|"A Product That Has Good Appearance is Also Good on the Inside" (1957)
In May 1957, Honda underwent its sixth capital increase, which brought its capitalization to ¥360 million. Then, in August, the company created a revolutionary new product. This was a motorcycle that we should actually say was first imagined and then made. It was the Dream C70, which was put on sale in September of that year. It is slightly reminiscent of the NSU Supermax, made in Germany, which had an influence on it. However, this motorcycle already possessed the distinctive Honda character that Honda was seeking to express. It was the first bike to strongly capture that unique Honda personality.
The Dream C70 proclaimed with its entire being that it was a Honda product. The book titled Honda Engine Development: A Thirty-Year History proudly affirms that everything from the engine to the styling of this, Honda's first 250 cc twin-cylinder OHC, was "filled with original ideas."
Mass-production mid-displacement 4-stroke engines of 250 cc were dominated by the single-cylinder types at that time. There were hardly any twin-cylinder engines in existence. This machine was Honda's 4-stroke response to the 2-stroke twin-cylinder machines that had suddenly achieved improved performance and started coming to the forefront around that time.
The C70 was also the first product to take full advantage of the powerful machine tools in which Honda had invested ¥450 million. It could not have been imagined even a short year before that Honda would have the capability to create a world-class product worthy of exporting to the countries whose motorcycle industries led the world. And now its first such product had been born.
It was more powerful than Japanese 2-stroke machines in the same class, and its price was lower. It had a power output of 18 PS at 7400 rpm. This was Honda's first high-rpm, high-power motorcycle. It achieved such high revolutions that rumors even sprang up casting doubt on its durability.
Honda's first book, Speaking Frankly (Zakku Baran), contains the following passage:
"We put our emphasis on higher engine power. However, Honda increases power by raising engine revolutions, so some people seem to be criticizing our engines for being short-lived. Manufacturers that think this way might not get very long engine life themselves. If the engineering design is poor and precision is low, then the resulting friction will eat up power, so the efficiency is also low. If you try to force higher revolutions on an engine like that, it's bound to break down. But it would be wrong of them to say that, just because our engines would break down, Honda's must break down, too. If Honda engines are so bad, then nobody would be buying them, but the fact is, they are selling very well. Those manufacturers are using their own level of technology as a yardstick for measuring ours. They should stop that kind of petty behavior and confess honestly that they aren't able to do what we can do. Only then will they get to the point of realizing that they had better raise their own level of engineering. All they know how to do is suspiciously figure that a 4-stroke twin can't possibly be sold at that low a price, so there must be shoddy work inside it somewhere. People like that aren't experts in the field. When you come down to it, sham expertise is engineering's great enemy."
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