Sixty years ago Honda got things rolling with a fleet of Chevys trucks – the first of which was a Chevrolet Apache 10.
It is tough to imagine today but there was a time when Honda was new to North America and relied on a small fleet of pickups to deliver its motorcycles to dealers.
The year was 1959 and as the Honda Ridgeline was some 50 years in the future, the company bought a fleet of Chevy trucks to run bikes to its fledgling dealers around the LA basin from the small office that served as company headquarters. The pickup must have spent a lot of time on the road because by 1965 Honda was the bestselling motorcycle in the market.
To celebrate Honda’s 60th anniversary in North America, that included the move from a quaint little headquarters to the sprawling corporate campus not far from LAX, someone at Honda thought it would be a great idea to find one of those trucks and recreate a photo from the old days. The restored Chevrolet Apache 10 is a 1961 longbox with a three-speed transmission and a 283 cubic-inch V8 featuring factory correct white paint and period graphics.
Riding in the back of the truck are two models that helped make Honda what it is today and lead to all those Gold Wings, Shadows, Civics and Accords that now bear the company brand. One of the machines is a 1965 Honda Super Cub which made “You Meet the Nicest People on a Honda” ubiquitous to the era. With semi-automatic transmission and centrifugal clutch, the Cub was the forerunner of some current Honda offerings.
The other two-wheeler in the bed of the Chevrolet Apache is a 1965 Honda CB160, one of the company’s first bikes with a tubular steel frame rather than a stamped steel monocoque.
The question now is, given the unenviable choice, would you rather have the impeccably restored old truck or the old motorcycles?
• John Molony, Canadian Biker Issue #345