Saturday 17th November 1906
Born on this day, Soichiro Honda, founder of the Honda Motor Company. Honda, who displayed remarkable mechanical intuition even at a young age, began working in an auto repair shop in Tokyo at age 15. In 1928, Honda returned to Hamamatsu to set up another branch of the repair shop, and also began pursuing his youthful passion for motor car racing. In 1936, Honda won his first racing trophy at the All-Japan Speed Rally, but nearly died when his car crashed shortly after setting a speed record. When World War II was over, Japan’s industry was in shambles, and Honda saw an opportunity to beat swords into plowshares by starting an automotive company of his own. He bought a surplus of small generator engines from the military at a bargain price and began attaching them to bicycle frames. Honda’s fuel-efficient vehicles were popular in a time when fuel was scarce, and in September of 1948, with only $1,500, Honda formed the Honda Motor Company in Hamamatsu.