Honda is well known for its long-standing Civic and Accord passenger cars, but it gained notoriety much earlier as a builder of simple and affordable scooters. The Honda Super Cub, first produced in 1958, has since become so iconic that its shape and design were granted a trademark from the Japanese Patent Office.
As of March 2014, Honda has built over 87 million Super Cub scooters—the largest of any motorcycle worldwide. To this day, the Honda Super Cub retains cult following which has changed about as little as the scooter’s simplistic design. The original Super Cub, introduced first as the Honda C100, use a 4.5-hp, four-stroke 50cc one-cylinder married to a semi-automatic transmission.
Designers engineered the Honda Super Cub to be both compact and usable, following founder Soichiro Honda’s instructions to, “Make something that fits in your hand!” The Super Cub’s low floor and step-through design made it easy for men, women, and younger riders alike to operate.
The Honda Super Cub is now being produced at 15 production plants in 14 countries around the world, gaining such ubiquitous popularity in countries such as Vietnam that “Honda” is reportedly synonymous with “motorcycle.”
Those who see the Super Cub design immediately recognize it as a Honda — a significant factor for Honda to gain such a rare three-dimensional trademark for an industrial product. In fact, the news represents the first time that any automotive product (rather than simply its name) has been registered as an official trademark.