The Honda Collection Hall is one museum that all JDM fans must go to, at least once in their lives.
Opened at Twin Ring Motegi in March 1998, the Honda Collection Hall was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the company.
I mean three levels full of Honda history, with about 350 restored motorcycles, cars, racing machines, engines and other technology products on display.
Upon walking in, you will see this huge circular glass which has Honda’s founder Soichiro Honda’s autograph and the character “夢’, which means dream. That’s exactly what Honda’s motto is: The Power of Dreams.
Soichiro Honda once said, “Products don’t lie. If a product is really good, it will succeed. What did we at Honda intend when we created our products? We should only present what we created. Our products speak the truth about Honda.” And that is what the Honda Collection Hall represents – the truth about Honda, the brand, all presented to you through its product ranges…
In the entrance hall are some iconic vehicles on display:
Honda RA272 (1965): This machine won Honda’s first F1 Grand Prix, the Mexican GP, the final race in which the 1500cc engines were used. Driver was #11 Richie Ginther.
Honda RC142 (1959): Honda competed with this RC142 in the Isle of Man TT Race, the most important Road Racing Championship at that time. Honda won the manufacturer’s team awards in this first competition of theirs. Rider was #8 Naomi Taniguchi, who came in 6th in that 1959 Isle of Man TT Race.
Honda S500 (1963): This sports car was powered by a 4-cylinder DOHC 4-carburetor engine and features chain rear-wheel drive. This marked Honda’s first venture into passenger car production.
Honda Generator E300 (1965): Most representative model of the half-million Honda generators produced in 15 years. The engine produced no cam gear noise, could be easily operated from one panel and generated both DC for charging batteries and AC.
CURTISS SPECIAL (1924): Built by Soichiro Honda when he was 18, this has a Curtiss aircraft engine. Honda was working as an assistant to Ikuzo and Shinichi Sakakibara at Art Shokai.
Other than these on display, the focus of the ground level of the Hall is the learning area where you can see the development of the humanoid bipedal robot ASIMO and Honda’s steps towards improving the environment with its future of Mobility and Green Energy.
At certain times of the day (if I’m not wrong, at 1pm and 3pm) there is a ‘live’ demonstration of ASIMO, where you can see ASIMO in action – running, kicking a ball, carrying objects and various other functions. The rest of the ground level has the museum cafe, museum shop and a library they call Reading Room.
You can take the lift up or take the stairs, to the second and third levels that will blow your mind away.. Look how cute the motifs on the lift doors are!
There are two halls on each of the second and third levels, one to the left and one to the right. The second level houses the everyday transport solutions from bicycles and motorcycles to cars and trucks and powerboats, while the third level houses all the racing machines.
This is bicycle/motorcycle hall:
This is just one section of the hall
Daimler Reitrad Replica (1885): The world’s first motorcycle, the Reitrad was built by Daimler engineer Gottheb Daimler. This test model is fitted with auxiliary wheels. This replica was produced by Daimler Benz.
Honda NR (1992): Utilising know-how from Honda’s NR (New Racing) 500GP bikes, the NR was the first production motorcycle to feature an oval piston engine. This road sports model used titanium, carbon fibre and other advanced technologies.
The hall on the other side of the second level has the road cars, trucks, lawnmowers, powerboats, engine blocks and pretty much everything automobile related. Yes, this is where you find the Beat, NSX legend, Accord, Civic…
Honda N360 (1967): Honda’s first front-wheel drive minicar was powered by a motorcycle-based engine. High-performance and excellent economy made it a bestseller.
The topmost level is where racing enthusiasts will start drooling more – it’s an entire level of Honda motorsport history! Again, one side has all the racing motorbikes and the other side has all the racing cars.
This is the two-wheel racers display hall:
Honda XR600R Baja (1992): This desert racing machine, based on the XR600R, took just 17 hours to complete the 1992 Baja 100, a 1038-mile race down the length of the Baja California Peninsula.
Honda CRF450R (2000): Developed to meet growing environmental concerns, this 4-stroke motocrosser is powered by a liquid-cooled OHC 450cc engine. This prototype won the Japanese GP in its debut race. Driver was #111 Sebastian Tortelli (France).
On the other side of this third level is the 4-wheel racing display hall:
Honda’s involvement in motorsports ranges from bikes to cars to formula cars. In terms of Formula 1, Honda as an entrant, constructor and engine supplier between 1964 and 2008. They started in F1 with the 1964 season then withdrew in 1968 after the death of Honda driver Jo Schlesser during the 1968 French Grand Prix. They came back to F1 in 1983 as an engine supplier until 1992. Then they went off and returned in 2000, providing engines for British American Racing (BAR). By the end of 2005 they bought out the BAR team and renamed it to Honda Racing. But in December 2008, they withdrew from F1 with immediate effect due to the economic crisis and sold their team to Ross Brawn.
Cooper T53 Climax (1961): The first post-World War II mid-engine model is regarded as the predecessor of the modern F1 racer. This machine was purchased by Honda as part of its own F1 development efforts and can be considered the forerunner of Honda F1 machines.
