine placed him on their "25 Most Intriguing People of the Year" list for 1980, dubbing him "the Japanese Henry Ford." In retirement, Honda busied himself with work connected with the Honda Foundation.

Sochiro Honda

Sochiro Honda

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Sunday 8th November 1992

25 years ago

Daredevil Jacky Vranken of Belgium set a record for the highest speed ever attained on the rear wheel of a motorcycle. At St. Truiden Military Airfield in Belgium, Vranken reached 157.87 mph while performing an extended "wheelie" with his Suzuki GSXR 1100 motorcycle. The year before, Yasuyuki Kudo of Japan had set the record for the longest wheelie when he covered 205.7 miles nonstop on the rear wheel of his Honda TLM 220 R motorcycle at the Japan Automobile Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan.

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Sunday 8th November 1992

25 years ago

The most significant moment at the Australian Grand Prix was a collision between Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell as the Brazilian attempted to overtake the Englishman, eliminating both drivers. This was intended to be Mansell's final Formula One race before moving to IndyCars, although he returned briefly in 1994 and 1995. Martin Brundle (who spent 1993 with Ligier), race winner Gerhard Berger (who returned to Ferrari for 1993) and Riccardo Patrese (who joined Benetton for 1993) are among the many drivers for whom this was the final race with their current teams, while for Jan Lammers, Stefano Modena, Maurício Gugelmin, Olivier Grouillard it was the last race of their career. It was also rumored that it would be the last race for Ayrton Senna at McLaren, however this would ultimately prove false as the Brazilian would remain with the Woking based team for 1993. Nicola Larini started this race from the back of the grid. Jordan scored their only point of the season with Stefano Modena, while Thierry Boutsen (who won here in 1989) scored his only 1992 season points, and indeed the last points of his career. Benetton's double podium finish ensured that they scored points in every round. This was McLaren's final race using a Honda engine until 2015. The company ceased their full factory involvement in the sport following this race, although the Mugen arm of the company continued. They returned in 2000 as engine supplier to BAR. For both the Dallara and March teams, this was their last appearance in the sport.

Nigel Mansell

Nigel Mansell

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Monday 23rd November 1992

24 years ago

The Ford Mondeo was launched, with sales beginning on 22 March 1993. Intended as a world car, it replaced the Ford Sierra in Europe, the Ford Telstar in a large portion of Asia and other markets, while the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique replaced the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz in North America. Despite being billed as a world car, the only external items the Mondeo shared initially with the Contour were the windscreen, front windows, front mirrors and door handles. Thus, the CDW27 project turned out not to be a true world car in the sense that the original Ford Focus and newer Ford developed under the "One Ford" policy turned out to be—that being one design per segment for the world. The first generation Mondeo was replaced in 2000, by the larger second generation; in the United States and Canada, the Countour/Mystique were replaced by the Fusion. Instigated in 1986, the design of the car cost Ford US$6 billion. It was one of the most expensive new car programmes ever. The Mondeo was significant as its design and marketing was shared between Ford USA in Dearborn, and Ford of Europe. Its codename while under development reflected thus: CDW27 signified that it straddled the C & D size classes and was a "world car". The head of the Mondeo project was John Oldfield, headquartered at Ford Dunton in Essex, England. A large proportion of the high development cost was due to the Mondeo being a completely new design, sharing very little, if anything, with the Ford Sierra. Unlike the Sierra, the Mondeo is front-wheel drive in its most common form, with a rarer four-wheel drive version available on the Mk I car only. Over optimistically the floor pan was designed to accept virtually any conceivable drivetrain, from a transverse four to a longitudinal V-8.[citation needed] This resulted in a hugely obtrusive and mostly disused bellhousing cover and transmission tunnel. The resulting interior front of the car, especially the footwells, feel far more cramped than would be expected from a vehicle of this size. The Mondeo featured new manual and automatic transmissions and sophisticated suspension design, which give it class-leading handling and ride qualities, and subframes front and rear to give it executive car refinement. The automatic transmission featured electronic control with sport and economy modes plus switchable overdrive. The programme manager from 1988, and throughout its early development, was David Price. The car was launched in the midst of turbulent times at Ford of Europe, when the division was haemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars,[citation needed] and had gained a reputation in the motoring press for selling products which had been designed by accountants rather than engineers. The fifth generation Escort and third generation Orion of 1990 was the zenith of this cost-cutting/high price philosophy which was by then beginning to backfire on Ford, with the cars being slated for their substandard ride and handling, though a facelift in 1992 had seen things improve a little. The Sierra had sold well, but not as well as the all-conquering Cortina before it, and in Britain, it had been overtaken in the sales charts by the newer Vauxhall Cavalier. Previously loyal customers were already turning to rival European and Japanese products, and by the time of the Mondeo's launch, the future of Europe as a Ford manufacturing base was hanging in the balance. The new car had to be good, and it had to sell. Safety was a high priority in the Mondeo design with a driver's side airbag (it was the first ever car sold from the beginning with a driver's airbag in all of its versions, which helped it achieve the ECOTY title for 1994), side-impact bars, seat belt pretensioners, and ABS (higher models) as standard features. Other features for its year included adaptive damping, self-levelling suspension (top estate models), traction control (V6 and 4WD versions), and heated front windscreen, branded Quickclear. The interiors were usually well-appointed, featuring velour trim, an arm rest with CD and tape storage, central locking (frequently remote), power windows (all round on higher models), power mirrors, illuminated entry, flat-folding rear seats, etc. Higher specification models had leather seats, trip computers, electric sunroof, CD changer and alloy wheels. During its development, Ford used the 1986 Honda Accord and in the later stages the 1990 Nissan Primera as the class benchmarks that the CDW27 had to beat. In December 1998, Ford released in Europe a sports car with a coupé body shell based upon the Mk II Mondeo called the Ford Cougar (or Mercury Cougar in North America). This car shared the engines (2.0 I4, 2.5 V6), transmissions, suspension (partially) and floorpans from the Mondeo, but the body shell was unique to the Cougar, and was one of the last Ford cars to be designed under Ford's New Edge philosophy.

Ford Mondeo

Ford Mondeo

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Friday 5th March 1993

24 years ago

Ford introduced the "world car" Mondeo in Europe, 18 months before the Ford Contour in U.S. Instigated in 1986, the design of the car cost Ford US$6 billion. It was one of the most expensive new car programmes ever. The Mondeo was significant as its design and marketing was shared between Ford USA in Dearborn, and Ford of Europe.[4] Its codename while under development reflected thus: CDW27 signified that it straddled the C & D size classes and was a "world car". The head of the Mondeo project was John Oldfield, headquartered at Ford Dunton in Essex. A large proportion of the high development cost was due to the Mondeo being a completely new design, sharing very little, if anything, with the Ford Sierra. Unlike the Sierra, the Mondeo is front-wheel drive in its most common form, with a rarer four-wheel drive version available on the Mk I car only. Over optimistically the floor pan was designed to accept virtually any conceivable drivetrain, from a transverse four to a longitudinal V-8.[citation needed] This resulted in a hugely obtrusive and mostly disused bellhousing cover and transmission tunnel. The resulting interior front of the car, especially the footwells, feel far more cramped than would be expected from a vehicle of this size. The Mondeo featured new manual and automatic transmissions and sophisticated suspension design, which give it class-leading handling and ride qualities, and subframes front and rear to give it executive car refinement. The automatic transmission featured electronic control with sport and economy modes plus switchable overdrive. The programme manager from 1988, and throughout its early development, was David Price. The car was launched in the midst of turbulent times at Ford of Europe, when the division was haemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars,[citation needed] and had gained a reputation in the motoring press for selling products which had been designed by accountants rather than engineers. The fifth generation Escort and third generation Orion of 1990 was the zenith of this cost-cutting/high price philosophy which was by then beginning to backfire on Ford, with the cars being slated for their substandard ride and handling, though a facelift in 1992 had seen things improve a little. The Sierra had sold well, but not as well as the all-conquering Cortina before it, and in Britain, it had been overtaken in the sales charts by the newer Vauxhall Cavalier. Previously loyal customers were already turning to rival European and Japanese products, and by the time of the Mondeo's launch, the future of Europe as a Ford manufacturing base was hanging in the balance. The new car had to be good, and it had to sell. Safety was a high priority in the Mondeo design with a driver's side airbag (it was the first ever car sold from the beginning with a driver's airbag in all of its versions, which helped it achieve the ECOTY title for 1994), side-impact bars, seat belt pretensioners, and ABS (higher models) as standard features. Other features for its year included adaptive damping, self-levelling suspension (top estate models), traction control (V6 and 4WD versions), and heated front windscreen, branded Quickclear. The interiors were usually well-appointed, featuring velour trim, an arm rest with CD and tape storage, central locking (frequently remote), power windows (all round on higher models), power mirrors, illuminated entry, flat-folding rear seats, etc. Higher specification models had leather seats, trip computers, electric sunroof, CD changer and alloy wheels. During its development, Ford used the 1986 Honda Accord and in the later stages the 1990 Nissan Primera as the class benchmarks that the CDW27 had to beat. In December 1998, Ford released in Europe a sports car with a coupé body shell based upon the Mk II Mondeo called the Ford Cougar (or Mercury Cougar in North America). This car shared the engines (2.0 I4, 2.5 V6), transmissions, suspension (partially) and floorpans from the Mondeo, but the body shell was unique to the Cougar, and was one of the last Ford cars to be designed under Ford's New Edge philosophy.

