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Motegi Twin Ring Raceway - Honda Collection Hall - Museumtour

When You Die, Have Them Spread Your Ashes Here

By Les Bidrawn, Photography by Les Bidrawn

Some folks head to Graceland, others to Mecca. If you're a Honda fan, make a pilgrimage to Honda's Collection Hall at the Motegi Twin Ring Raceway because it's the closest thing to automotive nirvana since the synchromesh.

The entire Motegi complex is nestled in lush forests and farmlands 2.5 hours north of Tokyo and is one of the most beautiful race arenas we've ever seen. The Collection Hall is flanked by Honda's Fan Fun Lab, which is an interactive facility filled with the latest in Honda technology, including the robot ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility). ASIMO is capable of several human movements, including walking and climbing stairs.

Just what is a "collection hall" anyway? In this case, it's basically a museum with tons of cool Honda stuff, some of which you've seen and lots that never made it into mass production. On the first floor, visitors are introduced to the early days and dreams of Soichiro Honda, the founder of the company. In the North Tower, a number of passenger cars and motorcycles, including the S600, NSX-R and other power products are exhibited. Also, major racing motorcycles from the early days and those currently manufactured are in parallel exhibition.

The second floor, themed "Enthusiasm for Motorsports," displays hundreds of racing motorcycles. The exhibitions include the RC143, with which Soichiro Honda followed through on his declaration to participate in Isle of Man TT Race, and the NR500 racing machine.

In the North Tower, racecars, including the RA272 that gave the company its first victory in Formula One, are exhibited. The second floor bridge, which interconnects the towers, features exhibitions indicating the long history of Honda. Included here is a Curtis automobile Soichiro raced in his youth in 1924.

The third floor holds the theme of "Pursuit of Dreams." The exhibitions are the major products in the company's history-street motorcycles like the Super Cub, and passenger cars, such as N360, Civic and so on.

The Collection Hall houses a few restaurants, a gift shop or two and is annexed by a stunning, surgically clean restoration/machine shop. It's open weekdays from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and weekends from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Admission is free with Twin Ring general admission.

By Les Bidrawn
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