How Honda Became My Go-To Brand
It All Began With a 50cc Honda Trail Bike
My admiration and appreciation of Honda began long ago when I was a kid. My dad bought a little 50cc Honda trail bike for me that survived far more abuse than it ever deserved. At that age, I only knew two speed - full brakes or wide open throttle. And, wide open it stayed…in every gear…for hours each day from the time I came home from school until it became too dark outside to see. That tough little bike endured a daily thrashing for at least a year or two and only let me down once when I managed to break a gear in the transmission. Thankfully, my dad fixed it and I was back on the trails.
Later, I graduated to an 80cc trail bike that endured much of the same conditions and never broke down. It was followed by a 125cc Honda four-wheeler then a 150cc Honda scooter. Looking back, I’m amazed at how well they all held up given how hard I drove them.
I really didn’t know much about the brand when I got my first Honda bike - it just happened to be what my dad bought for me. He had owned a few Honda motorcycles when he was younger, but my family never owned any Honda cars or any foreign cars for that matter. We were mostly a Ford and GM family.
Growing Up Around GM
My grandfather was a mechanic with a fondness for GM vehicles. I spent a lot of time growing up around his shop watching him work on Chevrolets, Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, and Buicks. I remember helping him rebuild starters, alternators, and carburetors before I was seven years old.
I believe it was these childhood memories that later developed into my preference for GM vehicles when I became old enough to drive. I had a few Fords, but GM brands were really my preference. As I got older, I began paying attention to brand ratings in magazines and noticed that there were always a few brands, including Honda, that seemed to receive high praise for their reliability and resale value.
So far, I had become accustomed to regular trips to the dealer for warranty repairs and poor trade-in value. Not knowing any better, I just assumed this was part of automobile ownership. It didn’t occur to me until some time later that the Honda motorcycles I had as a kid were exceedingly reliable and held their value well.
The last vehicle I purchased before my first Honda was a Buick Regal. I almost bought an Accord, but decided on the Regal at the last minute. The Buick was a bit quieter, had a more powerful engine, more features, and a smoother ride. Those elements gave me the impression that the Regal was the better value at the time. Unfortunately, it spent more than its fair share of time at the dealer for various warranty repairs and was worth next to nothing when I finally traded it off several years later despite being as clean as the day I bought it.
My First Honda Automobile
The Regal served me reasonably well, but I always wondered if owning a Honda might have been even better. After finally buying my first Honda automobile, the first thing I noticed about it was how well it was built. Gaps were consistent, trim pieces fit together properly, and the car had a solid feel to it. The buttons has a precise movement and sound, all of the important controls were within easy reach, and there were many little details that gave me the impression that this car was well thought out instead of something that was thrown together and rushed down the assembly line.
After having owned the Honda for several months, it occurred to me one day that I hadn’t experienced one single problem with the car. Everything worked perfectly. There were no unusual noises. Nothing needed adjustment. It was essentially a perfect vehicle compared to what I was used to. Ultimately, I ended up buying several more Hondas since that time. I cheated on them a couple of times when I needed or wanted something that had no Honda equivalent, but the ownership experience has kept me loyal.
A lot has changed in the automotive industry and the world in general since my first Honda a decade ago. Honda has had some uncharacteristic slips in quality and design while other manufactures have made significant improvements. Even though the gap has narrowed, Honda remains my go-to brand for now. While I enjoy seeing, driving, and recommending other brands as part of my passion and interests for automobiles, Honda remains my personal preference.