The Yamaha had been winning. Soichiro Honda needed to stop the Yamaha domination. His plan was to use the Honda 4-stroke 6-cylinder against the Yamaha 2-stroke 4-cylinder. In 1965, the Honda Six put up such a great fight that Yamaha had to produce an updated 4-cylinder the following year.
Instead, Honda not only produced a stronger 6-cylinder, they also had an extraordinary racer who could get the best out of the engine. His name was Mike Hailwood, who wanted to prove that he could do without MV Agusta which he previously rode for. Mike rode the Honda Six in the 250 class to a World title, winning every race he entered.
In 1967, Honda produced the RC174, a 297cc engine to compete in the 350 GP class. Mike won 7 out of 8 races. Sadly the following year, right at their peak, Honda announced their withdrawal from motorcycle racing, to the disappointment of the fans. They also paid Mike not to race for another manufacturer. It was a double blow for the fans. Many fans have gone to great length to experience the amazing howl of the 6-cylinder engine with six exhausts. It was unlike anything they had ever heard, made more amazing by Mike Hailwood. Now it was all gone.
Over forty years later, Sato the director of the factory's own museum, 'Honda Collection Hall' walked into the workshop of a retired pharmacist and Englishman, George Beale and commissioned him to build the legendary Honda Six. It was Beale's dream come true except one problem. He had to build the bike up from scratch. Even Honda did not have the original plan.
Beale persuaded his friend Teruhisa Murayama who had an original unit to send him the Six so that he could copy it. Beale recalled when he removed the engine, he found it to be too light, thinking it was probably empty inside. The engine was stripped and to his amazement not only was everything there, it was also new. Apparently, this was the last bike prepared for Mike for the 1968 race which never happened. Every component was meticulously photographed, documented, measured, X-rayed and 3D drawing made and catalogued into a handbook. Sophisticated hardness testing and metallurgical analysis were also conducted.
It was then he discovered the true beauty and toughest challenge. Not a single bearing was a standard size. Some of the alloy and surface treatments were also unknown to modern science. The internals were full of detailed complexity just to reduce weight. It began to show the extensive lengths the Japanese design team had gone to built it regardless of cost. There were simply no short cuts. Honda’s philosophy was, whatever they could dream of, they could build it and win.
Beale built a total of 6 units and it took 6 years to complete. He sold each bike for almost half a million dollars.
Mike Hailwood once said, there is no question the Honda Six was the best bike he ever rode. The bike was so fast he could ride it with one hand and still win the race.
Engine: 4-stroke 6-cylinder Inline
Weight: 260Ib (118kg)
Power: 66bhp @ 17,000rpm
Top Speed: more than 155mph (250km/h)
Print Size: A2 (420mm x 594mm)
Approx 16.53" x 23.38"
Print Type: OffSet Lithographic 4C Printing
Paper: Maple White - Acid Free - 220gsm
Take Note: Paper stock base colour do differ slightly from batches to batches due to its 50% recycle properties.
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