Honda lovingly restored a 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 pickup

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Manufacturers often restore their own significant models, but this is new to us

It’s increasingly common for manufacturers to restore an old significant model from their own back catalogue, but Honda USA has gone against the grain and restored a 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 pickup – but there’s a compelling story behind it.

Honda, best known for its passenger car success in the US amidst the 1973 fuel crisis, actually first set up shop back in 1959 as a motorcycle brand.

They weren’t producing their own cars yet (except for 50 pint-sized Honda N600s they brought over as test vehicles), so they ordered a fleet of 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 pickup trucks to transport motorbikes to dealerships across Southern California.

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To celebrate 60 years of Honda Motor America, the brand has restored and recreated one of those delivery trucks, and will be bringing it to SEMA in November.

The Honda livery is hand-painted as it was back in the 50s,, and features a pair of equally immaculate period-correct Honda motorcycles in its bed: a Honda 50 and CB160.

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In their time, the Chevy Apaches would be driven around by Honda salesmen, delivering motorcycles sold on consignment. These early years were vital for the Honda brand in establishing their foot hold in the US.

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Motorcycles, and the people who rode them, until then were seen as outlaws living on the fringe of society. Honda’s original US tagline "You meet the nicest people on a Honda" shifted the tide and made motorcycles approachable and desirable in the mainstream.

It could be said that without these Chevy trucks, Honda never would have propelled itself to the top of the US Motorcycle market – reaching a market share position of nearly 72% by 1965.

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The ½ tonne Chevy was faithfully recreated with extensive material from Honda’s archives, as well as input from ex-Honda employees. It features a 283ci V8 with a three-speed manual.

Before November comes and SEMA invades Las Vegas, the truck will be doing the rounds at various events, classic car meets and shows around Southern California.

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Following its tour of duty, it will be retired to the American Honda Collection Hall in Torrance California, in front of a replica of the original Honda Headquarters of 1959.

 

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