Ford Mondeo - market launch brochure

Ford Mondeo - market launch brochure

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Tuesday 12th October 1993

24 years ago

A decade after it was first introduced, the one-millionth Camry rolled off a Toyota assembly line. The Camry was first introduced by the Toyota Motor Company in 1983 as a replacement for its Corona Sedan. Hoping to follow in the path of the popular Toyota flagship, the Cressida, the roomy and durable Camry immediately proved a best-seller, faring well against the likes of the Honda Accord and domestic U.S. compacts. In the late '80s, the Camry, now Toyota's most popular model, saw an upsized redesign, boasting a new twin-cam 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine with 16 valves and a much greater horsepower potential than the previous model. In 1992, the Camry was again stylishly redesigned, approaching mid-size while maintaining its original efficiency.

Toyota Camry (3rd generation) 1990-94

Toyota Camry (3rd generation) 1990-94

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Wednesday 29th March 1995

22 years ago

The Rover 400 was officially launched, and was met with a sense of muted antipathy from the press. It was clear to even the most casual observer that this car was almost pure Honda in its design – in fact, to more seasoned observers, the changes that Rover had made were disappointing in their ineffectiveness. In a nutshell, the new mid-sized Rover appeared to be almost as much a Honda (as opposed to a British car) as the original joint-venture – the Triumph Acclaim – had been back in 1981. Many questions were soon asked of Rover: Why such a disappointing design? Had it not been for BMW, would this have been the shape of Rovers in the future? Rear view was more appealing than the frontal aspect, but somehow the proportions seemed slightly wrong – the cause probably being attributable to the long nose and short, truncated tail. The saloon version, which appeared early in 1996, addressed this issue admirably – and proved to be one of a very rare breed of cars: a well-balanced notch-from-hatch conversion.Rear view was more appealing than the frontal aspect, but somehow the proportions seemed slightly wrong – the cause probably being attributable to the long nose and short, truncated tail. The saloon version, which appeared early in 1996, addressed this issue admirably – and proved to be one of a very rare breed of cars: a well-balanced notch-from-hatch conversion. Rear view was more appealing than the frontal aspect, but somehow the proportions seemed slightly wrong – the cause probably being attributable to the long nose and short, truncated tail. The saloon version, which appeared early in 1996, addressed this issue admirably – and proved to be one of a very rare breed of cars: a well-balanced notch-from-hatch conversion. As it was, there was a lot to applaud the Rover 400 for, though: the car marked the first application for the new, enlarged version of the K-series engine – now cleverly expanded to 1589cc. Refinement and performance of this new version was certainly up to scratch, and like its smaller brother, it proved to be more than a match for its Honda counterpart. This change in engine policy meant that in terms of petrol powered units, the range was now powered entirely by British engines (1.6-litre automatic, aside), whilst the diesel versions were now L-series powered (as opposed to Peugeot XUD-powered). The 400 range offered a wide variety of power options – 1.4-litres through to the 2.0-litre T-series engine – and even though the entry-level model was somewhat smaller than its rivals, Rover countered the lack of cubic capacity with a high specific output. Although the 136bhp version of the T-series engine found a natural home in the Rover 400, it was the 2.0-litre version of the KV6 engine (codename Merlin) that really excited the company. Producing a healthy 150bhp, the KV6 was under development and running in Rover 400 “mules” even before the car was launched – but it would not be until the arrival of the facelifted Rover 45 model in 1999 that a V6-powered Rover midliner entered the sales catalogue. Be that as it may, the highlight of the K-series was somewhat overshadowed by the rest of the car. The people that mattered – the customers – found the Rover 400 somewhat disappointing and overpriced. If the premium pricing policy seemed like a winner with the classy and compact R8, its replacement certainly did not appear to have the looks to justify the continuation of this policy. Of course, Rover countered this allegation by telling everyone to wait for the saloon version, due in early 1996, but it did not ease the fact that the new 400 hatchback was not what the public wanted at the time, and was certainly not offered at a favourable price. Autocar magazine was reasonably pleased with the 416i and reported so in their road test. The verdict was lukewarm – and they gave the car qualified approval: “with looks that will be routinely mistaken for Honda’s new five-door Civic, this latest 400 needed to be convincingly different beneath the badge. This it achieves by a whisker. With that sweet spinning, characterful K-series engine and an outstanding urban ride quality, Rover has created a car that feels genuinely unique, not just a cynical badge engineered Honda. Sure, Peugeot’s 306 still has the dynamic measure of this car, but compared with the dull homogeneity of the competition from Ford and Vauxhall, the 416i offers up just enough “typically Rover” character, just enough specialness to raise it above the common horde. But only just.” At least Autocar were realistic in their choice of rivals for this car, plucking them from the small/medium arena. In Rover’s launch advertising for the 400, they pitched it against such luminaries as the Ford Mondeo, Renault Laguna and Citroën Xantia. Interestingly, it compared very well to all-comers in this class on the handpicked “ride quality” index figure. All but the Citroën, that is. Profile shot of the 400 saloon shows that classy-looking saloons can be sired from hatchbacks – maybe the public's perception of the Rover 400 range would be remarkably different had this version been launched first.Profile shot of the 400 saloon shows that classy-looking saloons can be sired from hatchbacks – maybe the public's perception of the Rover 400 range would be remarkably different had this version been launched first. Sales of the Rover 400 in the UK were buoyant, and in direct comparison with the combined sales of the outgoing R8 400 and Montego, they appeared to be quite good. But the comparison is certainly muddied by the fact that the 400 was designed to fight in the “D class” rather than the upper end of the “C class”, as marketeers liked to refer to the differing market sectors. So in the heart of the UK market, where Ford and Vauxhall continued to make hay, Rover continued to appear almost mortally weak. In the first full year of sales, the 400, including the stylish saloon version, grabbed 3.15 per cent of the market – and although Rover continued to make noises about not chasing volume sales, the cold hard facts were that after allowing for Honda’s royalty payments on each 400 sold, profit margins were not huge. Export sales continued to make reasonable headway, so even though sales in the home market were suffering, Rover’s production volumes remained at a reasonable level – no doubt helped by the BMW connection. However, exports are affected by the fluctuations of the currency markets, and as we shall see, Rover and BMW would suffer terribly from these in later years. In 1997 and 1998, the Rover 400 captured 2.85 and 2.55 per cent of the UK market respectively, maintaining a regular top ten presence. By the following year, however, this had collapsed disastrously to 1.51 per cent. What had caused this collapse? Well, the product had never captured the public’s imagination in the way that the R8 had, but also, following the change in government (May 1997) and the strengthening of sterling against European currencies, the price of imported cars had become so much cheaper in relation to that of the domestically produced Rover. This allowed companies such as Renault (with the Megane) and Volkswagen (with the Golf) to make serious inroads into the Rover’s market. What made the situation even worse for Rover was the flipside: the price of UK cars became more expensive in export markets, so in order to remain price competitive, Rover needed to drop their prices to such an extent that they began to make serious losses. By 1999, BMW had begun to take emergency measures for Rover – and the first of those, was the replacement of the 400 by the 45 in December 1999.

Rover 400

Rover 400

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Sunday 28th May 1995

22 years ago

Jacques Villeneuve became the first Canadian to win the Indianapolis 500. Because of a 2-lap penalty for passing the pace car, he covered 505 miles to get the win. Also in this race, Honda became the first Japanese engine to participate in the 500.

