FINDING HONDA

Finding Honda: A Rare Look at the Automaker's Private Collection

By Aaron Bonk

 

A dozen or so parking spaces with the word Honda hand painted in small block lettering along their curbs are all that reveals that this building has anything to do with the once Japanese motorcycle manufacturer turned carmaker. There is no Honda sign perched along the building's facade. There is no Power of Dreams-emblazoned welcome mat out front. There isn't a single thing about where Honda houses what it calls its Private Collection that would lead passersby to believe that behind the stark-white, nondescript, Torrance, Calif. structure lies the most thorough collection of Honda and Acura automobiles outside of the company's homeland.

As it turns out, American Honda is fine with that. According to the company's former top PR executive, Kurt Antonius, the collection exists to preserve Honda's heritage, and plans for it to open itself to the public are, at best, in their infancy. 

Contrast is obvious within Honda's Private Collection. Once road-going versions of the company's more reserved luxury brand lay just steps away from six racks' worth of championship-winning racing heritage.
 
The first-generation NSX was sold with a 3.0L, 90-degree V6 engine and five-speed gearbox of which 89,000 miles are clocked onto this particular model. Despite its supercar notoriety, Honda didn't shy away from its parts-bin engineering mentality when developing the C30A1 engine. For example, the NSX's cylinder heads share much in common with B-series VTEC top ends. Although generally referred to as an NA1 chassis, the designation isn't always accurate. Honda updated the all-aluminum chassis using the NA2 code in 1997 when the NSX was fitted with the larger, 3.2L engine and six-speed transmission; its exterior wouldn't be addressed until 2002, though, which makes it easy to misclassify early NA2s as NA1s and ruffle the panties of NSX purists abroad.
 
A total of 51 cars make up Honda's Private Collection.
 
Honda's history transcends beyond a bunch of Civics. Before the NSX, but after Soichiro Honda founded a small company manufacturing piston rings for Japanese automaker Toyota, the company invested heavily in power equipment (and still does). This four-stroke, E40 generator was designed for use with Sony televisions but was later mass-produced for general use. Its output: only 40 watts.

 

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