Honda RA271 (1964): Japan’s first F1 racer, the RA271 featured a Honda-made engine and chassis and debuted in the 1964 West German GP Round 6. Driver was #20 Ronnie Buckham.
Honda Engine RA271E (1964): This F1 engine, and a chassis for it, were developed by Honda in 1964, one year after Honda’s start as an automaker. A DOHC 4-valve V12, it shocked the F1 establishment with its sophisticated technology.
Williams Honda FW09 (1984): This machine with its high-power 1500cc twin turbo engine and low fuel consumption secured Honda’s first win following its return to F1, at the US GP, Round 9 of the 1984 F1 World Championship. Driver was #6 Keke Rosberg (Finland).
Williams Honda FW11B (1987): First machine to win both the Constructor’s and Driver’s Championship in F1. Driver was #6 Nelson Piquet (Brazilian).
Honda Engine RA168E (1988): Supplied to the McLaren team for the 1988 F1 World Championship, it powered a MP 4/4 chassis and was the last of the V6 twin turbo PGM-FI engines. It dominated F1 that year, winning 15 of 16 GPs.
McLaren Honda MP 4/7 (1992): Powered by an improved version of the V12 RA122E engine first introduced in 1989. Driven by Senna and Berger, the MP 4/7 was the final machine in Honda’s second F1 era. Driver was #1 Ayrton Senna.
BAR Honda 002 (2000): After an eight-year hiatus, Honda returned to F1 in 2000 with this machine. Honda developed and supplied the engine, while the development of the car and chassis helped to train a new generation of engineers. Honda finished fifth in the Constructor’s Championship. Driver was #23 Ricardo Zonta.
Honda was also in Formula 2, Super GT and IndyCar…
March Honda 86J (1986): Winner of the last five of eight starts, this machine captured the Drivers’ Championship during the first season of the All-Japan F2 Championship. Driver was #1 Satoru Nakajima.
Ralt Honda RH-6-84 (1984): Winner of the 1984 European F2 Championship Series, this was powered by the RA264E engine and won nine of the 11 races. It won the first six races of the series, making for 12 consecutive wins stretching back to 1983. Driver was #1 Mike Thackwell (NZ).
Honda NSX GT championship spec (2000): During 2000, in its fourth year of the All Japan GT Championship, four teams entered five cars. Together they won four races and the team championship. Drivers were #16 Ryo Michigami, Osamu Nakako and Hidetoshi Mitsusada.
It’s a known fact that Honda cars make good racers and here are some..
Honda Civic Si race spec car (1987): Winner of all six races in the 1600cc class of the 1987 All Japan Touring Car Championship, the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships. Drivers were #16 Osamu Nakako and Hideki Okada.
Honda Civic SiR-II race spec car (1993): In Group A, Class 3 (1600cc or less) of the All Japan Touring Car Championship, drivers Naoki Hattori and Katsutomo Kaneishi achieved four wins from a total of nine races. Hattori earned the drivers’ title and Honda won the class Constructor’s Title for seven years in a row starting in 1987.
Honda Integra Type R race spec car (2001): Finishing 1-2 in its debut race, the Tokachi 24-Hour Endurance Race, the Type R also won Round 5 of the 2001 Super Endurance Race. This race-spec model is based on the environmentally friendly high performance Integra Type R production model. Class 4 winner #17 drivers were Keiichi Tsuchiya, Katsutomo Kaneishi, Daisuke Itoh, Hikaru Miyagi.
I didn’t have the luxury of time or I would have taken every single vehicle in that building! I would suggest you set aside a few hours so you can slowly walk through and view them all.
Now I come to the most important part – HOW TO GET THERE:
BY TRAIN AND BUS:
- 100 min. by bus from the west exit of JR Utsunomiya Station
- 90 min. by bus from the north exit of JR Mito Station
- 20 min. by bus from Motegi Station (Mooka Tetsudo)
- 90 min. from Utsunomiya or Kanuma interchanges on the Tohoku Expressway
- 40 min. from the Naka or Mito interchanges on the Joban Expressway
- 30 min. from the Mito-kita Smart interchange (ETC-equipped vehicles only)
- 70 min. from the Utsunomiya-Kaminokawa interchange, 50 min. from the Tomobe interchange, and 50 min. from the Mooka interchange on the Kita-kanto Expressway
*The roads are extremely crowded on days when events are held, so please allow for extra travel time.
ADMISSION FEES & PARKING CHARGES:
*On national holidays, Golden Week and vacation periods, please check their website to see if they are open.
*Special event or race fees apply if there are special events or races being held at the track. Group rates available too.
There are other things to do at Twin Ring Motegi too, like go-karting. Twin Ring Motegi (ツインリンクもてぎ) got its name comes from having two race tracks: a 2.493-kilometre oval and a 4.8-kilometre road course. It was built in 1997 by Honda, as part of Honda’s effort to bring the IndyCar Series to Japan, helping to increase their knowledge of American open-wheel racing.
TWIN RING MOTEGI
Addresss: 120-1, HIYAMA, MOTEGI-MACHI, HAGA-GUN, TOCHIGI 321-3597 JAPAN
For more photos of the Honda Collection Hall exhibits, see here.