Jacques Villeneuve holds the winner's bottle of milk in Victory Lane after winning the 1995 Indianapolis 500

Jacques Villeneuve holds the winner's bottle of milk in Victory Lane after winning the 1995 Indianapolis 500

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Wednesday 29th November 1995

21 years ago

The third generation Rover 200 (R3) was launched. It was initially popular, being Britain's seventh-best-selling new car in 1996 through to 1998. The Rover 200, codenamed R3, was smaller than the Honda-based R8 cars. This was due to Rover's need to replace the ageing Metro, which by now was 15 years old. Although some elements of the previous 200 / 400 were carried over (most notably the front structure, heater, steering and front suspension), it was by-and-large an all-new car that had been developed by Rover. Honda did provide early body design support as a result of moving production of the Honda Concerto from Longbridge to Swindon, freeing up capacity for 60,000 units at Rover. At this point, the car had a cut-down version of the previous car's rear floor and suspension and was codenamed SK3. Lack of boot space and other factors led to Rover re-engineering the rear end to take a modified form of the Maestro rear suspension and the product was renamed R3. By the time the car was launched, Honda and Rover had already been "divorced" after the BMW takeover the previous year. The new 200 used K-Series petrol engines, most notably the 1.8 L VVC version from the MGF, and L-series diesel engine. During the mid 1990s the L-Series was a very competitive engine, regarded as second only to the VW TDI in overall performance, and an improvement over the R8s XUD, particularly in fuel economy while almost matching it for refinement. Launched with 1.4i 16v (105 PS (77 kW; 104 bhp)) and 1.6i 16v (111 PS (82 kW; 109 bhp)) petrol engines and 2.0 turbodiesel (86 PS (63 kW; 85 bhp) and intercooled 105 PS (77 kW; 104 bhp) versions) engines, the range grew later to include a 1.1i (60 PS (44 kW; 59 bhp)) and 1.4i 8v (75 PS (55 kW; 74 bhp)) engines and also 1.8 16v units in standard (120 PS (88 kW; 118 bhp)) and variable valve formats (145 PS (107 kW; 143 bhp)). R65 Peugeot/Rover Manual gearboxes carried over from the R8 Rover 200 were available across the range and a CVT option was available on the 1.6i 16v unit. The R3 featured a completely re-designed interior and dashboard to accommodate the fitment of a passenger airbag in line with new safety standards. The 1.8-litre models earned a certain amount of praise for their performance, whilst the intercooled turbo diesel was claimed as one of the fastest-accelerating diesel hatchbacks on the market in the late 1990s. Unlike its predecessor, the R3 was not available in Coupe, Cabriolet or Tourer bodystyles, although Rover updated these versions of the older model with mild styling revisions and the fitting of the new dashboard from the R3, which was possible due to the shared front bulkhead. In the UK, these models were no longer branded as 200/400 models, simply being referred to as the Rover Coupe, Cabriolet and Tourer. The Rover 200 might have been marketed as a supermini, it compares closely in size and engine range with contemporary models such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Instead Rover priced the car to compete with vehicles like the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Astra. Rover's only offering in the supermini segment at the time was the ageing Metro and this gap in the company's line-up needed to be filled. The third generation 200 was initially popular, being Britain's seventh-best-selling new car in 1996 through to 1998. Within three years it had fallen out of the top 10 completely and was being outsold by traditionally poorer selling cars like the Volkswagen Polo Mk3 and the Peugeot 206.

Rover 200 (R3)

Rover 200 (R3)

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Sunday 31st March 1996

21 years ago

Italian Dante Giacosa (91), an automobile designer whose small, economical cars, particularly the popular Fiat 500, helped motorize Italy in the 1950s, died. He was the head of design for Fiat for more than 40 years and managed the creation of some beloved cars, led by the Topolino. Maybe now that Fiat is returning to the U.S. through Chrysler in the form of the Cinquecento, he will be more broadly recognized. Giacosa was born in 1905 and took his studies at the Polytechnic in Turin before arriving at Fiat in 1928, following officer candidate school for the Italian armed services. The monstrous S.p.A. was under control of Giovanni Agnelli, with Cesare Momo as engineering chieftain, but Giacosa's true first boss at Fiat was Carlo Cavalli, a notable character in his own right: Trained as a lawyer, descended from a long line of Italian justices and barristers, but enthralled with engineering first. One of Giacosa's first projects was a highly advanced, multi-articulated road tractor for the military called the Pavesi. Its basic concept (much) later was revisited as the M561 Gamma Goat, evaluated by the U.S. Army during the post-Korea era, at first with Corvair power. That's probably the least-well-remembered vehicle with whose design Giacosa was ever associated. The best is unquestionably the Topolino, which came after he'd worked on Fiat rarities such as the C Cabriolet and the SS sports roadster, along with a record-shattering aero engine. By this time, chronic illness had forced Cavalli's retirement, elevating Giacosa to the post of lead engineer at Fiat. The company's lead product, at that time, was the 508 sedan, known widely as the Balilla. Italy was in the grip of Fascism by then, the early Thirties. Rome decreed that Fiat should build a new, miniature car, its price set at 5,000 lire, less than half the cost of a new Balilla. In hindsight, the original Fiat 500 shows that Giacosa's mind was envisioning eventual fundamentals of monocoque design principles, the Topolino's bodywork serving as part of its load-bearing structure and its tiny engine hung ahead of the radically light-drilled, dual-spar frame. The first 500 also incorporated a very basic form of independent front suspension, not what most might have expected from a Thirties car constructed to meet a government-dictated cheapness objective. Of course, it's fair to say that the like-minded regime in Germany was also building innovative, inexpensive cars around the same time, and that both self-declared nationalist dynasties collapsed spectacularly. Their best automotive engineers, on the other hand, prospered anew. Post-war, Giacosa redefined the light Fiat more than once. The first true, fresh effort was the Fiat 1400 sedan of 1950, which, as rebodied by Pinin Farina, became the Cisitalia. The addition of 500cc made it a much more usable engine. Money issues limited the Topolino to rear-wheel drive, but Giacosa insisted on transverse front drive for the Autobianchi Primula of 1964 and then, the Fiat 128 of 1969, a bigger-than-Mini car (with MacPherson struts) that beat both the Honda Civic and the first Volkswagen Golf to market. A true giant of European auto design, Giacosa died in 1996.

Dante Giacosa

Dante Giacosa

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Friday 15th May 1998

19 years ago

In Washington DC Latia Robinson (7) took control of a Honda Accord after her father passed out and drove him safely to a hospital at the beginning of rush hour.

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Thursday 15th April 1999

18 years ago

Dr. Harvey Postlethwaite (55), a prolific and successful designer of Formula 1 cars for teams such as Hesketh, Wolf, and Ferrari in the 1970's, 80's, and into the 90's, died. Working to modify and improve the novice team's March 731 chassis, Postlethwaite elevated the team into serious contention and the following year designed the team's car from scratch. 'Doc' Postlethwaite's 1974 Hesketh 308 secured a number of podium positions. The following year he further developed the car's unusual rubber spring suspension and saw his creation take victory at the Dutch Grand Prix in the hands of James Hunt. By 1976 Lord Hesketh could no longer afford to run the team and sold out. Postlethwaite went with his cars to the newly founded Wolf-Williams Racing, headed by Walter Wolf and Frank Williams, but the results were poor and the owners soon went their separate ways. Postlethwaite remained with Wolf, designing the team's 1977 challenger, the WR1. Success was immediate with Jody Scheckter taking victory at the season's opening race. Two more wins and a number of podium results followed and Scheckter eventually finished second in the drivers' championship. Although Postlethwaite remained with the team until 1979 they were never to repeat their 1977 success. When Walter Wolf closed the team down at the end of 1979 he transferred, along with the Wolf cars and driver Keke Rosberg to the Fittipaldi Automotive team. He produced a new design, the F8, for the latter half of 1980 but left to join Ferrari in early 1981. At the time the Italian team were considered amongst the best engine builders in the sport, but amongst the worst chassis designers. Postlethwaite was selected personally by Enzo Ferrari to rectify this problem and by the following year everything was in place for success. The 1982 126C2 Ferrari took the constructors' title despite several serious setbacks, including the practice crash at Zolder which claimed the life of Gilles Villeneuve. Despite the loss of their inspirational Canadian driver, Postlethwaite's updated design, the 126C2B, took the constructors' title again in 1983. Postlethwaite remained with Ferrari until 1987. After 1983 his cars took several more wins, but were unable to compete with McLaren and Williams for title victory. He was eventually replaced by John Barnard and moved to Tyrrell, where he worked for four years. During his tenure as technical director Tyrrell's results improved noticeably, culminating in the 1990 season opener in Phoenix, where Jean Alesi was able to challenge Ayrton Senna's McLaren for victory and finished second in a Tyrrell 018. Alesi repeated the feat in the Postlethwaite's novel 019 – the first of the 'high nose' Formula One cars – at Monaco. At the car's launch Postlethwaite proved the structural integrity of its unusual front 'gull wing' by standing on it. While at Tyrrell Postlethwaite employed Mike Gascoyne, who became his assistant and protégé. In 1991, Postlethwaite was signed as technical director of the Sauber team who planned to enter Formula One in 1993. Taking Gascoyne with him, Postlethwaite relocated to Switzerland and designed the team's first car. Despite leaving Sauber before the start of 1993, the designer's car went on to considerable success in the hands of JJ Lehto and Karl Wendlinger regularly scoring points. Postlethwaite moved back to Tyrrell in 1994 where he remained until 1998 when the team was sold to become British American Racing. Although by the late 1980s and 1990s Tyrrell was a small, and largely uncompetitive team, the designer remained well respected within the sport and was hired as technical director of the abortive in-house Honda F1 project in 1999. Although Honda had not committed to race in Formula One the project produced an evaluation car, designed by Postlethwaite and built by Dallara, and it was during testing of this car at Barcelona in Spain that he suffered a fatal heart attack. The project was subsequently discontinued, although Honda began supplying engines again from the 2000 season onwards, eventually taking over the BAR team for 2006.

