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Ghosts of Honda past

"Racing improves the breed."

" We will not be content with this victory alone [first win in F1]. We will study why we won and aggressively apply those winning technologies to new cars."

"The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred."

"If Honda does not race there is no Honda."

The man who said all these things created the great company that still bears his name. That company made its name selling economy cars, but every product with an H on it was imbued with a little bit of Mr Honda's spirit. He understood that racing didn't just make better components and better cars, it made better engineers as well. Engineers who understood what made a great car, not just a car that sold well.

When Soichiro Honda died, he took the guiding force of Honda Motor Company with him, and slowly, all the people who helped him make the company retired or left, and have been replaced with bean-counters who couldn't care less about making a car that excites you, every time you start it. The performance spirit took a few years to disappear completely, but if you look at today's Honda/Acura lineup, it is clear that it's gone.

If Mr Honda came back today, and saw some of the products that now bear his name, he'd be throwing piston heads at some of his employees, as he used to in the early days of the company


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