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Honda restores 1961 Chevy pickup to celebrate 60 years in America
To commemorate American Honda’s 60th anniversary, the company has located and restored a half-ton ’61 Chevy pickup. You might be wondering why this makes any sense, but it all has to do with a literal snapshot in time at American Honda HQ in 1961.
American Honda Motor Company first set up shop on Los Angeles’ Pico Avenue 60 years ago, in 1959, selling the 50cc Super Cub motorcycle. Within six years, Honda was America’s best-selling motorcycle brand, with nearly three-quarters of the market.
There is a historic photo taken of the modest Pico Ave. headquarters in 1961. Parked on the sidewalk in front of the shop was a white 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 pickup truck, wearing Honda logos in red, with a Honda 50 (as the Super Cub was marketed in the U.S.) and a CB160 in the bed. That year, AHM bought 10 Chevy pickups to deliver motorcycles to its growing network of dealers in Southern California. The trucks were an important element in establishing a foothold for Honda in the American market, and the company is not ashamed to attribute some of that success to a competitor’s product.
Using the resources of both company archives and retired employees to get the details just right, Honda replicated the original paint scheme and livery for this true-to-the-photo ‘61 Chevy. Honda even loaded the bed with perfect examples of the Honda 50 and CB160, just as in the photograph.
The “Honda Chevy” and its two bikes are currently on display in the lobby of American Honda’s present headquarters in Torrance, California, which is a bit more substantial than its former Pico Ave. digs.
Over the next few months, the truck will appear at car shows and events in Southern California and around the country, culminating in an appearance at the 2019 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Eventually, it will find its final home at the American Honda Collection Hall at the Torrance HQ, where it will go on display in front of a replica of the Pico office.