1960s / 2014 Geneva Motor Show / Formula One / Honda / Japanese

Live from the Geneva Motor Show: 1964 Honda RA271

geneva-honda-ra271-4Honda is showing off a 1964 RA271, the first race car it entered in a Formula One race. The car debuted at the 1964 German Grand Prix held on Germany’s famed Nürburgring track with American pilot Ronnie Bucknum at the wheel.

Riding on a brand new chassis, the Honda RA271 was equipped with light alloy panels in order to save weight. The 1.5-liter V12 engine was mounted transversally in order to achieve the best available weight distribution, a lesson learned from the company’s expertise in building motorcycles.

Honda initially wanted to paint the RA271 in an instantly-recognizable shade of gold but it opted for ivory when the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) gave the color to South Africa. A rising sun on the front end of the car pays homage to its Japanese genes.

Mechanical issues took the RA271 out of a race held at Watkins Glen and Honda did not finish the 1964 season. It returned to racing the following year with an updated version of the car dubbed RA272.

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