Harvey Postlethwaite

Harvey Postlethwaite

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Thursday 29th April 1999

18 years ago

In Japan Honda announced that its last EV Plus electric car was built in March.

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Sunday 17th October 1999

18 years ago

Dario Franchitti won the CART Honda Grand Prix in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia.

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Sunday 24th December 2000

16 years ago

John Cooper, the driving force behind the Cooper Car Company died aged 77. With his father, Charles, he started building racing cars after the Second World War; and it was Stirling Moss who gave the company its first GP victory in the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix. This was the first rear engine car to win a grand prix and started a revolution - within two years all the cars on the grid were rear engined. "He made a great contribution to the sport of motor racing - he put England back on top," Stirling Moss said. "It's thanks to John Cooper that I was able to get into the sport as his racing cars were relatively cheap." Cooper's development of the British Motor Corporation Mini — the Mini Cooper — was adored by both rally racers and ordinary road drivers. Before John Cooper's death, the Cooper name was licensed to BMW for the higher-performance versions of the cars, inspired by the original Mini, sold as the MINI. John, along with his son Mike Cooper, served in an advisory role to BMW and Rover's New MINI design team. Cooper was the last surviving Formula One team principal from the formative years of the sport, and he often lamented later in life that the fun had long since gone out of racing. He helped establish Britain's domination of motorsport technology, which continues today, and he received the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to British motorsport. He remained head of the West Sussex family garage business (which had outlets for Mini Cooper at East Preston and Honda at Ferring) until his death.

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Thursday 4th January 2001

16 years ago

Ever on the lookout for yet another novel new way to promote his interests, Eddie Jordan announced that Jordan were entering the Honda Formula 4-stroke power boat race series. "Not only does it give us a great opportunity to work with Honda [the teams engine suppliers] outside Formula One," he said "but it also provides a fast, fun and exciting environment in which to promote the Jordan name." The boat raced by a different journalist at each event- this raised a few eyebrows after TV Presenter Mike Brewer and Jamie Theakston had some hairy moments.

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Monday 7th May 2001

16 years ago

The first five second jet car run was recorded at the Shakespeare County Raceway, Warwickshire, UK. Supertwin Modified racer Tim Boutle set a new world record for a twin-cylinder production bike on his Honda CX650 at 11.151 seconds and 132.39 mph. Supertwin Gas racer Jerry Collier re-set his own world record of 9.671 with a 9.612 on his Jade Racing machine, the quickest two-stroke drag bike in the world. Job Heezen reset the track speed record for Top Gas bikes with a 166mph run. Tim Blakemore recorded a 7.24 in the semi final of funnybike to advance to the final before losing out to Ken Cooper. Steve Pateman reset the Custom Car speed record again with a 168mph run. Mark Newby took his Viper Jet Dragster to new track records of 203.62 mph on the Saturday and an E.T. of 7.655 seconds on the Sunday.

Shakespeare County Raceway

Shakespeare County Raceway

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Wednesday 6th June 2001

16 years ago

For the first time, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) awarded a car three out of four stars for pedestrian safety. The Honda Civic was praised because its bumper and bonnet crumpled on impact. Before the Civic's score, no car has achieved more than a two-star rating.

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Saturday 25th August 2001

16 years ago

Founder and team principal of Tyrrell Racing, Ken Tyrrell (77), passed away at his home in Surrey. Tyrrell cars were a mainstay of the F1 grid from 1970 to 1998, taking 23 wins before the team entry was sold to British American Tobacco for the start of the 1999 season. It went on to become BAR, then Honda and eventually relived its glory days under the Brawn name. Jackie Stewart, who took all three of his world championships with Tyrrell as the team principal said: "Ken was the most important person in my life outside my family. Without Ken Tyrrell, I would not be where I am today."

Ken Tyrrell

Ken Tyrrell

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Tuesday 11th September 2001

16 years ago

The Frankfurt Motor Show opened to international media, with a series of concept and production vehicle debuts kicking off in the early morning. First news of terrorist attacks in the US came in the early afternoon. Large display screens were switched over to news coverage, opening celebrations were cancelled, and the usual upbeat presentations were absent for the rest of the show. MG Rover Group unveiled its stunning new luxury high performance sports coupe - the MG X80. Styled by MG Rover's world renowned design director Peter Stevens, the £55,000 MG X80 had a high-technology super-formed aluminum body, mounted to a steel box section chassis. Skoda revealed its new model, the Superb. There was a large number of concept vehicles, including the Citroën C-Crosser, SEAT Tango, Renault Talisman, Jaguar R Coupe, Ford Fusion and Audi Avantissimo. Top production car debuts included the BMW 7 Series, Ford Fiesta, Citroën C3, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo and Lamborghini Murcielago.

MG X80

MG X80

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Monday 30th December 2002

14 years ago

Diana Ross was arrested for drink driving by the Arizona highway patrol. The 58-year-old performer was pulled over by police in Tucson, Arizona after a motorist reported seeing a white Honda Accord driving erratically the wrong way down a road in the early hours of the morning.The star failed a "field sobriety test" which included walking in a straight line and touching the tip of her nose. When asked to stand on one leg she fell over, according to the officers. She was also unable to recite the alphabet or give the correct time and date. A breath-test taken on the roadside revealed Ms Ross had a blood alcohol level of 0.20% - more than twice Arizona's legal limit of 0.08%. Diana Ross was sentenced to two days in jail in February 2004 after she admitted drinking and driving. She was also sentenced to two years' unsupervised probation for the offence. Two further charges against her were dropped. She served her sentence almost immediately but in March 2004 it was revealed she had served her time in bursts of six to eight hours and had been given a free rein to come and go as she pleased.She was then ordered to return to jail to serve 48 consecutive hours but the following month that decision was overturned.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross

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Monday 10th February 2003

14 years ago

Max Mosley warned that Formula One couldn't rely on manufacturer teams alone and needed to become more accessible for independents. He said that the likes of BMW, Ford, Honda, Mercedes and Renault had a proven record of pulling out of the sport and truly independent teams like Williams and Jordan should be helped out. The comments were largely ignored but six years later Mosley's vision had come true as BMW, Ford, Honda and Toyota had all left the sport.

Max Mosley - 2003

Max Mosley - 2003

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Friday 19th November 2004

12 years ago

BAR boss Dave Richards was shown the door after Honda bought a 45% stake in the team for around $150 million. Although he had guided Jenson Button to third in the drivers' championship, it was his dispute with Button over a contract that many believe led to his departure to be replaced by Nick Fry. ""I am the one person who came out of that affair undamaged," Richards said. "This was a mutual decision. It is the right time for Honda and the right time for me to move on. I am proud of what I and my team have done. In effect, we had a five-year plan to revitalise the team and that has been delivered in just three years."

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Wednesday 15th December 2004

12 years ago

A walking, talking child-size robot from Honda Motor Co. managed an easy, although comical, jog in the Japanese automaker's latest quest to imitate human movement.

