In conjunction with the upcoming 15th annual Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, Honda is taking the rare step of opening its “secret” museum to the public this coming Friday, September 20th. Didn’t know Honda had a museum? You’re not the only one. Just a stone’s throw from the company’s Torrance campus, the building is completely unmarked and gated. It’s not generally open to the public, so any opportunity to see half a century’s worth of Honda machinery in one place is worth pursuing. Yet it can’t be that big a secret: it has its own Yelp page for people to review it.
Keep in mind, this is the American Honda Museum, so you’re not likely to trip across tons of home-market-only delights like Richie Ginther’s Mexico-winning F1 car, or a JTCC Accord touring car from the ‘90s. Honda’s open-wheel history in Indycar looms large here. But what you get is a comprehensive look at all manner, from the N600 and Z600 through far newer models from both Honda and Acura. Street cars, race cars, concept cars, a recreation of the first American Honda corporate storefront (which was established in a SoCal strip mall), there are even a fair smattering of bikes, if you enjoy performance on two wheels instead of (or along with) four.
The American Honda Museum is located at 19988 Van Ness Ave, Torrance, CA 90501. It’ll be open and free from 10 a.m-2 on Friday the 20th of September, though smart money suspects that a few cars might be absent as staff prepares them for transport to Marina Green Park, home of the Japanese Classic Car Show.
Honda started selling cars in America in 1970, so with 2020 models now on the roads it’s been a solid half-century that the company has been selling cars here. We’ve also seen how Hondas are coming up in the world of collector cars: clean early NSX sports cars command six figure sums at auction, and it wasn’t long ago that an auction for a low-mileage ‘90s Integra Type R saw a $70,000 selling price. These are outliers, of course: Honda’s robust reputation sees plenty of old ones running around America, even after they’ve been Fast and Furious’ed to death. And history tells us that all of the modified ones will only serve to help boost values of the ones that remain unfussed with.