Honda Museum Torrance California
Located just a few buildings down from American Honda headquarters in Torrance, California, the Honda museum is an indistinguishable facility that houses the automaker's most iconic and significant vehicles. It's not open to the public, but I had the chance to get a private tour with David Heath, American Honda Motor Co. senior manager, auto shows. Acting as curator, Heath walked me through what he states are "milestone cars at American Honda that has led to the company's growth in the U.S.," and identified the most valuable car in the Honda museum.
The first Honda automobile sold in the U.S., the N600 was popular in Hawaii due to its good gas mileage and the high gas prices in Hawaii at the time, according to Heath.
The first Honda coupe sold in the U.S.
"This really was the start of Honda," Heath says of the Civic, which was introduced in 1973.
Honda's first family size car for the U.S. market launched in 1976 as a three-door hatchback, and was "famous for its coin box," Heath said.
Honda's first true sports coupe, the Prelude "is an iconic car for Honda," Heath said. "Technology was led by the Prelude for Honda. It was the first to offer four-wheel steering, fuel injection, and a sunroof."
"This car was either loved or hated," Heath said of the Civic Wagon. "It was a little too before it's time and strange for some people."
This 1984 CRX was built by Mugen Motorsports, a Japanese company formed in 1973 by Hirotoshi Honda, the son of Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda.
Acura's first model sold in the U.S., alongside the larger Legend.
The very first car sold by the newly formed Acura division, the Legend is one of the milestone cars that led to Honda's success in the U.S., along with the 1973 Civic, the 1976 Accord, and the 1991 NSX, according to Heath.
Honda's current CEO Takanobu Ito was the body engineer for the first generation Acura NSX. The NSX was manufactured in Japan from 1990 to 2005 before being discontinued. Fast forward to today's second generation, 2016 Acura NSX, which will be produced at the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio in the beginning of 2015.