Honda Asimo Robot

Honda Asimo Robot

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Sunday 6th March 2005

12 years ago

Giancarlo Fisichella in a Renault R25 won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne. The first attempt to start the race was yellow flagged, due to the stalled McLaren of Kimi Räikkönen, who would eventually start the abbreviated race (57 laps from 58) in pit lane. When the red lights did finally go out, front row starters Fisichella and Jarno Trulli protected their positions and led the rest of the field through the first lap. Starting third in his home grand prix, Mark Webber– in his Williams debut– was outsprinted to the first corner by David Coulthard's Red Bull. Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso each moved up three spots on the first lap, showing more of their cars' true potential than what was seen in the rain-soaked qualifying. Sato made the best start, moving from last place to 14th. Jacques Villeneuve had the worst start– his first in the Sauber– as he dropped five positions on the opening lap after losing forward momentum in a first-corner position skirmish. As Fisichella and Trulli raced away at the front, Coulthard began to gradually fall back, holding up Webber, Nick Heidfeld (also making his Williams debut), Christian Klien, Juan Pablo Montoya and Barrichello. Several seconds further back was Villeneuve, struggling to hold off a charging Alonso, who was himself just ahead of Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher (in his first start for Toyota). Close behind were Felipe Massa, Sato, the elder Schumacher, and Räikkönen, who doggedly pursued the champion but could not find a way past. The four rookies were a little further back: the two Jordans of Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan led the Minardi duo of Patrick Friesacher and Christijan Albers. Alonso passed Villeneuve, only to have the Canadian retake the position moments later. But just before the first round of pit stops, Alonso would finally find a way around the former champion, saving any podium hopes for the young Spaniard. While passing backmarkers on lap 15, Coulthard and Webber nearly collided with one another; Webber briefly went onto the grass, but no serious damage was done. After lap 17, unable to pull out of the pits due to a gearbox problem, Albers retired his Minardi, which had lost second gear as early as the formation lap. This was the only mechanical retirement of the afternoon. Fisichella remained firmly in command after his first pit stop, although he briefly relinquished the lead while refueling. Barrichello gained the most in the pits, as he moved up from eighth to fourth place; Alonso continued his hard charge, gaining four positions as well. However, Trulli's Toyota slowly began dropping back, getting passed again and again; it would later turn out to be a blistered rear tyre, which would affect him for the remainder of the race. Teammate Ralf Schumacher had a problem of his own, and was forced to pit twice in quick succession to tighten a loose safety harness. Räikkönen was able to get by the elder Schumacher into tenth (his starting grid position) and pull away from the champion in pursuit of Heidfeld. After Michael Schumacher's second stop, he emerged from the pitlane just ahead of Heidfeld, who thought he saw an opening going into the third turn. Schumacher, who momentarily lost sight of Heidfeld's Williams in his mirrors, closed the door on his fellow German, forcing him onto the grass. With no traction on the grass, Heidfeld braked in vain, sliding into the side of the F2004M, pushing both cars into the gravel. Heidfeld's race was finished; although Schumacher was able to get his Ferrari back on track, nevertheless he retired in the pits soon thereafter, due to collision damage. Montoya went onto the grass briefly at Turn Eight as he prepared to make his second call to pitlane; this, plus another off-track excursion while tangling with a backmarking rookie, cost him valuable time. When he later lost part of his rear deflector, Montoya eased up to finish the race and to preserve his Mercedes-Benz power plant for the next race. Teammate Räikkönen also lost a significant portion of his deflector, which became imbedded under his side barge board; mechanics were later seen removing it during a pit stop. After the second round of stops, the final order of finish was nearly determined. While most of the field slowed to conserve engines, Alonso continued pushing hard on Barrichello's heels. Barrichello, despite battling a brake balance problem, was able to answer the challenge, and held off Alonso for second. Fisichella, who flawlessly managed the gap to his nearest opponent all race long, easily took the chequered flag for his second career victory, with his only other victory coming for Jordan in 2003. He never put a foot wrong, and his R25 chassis, although not seriously challenged, performed flawlessly to claim the inaugural race of the season. Teammate Alonso clocked the fastest lap of the race, and was noticeably the fastest car on track for most of the event. Interestingly, both BARs pulled into the pits on the final lap of the race; by not officially finishing the event, they effectively exempted themselves from the new two-race engine rule. By taking advantage of this loophole in 2005 regulations, they were entitled to replace the cars' Honda engines in Malaysia without incurring any penalty. The loophole was immediately closed, as a car was in future required to have a genuine technical problem to be entitled to a new engine.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Australian Grand Prix  2005

Giancarlo Fisichella, Australian Grand Prix 2005

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Sunday 20th March 2005

12 years ago

The second round of the 2005 Formula 1 championship took place in Malaysia. Fernando Alonso started from pole and went on to win the race from Toyota's Jarno Trulli by a massive 24.3 seconds. Trulli's second place marked Toyata's first podium finish and Alonso's win made him the first Spaniard to lead the F1 World Championship. But the headlines were shared with Ferrari after Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished way down the field in what was described as a "second-hand" car. "There can be no excuses after a race like this,' said team manager Jean Todt. 'We were beaten by opponents who were stronger than us." The race ended Ferrari's run of 22 consecutive podium finishes, which started at the 2003 Italian Grand Prix. Two other drivers in the field that day were Anhony Davidson who was making his only appearance for the HOnda team and was deputising for the ill Takuma Sato and Narain Karthikeyan who was making his F1 debut with Jordan and in doing so became the first Indian to race in the sport. The race also marked Rubens Barrichello's 200th Grand Prix.

Alonso wins 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix

Alonso wins 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Tuesday 17th May 2005

12 years ago

Toyota Motor Company announced its plans to produce a petrol (gasoline)-electric hybrid version of its bestselling Camry model. Built at the company´s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, the Camry became Toyota´s first hybrid model to be manufactured in the United States. Toyota introduced the Camry - the name being a phonetic transcription of the Japanese word for “crown” - in the Japanese market in 1980; it began selling in the United States the following year. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the success of the Camry and its Japanese competitor, the Honda Accord, had allowed Toyota and Honda to seize control of the midsize sedan market in the United States. By then, Toyota had adapted the Camry more to American tastes, increasing its size and replacing its original boxy design with a smoother, more rounded style.

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Friday 14th October 2005

12 years ago

The 1.5 millionth Honda car came off the Swindon production line, and marked the start of production of the new 8th generation Civic.

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Tuesday 22nd November 2005

11 years ago

Motor Trend magazine named the Honda Civic as 2006 Car of the Year.

Honda Civic brochure 2005

Honda Civic brochure 2005

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Wednesday 15th February 2006

11 years ago

Super Aguri announced Takuma Sato and Yuji Ide as its drivers, putting the final pieces into place for its debut season. Headed up by ex-F1 driver Aguri Suzuki, the team received financial backing from Honda to run Sato, who had been replaced by Rubens Barrichello at BAR. The car was based on a 2003 Arrows and was a long way off the pace of the rest of the field. Sato scored some respectable results but Ide, who had very little experience in a high-powered single seater, struggled and was eventually replaced after just four races by Franck Montagny. The team pulled out of the sport completely in 2008 when Honda withdrew its backing.

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Sunday 19th March 2006

11 years ago

The Malaysian Grand Prix held at Sepang was won by Giancarlo Fisichella driving a Renault R26, who took the final of his three victories in Formula One. His team-mate, Fernando Alonso, finished second to extend his lead in the drivers' championship standings to 7 points. Jenson Button took the first podium in a Honda by finishing in third place.

Malaysian Grand Prix 2006 Start

Malaysian Grand Prix 2006 Start

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Wednesday 12th April 2006

11 years ago

BMW 3 Series was named World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show. Other winners selected by the jury of 48 international automotive journalists from 22 countries were the Porsche Cayman S (World Performance Car). Honda Civic Hybrid (World Green Car) and the Citroen C4 (World Car Design of the Year).

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Tuesday 1st August 2006

11 years ago

Market share of Detroit auto companies fell to 52% in July 2006, its lowest point in history (52.2% in October 2005). Auto sales figures showed that Toyota passed Ford Motor Company to rank as the second-biggest-selling auto company in the US. Honda outsold DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler group for the first time. General Motors held a 27% share of the auto market and Chrysler - 10%.

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Sunday 6th August 2006

11 years ago

Jenson Button won the Hungarian Grand Prix, the first victory of his career and the first race win for a British driver since David Coulthard won the Australian Grand Prix three years previously, and the first by an Englishman since Johnny Herbert won the 1999 European Grand Prix nearly seven years previously, in similarly changeable weather circumstances. Pedro de la Rosa finished second for McLaren, the first podium finish of his career, and Nick Heidfeld finished third, giving BMW Sauber their first ever podium. It was the first win for a Honda chassis since John Surtees' victory in the 1967 Italian Grand Prix and the first win for a Honda engine since Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Mugen-Honda-powered Jordan triumphed in the 1999 Italian Grand Prix, 119 races earlier.

Jenson Button at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

Jenson Button at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Thursday 31st August 2006

11 years ago

Jenson Button escaped injury in a high-speed accident during testing at Monza. His Honda went off the track at the 160mph exit of the Parabolica late in the afternoon, skipping over the gravel trap before hitting the barriers. The impact caused major damage to the entire left side of the RA106 but Button was able to climb out of the car unaided and reported no injuries.

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Friday 27th October 2006

11 years ago

The last Ford Taurus rolled off the assembly line in Hapeville, Georgia, US. The keys to the silver car went to 85-year-old Truett Cathy, the founder of the Chick-fil-A fast-food franchise, who took it straight to his company's headquarters in Atlanta and added it to an elaborate display that included 19 other cars, including one of the earliest Fords. "I do have this disease of collecting cars," Cathy told a reporter. "I was very sorry [the workers at the Ford plant] lost their jobs," he said, but "since I was gonna get the keys, I was glad for that." When Ford added the Taurus to its lineup in 1985, the company was struggling. High fuel prices made its heavy, gas-guzzling cars unattractive to American buyers, especially compared to the high-quality foreign cars that had been flooding the market since the middle of the 1970s. The Taurus was smaller than the typical Ford family car, and its aerodynamic styling appealed to design-conscious buyers. Almost immediately, the car was a hit: Ford sold 263,000 in 1985 alone. Sales figures climbed higher each year, and in 1992, the Taurus became the best-selling passenger car in the United States. (It wrested this title away from the Honda Accord, and kept it for the next five years.) But by the 2000s, the Taurus had lost much of its appeal. Even after a 1996 facelift, its once cutting-edge design now looked dated, and it still did not have the fuel efficiency of its Japanese counterparts. (In fact, in contrast to cars like the Accord and the Toyota Camry, which overtook the Taurus to become the nation's best-selling car, by the mid-1990s Ford was selling the majority of its Tauruses to rental-car companies, not individuals.) Ford discontinued the Taurus station wagon at the end of 2004, and idled the Hapeville plant—across the street from the original Chick-fil-A—two years later. Fifteen hundred workers lost their jobs. In place of the Taurus, Ford pushed its full-size Five Hundred sedan along with its midsize Fusion. Neither sold especially well, however, and in 2007 the company re-released the Taurus (actually just a renamed version of the Five Hundred). It unveiled a revamped, sportier Taurus in July 2009.

