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MNH seeks help for new Honda exhibition 9 January 2009

Manx National Heritage is planning a new exhibition to coincide with TT 2009 and curators at the Manx Museum need your help! In 1959, Soichiro Honda had his sights set on the IOM TT.

The exhibition will mark the 50th anniversary of Honda’s arrival at the TT in 1959 and charts the growing involvement of the firm in the 1960s, reflecting Soichiro Honda’s belief that the Isle of Man TT represented the pinnacle of sporting achievement. He dedicated the entire resources of his company to achieving success in this event and the TT is still a major part of Honda’s heritage, as recent advertising campaigns have shown.

The title of the exhibition is ‘Honda: The Golden Age 1959-1967’, and it will include early Honda memorabilia, memories of Japanese riders and mechanics who came here in the 1960s, as well as film highlights.

Social History Curator Matthew Richardson, who is co-ordinating the exhibition, commented:

“When Honda machines and mechanics first appeared at the TT in 1959, they were not taken seriously. No one really believed for a moment that these little motorbikes were anything more than inferior copies of western products. For the Japanese as well it was a journey into the unknown, for many of the team had never experienced western culture or food before.

By 1967, when Mike Hailwood won the Senior for the second time on a Honda, the firms dominance was complete. In only eight short years Honda had won everything there was to win in solo racing at the TT. Along the way they had gathered legions of fans and done much to restore Anglo-Japanese relations which had been badly damaged by the war.”

If you have any memories of that first Honda team staying at the Nursery Hotel in Onchan in 1959, any photographs, or perhaps if you have any souvenirs given away by the Japanese mechanics in the pits, Manx National Heritage would like to hear from you!

If you can help please contact Matthew Richardson on 01624 648000 or email: matthew.richardson@gov.im.

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