Thursday, May 17, 2007

Limitless Dreams: Operation Special M

"This is a totally eccentric company. This is something the Old Man was often saying around then that made an impression on me: 'Make it something that fits in your hand!' At first I didn't understand what he meant. After a while, I figured out that what he meant was, he wanted to make motorcycles an intimate presence in people's lives, something that anyone could use without fuss or worry. In other words, this was making motorcycles into personal tools, universalizing them. Make them like the tools you use with your hands."

"Actually, in the early 1970s, there was some talk of doing a full model change. That was when I became managing director of the R&D Center. I said, okay, it looks like a tough job so I'll handle it. I traveled all over the world, and for about a year I went over possibilities with Mikihiro Kohyama, a body man, only to reject them one after another. No, it took longer than that, and whatever design we tried, we couldn't surpass what we already had. We just didn't have it in us. There wouldn't be anything to gain by a model change. The conclusion I reached was to say, 'Mr. Super Cub, I'm sorry I was such a smart aleck,' and give my best salute," he said, laughing. "That bike is like the crystallization of the Old Man's feelings when he was at the peak of his powers. We'd been mistaken to even consider making a model change in the first place."

Read the whole story at Honda here

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