Ford Taurus (2006)

Ford Taurus (2006)

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Tuesday 14th November 2006

11 years ago

Honda unveiled the hydrogen powered Honda FCX in Monterey, California.The vehicle's electrical power comes from a 100 kW Honda Vertical Flow (V Flow) hydrogen fuel cell stack whereby electricity is supplied on demand. In common with many electric vehicles, the car has regenerative braking and uses a separate battery to store energy recovered during braking. The electric motor was based on the motor used in the EV Plus, rated at 134 horsepower (100 kW) and 189 lb·ft (256 N·m) torque @0-3056 rpm. The range on a full hydrogen tank (4.1 kg @ 5000psi) was EPA certified at 240 miles (~386 km). The vehicle was estimated to get about 77 miles (123.9 km) per kilogram hydrogen in the city, 67 miles (107.8 km) per kilogram highway and 72 miles (115.9 km) per kilogram in combined driving

Honda FCX Clarity

Honda FCX Clarity

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Wednesday 15th November 2006

11 years ago

Super Aguri announced that Anthony Davidson would be joining Takuma Sato at the team for the 2007 F1 season. Davidson had been a Honda test driver for the last few seasons after making his F1 debut in 2002 when he drove two grands prix for Minardi with a one-off race for Honda in 2004. "This is a great opportunity for me and I'm really excited about my first full season as a race driver," said Davidson. "I've been impressed with the improvements the team has made through the 2006 season, and I can already see from my first visits to the factory that the team is very hard-working and highly motivated. I can't wait to get started." He drove in 21 grands prix in 2007 and 2008.

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Thursday 25th January 2007

10 years ago

After only 11 days behind the wheel of an F1 car, rookie Lewis Hamilton had a lucky escape after he crashed his McLaren at 165mph during practice in Spain. "I'm completely fine and was conscious throughout," he said. It was an equally frustrating day for Jenson Button as his new Honda broke down during the first lap of a warm-up session in Barcelon

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Thursday 15th February 2007

10 years ago

Formula One edged further away from the threat of a breakaway series as Renault announced it was leaving the Grand Prix Manufacturers' Association (GPMA). The organisation had been in meetings about the future of the sport with the FIA and Formula One Management but had backed down on a plan to create an alternative series. Renault followed Toyota out of the group, leaving just BMW, Daimler-Mercedes and Honda in the GPMA.

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Monday 26th February 2007

10 years ago

In an effort to raise awareness of environmental issues, the Honda Formula One (F1) team unveiled its Earth Car, a race car emblazoned with a large image of the planet instead of the typical advertising and sponsorship logos featured on most F1 vehicles. Honda announced that people who made a donation to an environmental charity through a special Web site would get their name (in the size of an individual pixel) on the Earth Car. The vehicle's debut came at a time when F1's governing body was interested in shedding the sport's reputation for gas-guzzling vehicles and wastefulness.

2007 Honda F1 Earth Car

2007 Honda F1 Earth Car

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Thursday 17th May 2007

10 years ago

Officials at the largest Honda auto engine plant in the world celebrated the 15 millionth engine produced since Honda of America Manufacturing., Inc. opened the Anna Engine Plant in 1985.

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Sunday 22nd July 2007

10 years ago

After being declared fit to race after a crash in practice, Lewis Hamilton spun off in a torrential downpour at the European Grand Prix at Nürburgring, eventually coming home ninth - ending his run of nine successive podiums - behind race winner Alonso. It started a dry race with a chance of rain and clouds hanging overhead. At the start of the warm-up lap, the timing screens displayed the warning that the rain was going to begin falling in about 3 minutes. This did not concern the Ferraris who led into the first corner as a pair with Alonso trailing in third. Markus Winkelhock for Spyker was the only driver to pit after the warm up lap to change to the wet tyres, although this meant he had to start from the pits at the beginning of the race. It did pay off when all the other drivers were having to pit or spin off during the first lap. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, coming back from his 10th-place qualifying made a good start and was up to sixth at the first corner, but a collision between the two BMWs caused Hamilton to take avoiding action and the diffuser of Kubica's car caused a puncture in Hamilton's left-rear tyre causing him to fall back into the rest of the pack. This was only the beginning of the first lap chaos. The time it took for the rain to arrive and the sheer amount was heavily underestimated by everybody but Spyker, and so during the first lap it started to rain heavily and people had been caught out. David Coulthard skated across the gravel at turn five as everybody tried to drive around a slow Hamilton and there was a small impact between Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg at the newly named Schumacher 'S' corner in the mid-field with Barrichello's Honda the worst affected. As Rosberg recovered, he was extremely lucky not to have been clipped by Ralf Schumacher who sped past but the luck did not last and the first lap chaos had not ended there as Adrian Sutil was also caught up with the recovering Rosberg towards the end of the lap at the back. Alexander Wurz also missed the final chicane after getting two wheels on the soggy grass. Somewhat amazingly, all of the drivers' cars had survived, and they returned to the pit lane at the end of lap one to change from grooved dry tyres to intermediates - though it would later show intermediate tyres were still the wrong tyres to be on. Debutant Markus Winkelhock took advantage of a gamble which meant he started on wet tyres and from the pit lane which gave him a surprising lead at his home Grand Prix after everyone in the field pitted for intermediates or stayed out on dries; the first time that a Spyker had led a Grand Prix. Everyone would have normally pitted at the end of lap one as it was raining heavily but an error from then-leader Kimi Räikkönen resulted in him slipping wide on the paint and he missed the pit entry completely which meant he had to do an extra lap on the dry tyres slipping him to a net seventh place. Others had stayed out in the hope that the rain would stop, such as Jarno Trulli but this lost him time. As the weather worsened, it turned out that full wet tyres were required, rather than intermediates. Being on the wrong tyres, almost every driver had to slow down to prevent sliding off the track. The sole exception was Markus Winkelhock of the Spyker Ferrari, who started the race on wets. The gamble he took against the weather paid off handsomely, and he managed to lead the race by 33 seconds ahead of Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso, who had pitted at the end of lap one along with other drivers. By the start of lap three, the weather had become so bad that water was flowing round turn 1 and was nicknamed the 'turn 1 river'. Another big winner in the chaos was Jenson Button who moved up from a mid grid position to 4th despite coming in on the 1st lap to change tyres. However, he spun off into the wall at the start of the 3rd lap, quickly followed by Lewis Hamilton who locked up. Adrian Sutil had a huge spin into the same place as Button and Hamilton and just missed both of them as he hit the wall. Nico Rosberg and Scott Speed were the latest casualties of the turn 1 "river". Anthony Davidson then locked up at the "river" but stopped his car just before the gravel and was able to reverse out. The safety car crept out to slow down the race, then quickly sped off around the corner as Vitantonio Liuzzi came into the 1st corner backwards at 150 mph. The gravel trap slowed him and he gently tapped a recovery tractor. Amazingly, Hamilton had kept his engine running and was hoisted back on the circuit to continue a lap down. Not long after the safety car was deployed, race director Charlie Whiting decided the conditions were too dangerous to continue, and the race was red flagged. The race was the first to be red-flagged since the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix, when a crash by Fernando Alonso halted the race. However, it was the first race to be red-flagged and restarted since the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix, when a crash by Luciano Burti stopped the race but was restarted after repairs to the wall. At about 2:20 p.m. local time the rain stopped and the drivers were pushed on to the starting grid, in the order that they were one lap before the red flag. Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil, Nico Rosberg, Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi did not take the restart as they all aquaplaned off the track at turn one on lap three, causing the red flag. The race restarted under safety car conditions, after one and a half minutes (as agreed by the team bosses), any lapped cars are allowed to over take all the cars in front (including the safety car) and unlap themselves. The only lapped car was that of Lewis Hamilton, who proceeded around the track (much to the confusion of some other drivers). He then proceeded to pit and change to the dry tyres, a gamble which did not pay off due to the track still being too wet and Lewis subsequently skidded off the track for several laps. When the safety car returned to the pit, race leader Markus Winkelhock lost the lead very early on after another gamble which resulted in him keeping wet weather tyres on while everybody else was on the more suitable intermediate tyre in the hope further rain would fall. It would not and eventually he was forced into retirement after a hydraulic failure on lap 15. He had, however, already made his point and it was an impressive debut considering he had only driven the car for three days in total before the race. All of those days were also dry and so this was also Winkelhock's first experience of wet weather in a Formula One car. He was later joined by Takuma Sato and Ralf Schumacher, with the latter of which involved in a collision with Nick Heidfeld who continued. Pole position holder Kimi Räikkönen was also forced to retire due to mechanical problems while catching up to the leaders running third. From then onwards, it seemed it was normal service resumed and a normal dry race with the faster Ferrari of Massa leading Fernando Alonso and slowly pulling away. Mark Webber, whose reliability problems seemed to be behind him, was driving a strong race in third with Alexander Wurz chasing him hard. But on lap 52, the rain once again fell onto the track, albeit not so heavily but it caused all the drivers to dive into the pits for the intermediate tyres. Except for Lewis Hamilton who gambled that the rain would not be heavy enough to need intermediate tyres and that he would benefit from everyone else pitting. He managed to get up to a points position of eighth, before having to pit, dropping him back down to tenth. From then onwards, Fernando Alonso's McLaren came into its own and he passed Massa on lap 56 in dramatic fashion around the outside at turn five. They had made contact and he proceeded to win the race, taking McLaren's first win at the Nürburgring since 1998 and came on the 80th anniversary of the first Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, won by Rudolf Carraciola in a Mercedes. Massa trailed him by 8.1 seconds, clearly less comfortable in the wet/dry conditions. The final podium position was claimed by Mark Webber in the Red Bull, albeit over one minute behind the leader. Alexander Wurz, David Coulthard, Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Heikki Kovalainen, who had gambled on putting intermediate tyres on early and fell from fifth position to eighth, completed the points-paying places. The Red Bull Team was ecstatic to earn ten points and they moved past Toyota in the constructors championship into sixth. Lewis Hamilton elected to change onto dry tyres, while the safety car was deployed, which ultimately proved to be far too early as the track was still wet. The decision put Hamilton a lap down and he finished the race in ninth place, the first time he had finished outside the points-scoring positions. Alonso and Massa had a heated argument (in Italian) before the podium ceremony, over their collision in the final part of the race, that was shown live on TV coverage.

