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Honda Super Cub is the most produced motor vehicle in the world. Cause hey, “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”

Tijana Radeska
Honda Super Hub
Honda Super Hub

After WWII, Japan started to build motorcycles and scooters to match the quality of the imported western models, but these cost so much that the majority of people in Japan could afford them. Soichiro Honda wanted to create a powered bicycle that the people would be able to afford; a model that could be used by everybody.

Honda Super Cub in the Honda Collection Hall in Japan. Photo credit

Honda Super Cub in the Honda Collection Hall in Japan. Photo credit

After a visit to Germany in 1956, he got the inspiration for creating an underbone motorcycle with a four-stroke single cylinder engine. The first model was produced in 1958 and it’s still around today. According to the statistics, by 2014, 87 million Honda Super Cubs had been produced. That makes it the most produced motor vehicle in the world.

The 50 cc CA100, a US version. Photo credit

The 50 cc CA100, a US version. Photo credit

 

1954 Kreidler K50. Photo credit

1954 Kreidler K50. Photo credit

It went with a punchy advertising campaign – “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” which remains as kind of motto to motorcyclists not only in Japan but also in the States. The advertisement was so powerful that is often studied in marketing classes.

"You meet the nicest people on a Honda" print advertisement, from poster or magazine page

“You meet the nicest people on a Honda” print advertisement, from poster or magazine page

Soichiro Honda was the engineering mind, while his partner, Takeo Fujisawa, took care of the business.

The Honda Super Cub was a satisfying creation for both of them – everybody loved it and, more importantly, could afford it. Meanwhile, none of Honda Motor’s competitors could offer something similar.

1972 C70. Photo credit

1972 C70. Photo credit

The Super Cub is comparable to the Ford Model T, Volkswagen Beetle, and the Jeep as an icon of 20th-century industry and transport. The Super Cub belongs neither to the category of scooter nor motorcycle, but somewhere between the two. Various names are used for it, such as “moped”, “step-thru” and “scooterette”.

Late 2000s Super Cub. Photo credit

Late 2000s Super Cub. Photo credit

It has a plastic fairing which protects the legs of the rider from wind and road debris. This gives it the shape of a scooter, but unlike one, the Cub’s engine and gearbox are installed away from the seat. Placing the engine in the center of the frame, rather than close to the rear wheel, gave it proper front-rear balance.

The Super Cub early push-rod engine. Photo credit

The Super Cub early push-rod engine. Photo credit

 

The instruments of a 1966 CA100. Photo credit and 2009 Super Cub 110. Photo credit

The instruments of a 1966 CA100. Photo credit and 2009 Super Cub 110. Photo credit

The advertisement campaign for the Super Cub was also notable for including pictures not just of traditional, handsome, motorcycle-riding guys, but women and middle-aged people as well.

A group of Honda Monkey Bike riders. Photo credit

A group of Honda Monkey Bike riders. Photo credit

The Cubs have been associated with women ever since. In 1964, Brian Wilson and Mike Love composed the song “Little Honda”, which was performed by The Beach Boys.