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Honda Builds Cars With Soul, and These Vintage Photos Prove It

A fun visual look into Honda’s adorable past.

Conner GoldenWriterGetty ImagesPhotographer

In sharp contrast to its American counterparts, the Japanese automotive industry is relatively young. Sure, Japan dominates the non-truck sales charts year-over-year, but its unimpeachable reputation for reliability, affordability, and ease-of-use only developed in earnest in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Aside from a relatively small influx of Datsuns, Mazdas, Toyotas, and Hondas in the 1960s, Japanese automakers were essentially also-rans in the U.S. until the Oil Crisis of the early 1970s. So, we thought it's high time to flip through the archives to scrounge up some vintage Honda images from various decades to highlight some of the higher points in the automaker's timeline.

While Honda today is a powerhouse of industry, serving as one of the world's most prolific and popular automakers, remember: Unlike our archive dive with Cadillac and MGs, much of Honda's automotive history began in the 1960s, so you won't find anything earlier than that. Of course, we picked out a few of our favorites, but don't miss the full gallery.

Soichiro Honda in a Honda S800 Roadster, 1967

Any look at vintage Honda images should start off with a bang: Here's Mr. Honda himself wheeling the Honda S800, the latest and greatest vehicle at the time to wear the stylized Honda "H." What makes it even better is the fact there is no additional information provided about where, when, or why. Go, Soichiro, go.

England's First Batch of S800s Waiting at the Dock, 1967

Speaking of the little roadster, here's an overhead image of the first batch of S800s to make it to the U.K., waiting at the London docks.

What Honda Dealers Looked Like, 1979

A decade after those S800s arrived, this is what you would expect to see in a British Honda dealer if you walked inside. While the Accord is always fetching, we're suckers for Honda's more agricultural workhorses like the TN Acty van featured here in one of our favorite vintage Honda images.

A Couple with a Honda CVCC and Puch Maxi Moped, 1980

It doesn't seem this lovely couple shared our above sentiment. Here they pose proudly with their minty Civic (known then as the CVCC), next to a Puch Maxi moped of similar vintage.

HMGRWN Honda, 1983

While Honda is irrefutably a Japanese automaker, it made a name for itself as one of the earliest investors in American manufacturing, particularly with its Marysville, Ohio plant, which opened in 1982. Despite major pushback from Detroit, Honda was and remains proud of its foothold. This vintage Honda image is one for the automotive-history textbooks.

Honda Accord BTCC, 1997

Let's bring home our quick roundup of vintage Honda images with a splash of some of that Honda motorsports magic. The automaker has never spent much time away from the racing circuit, dallying in nearly every permutation of the sport with varying degrees of success. Here's a shot of a Honda Accord prepped for the British Touring Car Championship. This particular car didn't claim any laurels, but a similarly prepped Accord took the top spot in the Independent Class.