Felipe Massa leading Fernando Alonso at the 2007 European Grand Prix

Felipe Massa leading Fernando Alonso at the 2007 European Grand Prix

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Monday 23rd July 2007

10 years ago

According to an article in Automotive News, Honda Motor Company Ltd. produced its 6 millionth Civic in North America.

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Friday 6th February 2009

8 years ago

The Honda Insight, billed as "the world's first affordable hybrid," went on sale in Japan. Honda took some 18,000 orders for the car within the first three weeks, pushing Toyota's Prius, known as the world's first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, out of the top-10-selling cars for that month, according to a March 2009 report in The New York Times.

Honda Insight

Honda Insight

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Tuesday 24th February 2009

8 years ago

The second-generation Honda Insight, billed as "the world's first affordable hybrid," went on sale in the United States. The Insight, a five-door hatchback, carried a price tag of just under $20,000. In 1999, a three-door hatchback version of the Insight became the first-ever gas-electric hybrid vehicle sold in the U.S. The Toyota Prius, which debuted in Japan in 1997, arrived in America in July 2000 and went on to outsell the first-generation Insight, which was retired in 2006. By the time the second-generation Insight launched in 2009, Toyota controlled 70 percent of the hybrid market in the U.S. (the planet's biggest market for hybrid vehicles).

Honda Insight

Honda Insight

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Thursday 5th March 2009

8 years ago

Ross Brawn completed the buyout of the Honda F1 team and renamed it Brawn F1. Retaining the services of experienced Honda drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, the team claimed a win at its first race in Australia and went on to win both the drivers' and constructors' championships.

Ross Brawn

Ross Brawn

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Thursday 9th April 2009

8 years ago

The Honda FCX Clarity, a four-door saloon billed as the planet's first hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicle intended for mass production, won the World Green Car award at the New York Auto Show. The first FCX Clarity cars came off the line at Honda's plant in Takanezawa, Japan, in June 2008. As The New York Times reported at the time: "Fuel-cell vehicles have been a sort of holy grail of the auto industry, offering the promise of driving without emitting air-polluting exhaust. Fuel cells work by combining hydrogen and oxygen from ordinary air to make electricity, in a process whose only by-products are water and heat." The FCX Clarity is currently available for lease in the U.S., Japan and Europe. In the U.S., it is only available to customers who live in Southern California where "fast-fill" hydrogen stations are available. As of 2010, 20 FCX Clarity were leased for $600 a month which included collision coverage, maintenance, roadside assistance and hydrogen fuel. There are around 10 others on lease in Japan and another 10 in Europe. The number of fuel cell vehicles Honda can put on the road is significantly limited by the number of hydrogen stations the company can use. According to Honda, which reportedly spent more than 15 years and millions of dollars developing its fuel-cell technology, the FCX Clarity is more fuel-efficient than a gas-powered car or hybrid and gets 74 miles per gallon of fuel. The Times also noted that fuel-cell vehicles such as the FCX Clarity are more eco-friendly than an electric car "whose batteries take hours to recharge and use electricity, which, in the case of the U.S.A., China and many other countries, is often produced by coal-burning power plants."

Honda FCX Clarity

Honda FCX Clarity

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Wednesday 7th October 2009

8 years ago

The first British made Honda Jazz car has rolled off the production line after the Swindon factory had been shut down for four months. Production had been switched from Japan in a move the manufacturer hoped would end a troubled year for the factory.

First Honda Jazz car made in UK

First Honda Jazz car made in UK

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Sunday 18th October 2009

8 years ago

British driver Jenson Button and Brawn GP secured the Drivers' Championship and Constructors' Championship titles respectively at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate race of the season. It was both Button and Brawn's first Championship success, Brawn becoming the first team to win the Constructors' Championship in their debut season. Button was the tenth British driver to win the championship, and following Lewis Hamilton's success in 2008 it was the first time the Championship had been won by English drivers in consecutive seasons, and the first time since Graham Hill (1968) and Jackie Stewart (1969) that consecutive championships have been won by British drivers. Also notable was the success of Red Bull Racing, as well as the poor performance of McLaren and Ferrari compared to the previous season. Ten teams participated in the Championship after several rule changes were implemented by the FIA to cut costs to try to minimise the impact of the global financial crisis. There were further changes to try to improve the on-track spectacle with the return of slick tyres, changes to aerodynamics and the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) presenting some of the biggest changes in Formula One regulations for several decades. The Brawn team, formed as a result of a management buyout of the Honda team, won six of the first seven races, their ability to make the most of the new regulations being a deciding factor in the Championship. The Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari teams caught up in an unpredictable second half of the season, with the season being the first time since 2005 that all participating teams had scored World Championship points. Sebastian Vettel and Button's teammate Rubens Barrichello were his main challengers over the season, winning six races between them to finish in second and third respectively.

Jenson Button - 2009

Jenson Button - 2009

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Monday 24th May 2010

7 years ago

The A66 Keswick coach accident occurred. A Honda Civic collided with a coach carrying children home from Keswick School on the A66 road in Cumbria, United Kingdom. Three people were killed and four were left seriously injured. Approximately thirty people sustained less severe injuries. The accident occurred very near Keswick in an accident hotspot. The outcome of the inquest was that the likelihood is that the Honda driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and the deaths were the "result of a tragic accident".

A66 Keswick coach accident

A66 Keswick coach accident

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Friday 11th February 2011

6 years ago

The 2011 Chicago Auto Show celebrated its 103rd edition with rave reviews and a 10 percent increase in attendance over the 10-day run when compared to the 2010 show. Two new vehicles, a 2011 Honda CR-Z and a 2011 Hyundai Sonata turbo, were awarded to the fortunate ticket holders during the First Look for Charity event held the evening before the show opened to the public. Eighteen area charities shared in the $1,905,060 raised from the tickets sold for the black-tie fund-raiser. Four brands rolled out ride and drive tracks, including Jeep, Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet. Among brands unveiled at the 2011 show included the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Volkswagen GLI, Hyundai’s Genisis 5.0 R-spec and Veloster Rally Car, the 2012 2Acura TL with Acura Vice President of Sales Jeff Conrad. The 012 Shelby GT350 convertible, Toyota Matrix and Chrysler 200 convertible were seen for the first time at this show, and Audi presented the TT RS for the first time anywhere in North America. Ram Truck announced a new trim package for the Ram Tradesman, and Dodge unleashed five new performance models. A bold experiment premiered on the second media day that proved auto shows and social media are a match made in marketing heaven.

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Tuesday 20th September 2011

6 years ago

The UK's first commercial hydrogen filling station opened in Swindon, Wiltshire, Capable of filling fuel cell and other hydrogen fuelled vehicles with gaseous hydrogen at 5,000psi and 10,000psi pressures, the single-pump facility is located within the Honda site, but is open to members of the public who have undergone a BOC safety training course – it even gives Nectar points with hydrogen fuel purchases.

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Wednesday 11th December 2013

3 years ago

The second generation Proton Perdana was finally unveiled after a 3-year gap in the nameplate's production.‪ The new Perdana was a badge engineered eighth generation Honda Accord and is currently for exclusive sale to Malaysian civil servants and government officials.‪

Proton Perdana - 2013

Proton Perdana - 2013

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Thursday 8th January 2015

2 years ago

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fined Honda $70 million for failing to submit reports of fatal accidents and injuries to the government.

