It was 1945...



"It was 1945. Japan's postware economy was bleak and Soichiro Honda was nearly broke. His small piston ring and airplane propeller factory had been blown to bits by the allies, and he and his buddies were drinking their way through a 200-litre drum of black market medicinal alcohol. Then, somewhere, somehow, Honda picked up 500 small gasoline engines the Japanese Army had used to power field radios during the war. Honda bolted them on bicycles, fueled them with pine root resin laced with gasoline, and they sold like hotcakes. Now to develop a dealer organization. By 1950, the company had less than 200 outlets, but untapped were 18,000 bicycle shops across Japan. So Honda's sales chief wrote to every one of them, offering a new motorized bicycle designed by Soichiro. Overnight, Honda had a national network of 5,000 dealers. To this day you'll find Honda products for sale in most Japanese bicycle shops."

From "How to Keep Your Honda Alive"