As part of its 60th anniversary celebration, American Honda Motor Co. has restored a 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 pickup truck. Wait! What? Why?
It’s because not long after Honda opened shop in the United States in 1959, it purchased a small fleet of Chevy pickups that were used to deliver Honda motorcycles to dealerships in Southern California. One of those trucks is shown in a now iconic period photo, parked in front of America Honda Motor’s original office, located at 4077 Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles.
“Underscoring their importance during those early days, American Honda restored a truck to authentically match the one in the old photo, helping celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary,” the company said in revealing the restored truck.
“Tapping its U.S. archives and memories of retired Honda associates for details, a 1961 Chevy half-ton pickup was found and carefully renovated, replicating the original paint scheme as used by company salesmen delivering motorcycles to dealers to sell on a consignment basis,” the news release continued.
“These trucks helped American Honda quickly establish a U.S. market foothold, starting in Southern California. By 1965, Honda was the best-selling motorcycle brand in America with a market share of almost 72 percent.”
The restored truck is complete with hand-painted graphics like those done in 1961 and carries in its bed vintage Honda 50 and CB160 motorcycles.
The truck and bikes are on display in the American Honda headquarters building in Torrance, California, but will be going to several car shows, including the 2019 SEMA Show this fall in Las Vegas, and to other events around the country.
“Ultimately, the truck will make its way to the American Honda Collection Hall in Torrance, where it will be staged in front of a replica of the company’s original Los Angeles office,” the company said.
The restored truck has a half-ton chassis, 8-foot bed, 283cid V8 engine and 3-speed manual transmission.
In its bed are a red 1965 Honda 50, known in other global markets as the Super Cub, and a Honda CB150.
The Honda 50, nicknamed the “Nifty Thrifty Honda 50,” was “the first big success among the Honda motorcycles sold in the U.S.,” American Honda noted.
“Easy to ride for almost anyone, the Honda 50 became a surprise hit – immortalized in the ‘You meet the nicest people on a Honda’ marketing campaign’.”
The bike has a 49cc single-cylinder engine and 3-speed semi-automatic transmission.
The 1965 Honda CB6160 was one of Honda’s early small-displacement sport bikes.
“Cycle World magazine dubbed the new bike a ‘baby Super Hawk’ at the time. It was popular with young riders moving up from the Honda 50 or 90 who wanted something that looked like a true motorcycle.”
The bike has a 161cc single-overhead-cam vertical twin engine, 4-speed manual transmission and electric starter.