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Thursday 8th January 2015

2 years ago

At Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, held at the world famous Bally's Hotel & Casino, a 1990 Honda "RC30", frame no. JH2RC3000LM200204, sold for $52,900. One of the modern era's few immediately collectible classics, the Honda VFR750R - better known as the "RC30" - was created for just one reason: to win the World Superbike Championship, a feat it achieved in the budding series' first two seasons of 1988 and '89. And while American Fred Merkel was bringing Honda its first two WSB crowns, Britain's Carl Fogarty used an RC30 to win the TT F1 World Championship in 1988 and '89, and the equivalent FIM Cup in 1990. Not just built for short circuits, the RC30 proved durable enough to win it's share of Endurance Classics, too. Part of the design had Endurance in mind with it's quick-release front fork and single-sided swingarm - essential for quick wheel changes. Those were only a taste of unrivalled specs that included a twin-spar alloy beam frame, 16-valve V4 engine with gear-driven cams, close-ratio 6-speed transmission and four-pot front brake calipers. All of which did not come cheap: at the time of its launch in 1988 an RC30 cost near double that of other Super Sport 750's. Despite the passage of time and progress of motorcycle technology, the RC30 remains a match for the latest generation of sports bikes but possesses an exclusivity that none of them can approach. According to 'Bike', "No other bike from the late-Eighties is lusted after like the RC30," and few would disagree. This RC30 was a beautiful street example, reported to be in stunning "as new" un-raced condition, showing a mere 754 miles on the odometer. The bike was meticulously stored and maintained from new.

Honda

Honda "RC30" - 1990

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Sunday 23rd August 2015

2 years ago

French rugby player, racing driver and later a Formula One team owner, Guy Ligier, died at the age of 85. With motorway construction booming in France, Ligier was able to build a large construction empire and during the period made important friends in local politicians François Mitterrand and Pierre Bérégovoy. In the late 1960s Guy started racing Porsche sportscars and even raced in Formula One with privately entered Cooper-Maserati and Brabham-Repco machinery. Neither was very successful and so in 1968 Ligier decided to form a partnership with Jo Schlesser and the two bought a pair of McLaren Formula 2 cars. Schlesser was killed that year on his Formula One debut at the French Grand Prix, at the wheel of the air-cooled Honda Formula One car, and Ligier decided he had had enough and retired. He opted to build racing cars instead and hired Michel Tétu to design the Ligier JS1, a production sportscar (the initials JS were a tribute to Jo Schlesser). The company was built up in sportscar racing but at the end of 1974 Ligier bought the assets of Matra Sports and embarked on a Formula One team. This began racing in 1976 with Jacques Laffite driving. The team became highly successful in the early 1980s with Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Didier Pironi driving. In 1981 Ligier's old friend François Mitterrand became President of France and when Ligier ran into trouble in 1983 the President ordered that government-owned companies such as Elf, Gitanes and Loto should supply sponsorship. Ligier also had preferential treatment when it came to engines, political pressure being applied to Renault to force the company to supply the team, which used Renault engines from 1984 to 1986 and from 1992 to 1994. The Ligier-Mitterrand-Bérégovoy alliance reached its peak in the early 1990s with the reconstruction of the Magny-Cours racing circuit as a new headquarters for Ligier and as a racing circuit to host the French Grand Prix. President Mitterrand and Prime Minister Bérégovoy backed the idea. Ligier also built a successful business building Ligier micro-cars. In 1992 Ligier realized that the socialist government would not last forever and sold his team to Cyril de Rouvre. He used the money he gained to corner the market in natural fertilizer in central France and set about building another fortune. Within a few months Mitterrand's Socialist Party was annihilated in the elections and Bérégovoy committed suicide on May 1, 1993. Ligier remained involved with the team in an ambassadorial role, until it was sold to Alain Prost in 1996 and was renamed Prost Grand Prix.

Guy Ligier

Guy Ligier

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Friday 10th March 2017

0 years ago

Former Formula 1 and motorcycling world champion John Surtees died at the age of 83. Surtees is the only man to have won the grand prix world championship on both two wheels and four. He won four 500cc motorcycling titles - in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 - and the F1 crown with Ferrari in 1964. At 16 he left school and became an apprentice engineer at the Vincent motorcycle factory. A year later he competed in his first solo race and won it. In 1955 he became a member of the Norton works team and rode to victory 68 times in 76 races. From 1956 to 1960 he raced 350cc and 500cc bikes for the famed Italian MV Agusta team and won seven world championships. His transition to becoming a star in cars was nearly as swift. In 1959 the by now famous bike racer was given test drives by eager talent-hunters. In his first single-seater race, at Goodwood in a F3 Cooper entered by Ken Tyrrell, Surtees finished a close second to Jim Clark, then a promising beginner with Team Lotus, whose boss Colin Chapman promptly hired Surtees for the last four races of the 1960 Formula One season. His results - a second place in the British Grand Prix and a near win in Portugal - made Surtees a driver in demand. He stopped racing motorcycles and considered several Formula One offers, including one from Chapman to partner Clark at Team Lotus. Instead, Surtees opted to drive a Cooper in 1961 and a Lola in 1962, neither venture producing much in the way of results. However, his twin strengths of talent and tenacity kept Surtees in the limelight, especially in Italy, where the former MV Agusta star was now invited to lead the country's famous Formula One team. Enzo Ferrari (who had managed a motorcycle racing team in the 1930s) was a great admirer of the passion and fighting spirit shown by Surtees the bike racer, and hired him as his number one Formula One driver for 1963. In that year's German Grand Prix at the mighty Nurburgring a ferocious fight with Jim Clark's Lotus resulted in a first championship win for John Surtees. In Italy, the former motorcycle hero known as 'Son of the Wind' and 'John the Great' was hailed as Ferrari's saviour. Nicknamed 'Big John' in English, he also became 'Fearless John' - particularly in 1964 after he won another brilliant victory at the daunting and dangerous Nurburgring, where he beat Graham Hill in a BRM. With another victory, at Monza, Surtees was in contention for the title. So, too, were his countrymen Hill and Clark, each of whom had also won two races. In their Mexican Grand Prix championship showdown Clark's Lotus was waylaid by an oil leak and Hill's BRM was accidentally shoved out of contention by Lorenzo Bandini's Ferrari, whose team mate finished second to become World Champion. For John Surtees, the satisfaction of becoming the first World Champion on both two and four wheels was only mitigated by the fact that he had clinched all his bike titles with race victories. Though he would win three more Formula One championship races, there were no more driving titles in his future. To some degree he was a victim of circumstances, though his feisty personality and fierce independence were also factors. He developed a reputation for being argumentative and cantankerous. Certainly, he said what he thought and did not suffer fools gladly. While most drivers left their aggression in the cockpit, Surtees seemed to keep his 'race face' on, which could be intimidating. In 1965, when Ferrari's Formula One cars were less competitive, Surtees ran his own Lola sportscar in the lucrative North American Can-Am series. In one of those races, late in the season at Mosport in Canada, his Lola suffered a suspension failure and crashed heavily, leaving Surtees with multiple injuries. Over the winter he forced himself back to fitness and in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa he stormed through pouring rain to score one of his most impressive victories. And yet this proved to be his last race for Ferrari. Ever since 1963 Surtees had been at odds with team manager Eugenio Dragoni. At the Le Mans 24 hour race their feud boiled over and Surtees stalked off never to return. Eventually, he agreed with Enzo Ferrari that their split was a disastrous mistake for both parties. Surtees finished 1966 with Cooper, for whom he won the season finale in Mexico, then spent two years leading Honda's new Formula One team. He helped develop the Japanese cars and was rewarded with a satisfying win in Ferrari's home race, the 1967 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, though Honda left Formula One racing a year later. After a frustrating 1969 season with BRM Surtees decided to follow the lead of Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren and form his own team, though he was destined to have much less success. In nine Formula One seasons the best results for Team Surtees were a second and a third for Mike Hailwood, himself a multiple world champion on bikes. The Team Surtees boss retired from driving in 1973 to concentrate on trying to find more performance for his cars and enough money to pay for it. Not enough of either was found, despite Surtees pushing himself mercilessly the way he did as a driver. His constant striving exacerbated medical problems (a legacy of his 1965 accident) that eventually forced Surtees out of Formula One racing in 1978. His return to health gave him a new lease on life and the former curmudgeon mellowed considerably. He retired to a beautiful old house in the English countryside, where with a new wife (his first marriage was childless) he raised a family of three. He developed an interest in architecture and was successful in real estate ventures. Only then was the one and only champion on two wheels and four able to fully enjoy his singular achievements - of which he said: "I was a bit nuts, really." In his later years Surtees spent much of his time working tirelessly for The Henry Surtees Foundation, set up after his son was tragically killed in a freak accident in a Formula Two race in 2009.

John Surtees

John Surtees

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