What’s Honda motorcycles doing restoring a Chevy (and talking about it?)

Well, shortly after American Honda Motor Co. (AMH) opened for business in the United States in 1959, it bought a bunch of Chevrolet pickup trucks so it could deliver motorcycles to its fledgling dealers across Southern California.

One of these trucks is depicted in a period photo circa 1961 in front of AHM’s original office at 4077 Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Underscoring their importance during those early days, American Honda has restored a truck to authentically match the one in the old photo, helping celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary.

Drawing on its archives and memories of retired Honda associates for details, a 1961 Chevy half-ton pickup was found and carefully restored.

The original paint scheme was also replicated (remember the photo is in black and white) as used by company salesmen delivering motorcycles to dealers to sell on a consignment basis.

These trucks helped American Honda quickly establish a foothold in the US market, starting in Southern California.

By 1965, Honda had become the best-selling brand of motorcycles in America, with a market share of almost 72 percent.

To go with the truck, two vintage motorcycles — a Honda 50 and CB160 — like those originally carried in the trucks, were sourced.

The truck and precious cargo is now on display in the lobby of American Honda’s Torrance, California headquarters.

Plans for public display include the 2019 SEMA Show and other events around the country, as well as classic vehicle gatherings around Southern California.

Ultimately, the truck will make its way to the American Honda Collection Hall in Torrance, where it will be placed in front of a replica of the company’s original Los Angeles office.

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Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.