" 1: The Honda Insight Mk1 Back when it was released in 1999 the first mass market electric hybrid it was otherworldly and strange. And the cooler for it. A decade on it is retro progressive and quaint. Dig the clamp-busting rear wheels, "
Six of Honda’s Best
Six of Honda’s best
CT-50 Motra (1983)
Though it was designed only for the Japanese market, the Motra was a bold, quirky design that was way ahead of its time in terms of the global thirst for modern minis. Featuring that military style rugged chassis and a unique two stage gearbox (low for offroad, high for the highway), who knows how this might have become part of eighties automotive lore had it been issued in Europe?
Honda S2000 (1999)
Honda’s last mass-production nod to their sporting heritage was built almost entirely from the ground-up using all original parts – to celebrate the company’s half-century — and out of the same meticulous factory responsible for the NSX. This very affordable Boxster-beater was probably the best machine for weekend jaunts around A road roundabouts ever invented. With a naturally aspirated two litre engine you had to rev it hard to get it working, but there have been few more involving drives. Why oh why did they get rid of this beauty?
Dreamt up in the tech labs of dormant and passionate Honda F1 squad – then tweaked by the great Ayrton Senna : the NSX is a no-nonsense, technically brilliant long wheel based supercar that now looks coolly retro in an eighties kind of way. Like Duran Duran but much more fun and less pretence.
RC 166 (1966)
Ridden in 1966 to unmatched levels of brilliance by the great Mike Hailwood, the 250 cc sonic rocket rocked six cylinders mediated by a battery of gorgeous trumpets. Considered by many to be the most beautiful racing bike ever to grace a circuit. The RC 166 Made its main competition from MV look clunky and old world. Check the incredible sound.
Honda Insight (Generation One) 1999
As the first mass-produced hybrid to hit America the gen one insight was everything a weird futuristic motor should be. It had cowled wheels, was tapered madly in the rear and featured a 67 Horsepower petrol engine augmented by the electric motor. It was super light and strangely stylish – and the fact that it only had two seats made it feel like a Jetsons-era runabout for the man of the future. By far the best-looking hybrid ever to roll out of a proper factory…
RA 272 (1965)
Richie Ginther piloted Honda’s first GP winner in Mexico 1965. The RA 272 was relatively heavy for its period, but its V12 engine packed around 230 BHP and revved cleanly and serenely up to 14,000. But what’s more, it was staggeringly pretty – and featured a manifold as close to carnal in its aesthetic appeal as it’s possible to be. We particularly dig the championship-white-and-rising-sun combo. As a kid in the early seventies when you dreamt of racing cars, this was what they looked like.
CLICK TO ENLARGE