Honda Collection Hall’s Vehicles Are Ever Ready To Ride

Kuniyoshi Iwata keeps the historic museum motorcycles moving.

Honda Collection Hall
The Honda Collection Hall houses historically significant machines from the manufacturer, and each one is kept in perfect mechanical condition.Honda

In 1998, the world-famous Honda Collection Hall was established in the compound of Twin Ring Motegi, Honda’s very own racetrack. A most appropriate location to proudly display and keep in perfect functional shape 350 of the most iconic pieces of two- and four-wheeled machinery—machines that made history in motoring and motor racing starting in the late 1940s.

Most of the motorcycles at the museum are Hondas, but the Honda Collection Hall hosts some very unique specimens from the competition, like the legendary 1957 World Championship Mondial 125 and 250 GP models that won in the hands, respectively, of Tarquinio Provini and Cecil Sandford. As the legend is told, Soichiro Honda visited the Mondial factory in Milan and spent lots of time analyzing those all-conquering 125cc and 250cc singles. At the end of the visit he asked Mondial owner, Count Giuseppe Boselli, to sell him one. Count Boselli donated Provini’s 125 GP title winner to Honda, and now the bike is the first on show when one enters the Collection Hall. Other times, other gentlemen…

The Honda Collection is unique not only for the exclusiveness of the pieces contained within, but also because all are kept in perfect functional condition, ready for a ride at any time. It takes a super-professional organization to accomplish such a complex undertaking, and the man leading this team of five super specialists is Kuniyoshi Iwata.

Honda Collection Hall
You can take a virtual tour of the Honda Collection Hall here that includes video clips of some of the machines on the racetrack.Honda

Iwata learned his supreme skill working at the Honda factory and then as a member of the team that, from the 1980s through part of the 1990s, kept the NSR500s of Freddie Spencer and Mick Doohan in world winning conditions. Iwata has a special love affair with the first edition of the NSR500; it was the first race motorcycle he worked on. That was the NSR500 with the tank located under the engine. It did not win the 500cc World Championship, but from it, HRC learned a lot about motorcycling dynamics.

In addition to having the immense pleasure and privilege of keeping all those fantastic machines in top form, Iwata does get to ride many of the motorcycles, but only at low speeds during shakedown checks before the bikes are paraded by other riders at events in Japan and around the world.

Kuniyoshi Iwata’s team
Kuniyoshi Iwata’s team keeps the motorcycles and cars housed within the Honda Collection Hall prepared for operation at any time.Honda

Last November, Honda celebrated its riders and pilots at Honda Racing Thanks Day; that day some of the most precious pieces of the collection were cheered by a crowd of almost 20,000 people. Those in attendance went wild seeing Eddie Lawson’s 1989 NSR500 World Champion bike and Ayrton Senna’s 1988 McLaren-Honda MP4/4 World Champion F1 car, both screaming back to life with a long-lost sound.

To get their impressive mission accomplished, Iwata and his five colleagues can count on support from Honda R&D Center Asaka for motorcycles and from Honda Racing Development Sakura for cars. Since opening in 1998, Honda Collection Hall has fulfilled the dream of company founder Soichiro Honda, who realized the importance of showing the company’s history to the public. Thanks to the tireless effort of Iwata-san.