Japanese automobile pioneer engineer, industrialist, and founder of the Honda Motor Company, Soichiro Honda was born November 17, 1906 . In 1937, Honda founded Tōkai Seiki to produce piston rings for Toyota. During World War II, a US B-29 bomber attack destroyed Tōkai Seiki’s Yamashita plant in 1944 and the Itawa plant collapsed in the 1945 Mikawa earthquake. After the war, Honda sold the salvageable remains of the company to Toyota for ¥450,000 and used the proceeds to found the Honda Technical Research Institute in October 1946. In 1948 he started producing complete motorcycles and gradually turned the company into a billion-dollar multinational that produced the best-selling motorcycles in the world, which resulted in Honda motorcycles outselling Triumph and Harley-Davidson in their respective home markets. In 1959 Honda Motorcycles opened its first dealership in the United States. Honda remained president until his retirement in 1973, where he stayed on as director and was appointed “supreme adviser” in 1983. His status was such that People magazine placed him on their “25 Most Intriguing People of the Year” list for 1980, dubbing him “the Japanese Henry Ford.”
In retirement Honda busied himself with work connected with the Honda Foundation. Even at his advanced age, Soichiro and his wife Sachi both held private pilot’s licenses. He also enjoyed skiing, hang-gliding and ballooning at 77, and he was a highly accomplished artist. He and Takeo Fujisawa made a pact never to force their own sons to join the company. His son, Hirotoshi Honda, was the founder and former CEO of Mugen Motorsports, a tuner for Honda vehicles who also created original racing vehicles.Soichiro Honda died on August 5, 1991 of liver failure. He was posthumously appointed a Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. Howevr the company he founded has gone from strength to strength and were the first Japanese automobile manufacturer to release a dedicated luxury brand, Acura in 1986.
Today Honda are primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and have been the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the world’s largest manufacturer of internal combustion engines measured by volume, producing more than 14 million internal combustion engines each year. Aside from their core automobile and motorcycle businesses, Honda also manufactures garden equipment, marine engines, personal watercraft and power generators, amongst others. Since 1986, Honda has been involved with artificial intelligence/robotics research and released their ASIMO robot in 2000. They have also ventured into aerospace with the establishment of GE Honda Aero Engines in 2004 and the Honda HA-420 HondaJet, Was rleased in 2012.
known as Il Mantovano Volante (The Flying Mantuan) or Nivola, the Italian motorcycle and racecar driver Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari was born 16 November 1892 He was the 1932 European Champion in Grand Prix motor racing. German engineer Ferdinand Porsche called Nuvolari “The greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.”Tazio Nuvolari started out in motorcycle racing in 1920 at the age of 27. In 1925 he captured the 350cc European Championship. From then until the end of 1930, he competed both in motorcycle racing and in automobile racing. For 1931, he decided to concentrate fully on racing cars and agreed to race for Alfa Romeo’s factory team, Alfa Corse. In 1932 he took two wins and a second place in the three European Championship Grands Prix, winning him the title.
He won four other Grands Prix including a second Targa Florio and the Monaco Grand Prix.After Alfa Romeo officially left Grand Prix racing, Nuvolari stayed on with Scuderia Ferrari who ran the Alfa Romeo cars semi-officially. During 1933, Nuvolari left the team for Maserati after becoming frustrated with the Alfa Romeo’s performance. At the end of 1934, Maserati pulled out of Grand Prix racing and Nuvolari returned to Ferrari, who were reluctant to take him back, but were persuaded by Mussolini, the Italian prime minister.The relationship with Ferrari turned sour during 1937, and Nuvolari raced an Auto Unionas a one-off in the Swiss Grand Prix that year before agreeing to race for them for the 1938 season. Nuvolari remained at Auto Union until Grand Prix racing was put on hiatus by World War II. The only major European Grand Prix he never won was theCzechoslovakian Grand Prix. Upon his return to racing after the war, he was 54 and suffering from ill health. His final race, in 1950, saw him finish first in class and fifth overall. He died in 11 August 1953 from a stroke.