It’s not just car enthusiasts that have a spot soft for automobiles. Sometimes an eye-catching car in an iconic film or commercial can really leave its mark on a person and our culture. One iconic brand that has managed to make such a mark is Honda. Cruise by any Honda dealership and take in the view of the popular Civic to the friendly Odyssey or the functional CR-V, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Where there’s a parking lot, there’s a Honda. Honda started as a manufacturer of auxiliary engines for bicycles in the 1940s. Soon the demand was greater than the supply, and Honda quickly expanded. In 1947, the company released the A-type engine with its name printed on the side for the first time.
The company moved on to motorsports and farming equipment, expanding globally to the UK, Australia, and by 1959, the United States. Honda opened its first US subsidiary in Los Angeles, which makes sense considering it was a star of the engineering world. From motorcycles to race cars to mini trucks, Honda continued to break boundaries when it came to engineering. In 1972, it announced the arrival of its first low-emissions CVCC engine to comply with the new US Clean Air Act. By 1981, it introduced the world’s first car navigation system, and by 2000 it had created ASIMO, a humanoid robot.
The list of Honda’s achievements could go on from creating the first FCX fuel cell vehicle to the launch of its 2021 car, the Level 3 Autonomous Honda Legend. Honda has made its mark on culture across the globe, and its reach doesn’t stop at the road or the racetrack, but movies, TV, and even music! When people reference a well-oiled machine, chances are they are thinking about a Honda. Having trouble remembering where you saw that Honda? We get it; they are fast-moving cars that are often here and gone before you know it. So let’s slow things down and look at some common pop culture places Honda has made its mark, and we bet you’ll say, “Oh, hey, there’s a Honda!”
Honda in Films
One of the best places in pop culture to spot a Honda is in films. One of the things we love about Honda vehicles is that they can be understated, like the white 1980 Honda Civic SL Bruce Willis drove in Pulp Fiction, or they can be flashy like the street racers in the Fast and the Furious franchise. Honda is a chameleon brand that is capable of fitting in where it needs to and standing out when the situation calls for it.
The white 1980 Honda Civic SL is a recurring theme in Tarantino movies. Not only does it first show up in Pulp Fiction, but the same 1980 white Civic returns and can be spotted in Jackie Brown (1997) as her primary vehicle. And if that’s not enough, keep an eye out in Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004), and you’re likely to spot the exact humble Honda sitting in a parking lot of a club. What is the reason for the recurring compact car? We’re not entirely sure, but we love it all the same!
The Honda Civic featured heavily across the popular Fast and the Furious franchise that started in 2001. Or you can catch the sleek Honda S2000 in the Fast and the Furious 1 and 2 if you’re quick enough. While the Honda Civic continues to be a best-seller for Honda, the S2000 was discontinued in 2009. Both Honda models featured upgrades and modifications that made them stand out and helped boost the image of the Civic as a street racer.
Another car-centric movie you’ll catch a glimpse of a Honda is the reboot of Gone in Sixty Seconds. Once again, we see the humble Honda Civic engaged in a street race, this time against a Porsche. While you might think the Porsche would have no problem racing a Honda, the Civic Si seems to be able to keep pace just fine up until the end. While you might want to write this off as the magic of Hollywood, the Honda Civic has proven to be a roadworthy competitor against even more well-known racing brands.
But what are we saying? Honda is known for its speed on the racetrack. A quick glimpse at their record, and you’ll see they’ve been winning awards since the beginning. Whether with their motorcycles or cars, Honda has made a name for itself on and off the silver screen. From multiple Formula One champions to the Red Dot Award, Honda shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Honda on the Small Screen
From the big lights of Hollywood to a humble TV screen, Honda vehicles are a favorite ride in some of your favorite shows. It makes sense; millions of people will sit down to watch a popular television program, so product placement is crucial for marketing a great vehicle. However, we think with Honda, it’s a bit more than that. Honda is a photogenic brand whose good looks span decades, so when creators are looking for a car to stand out without stealing the show, Honda is the go-to choice for camera-friendly vehicles.
Honda vehicles have popped up in fan favorites like The Walking Dead. Eagle eye viewers might spot a 1980 Honda Civic station wagon in the second season. While the vehicle is broken down, it is spotted parked among the other cars in the series. Was it placed there simply for its nostalgic appeal? Who can say, but there it is in all of its glory. One Honda that steals the show might not be one you’re expecting, a 1992 Honda CB 750 Nighthawk. This is a highly sought-after and classic Honda motorcycle. The bike appears near the end of the 5th season, so keep an eye out next time you’re on a zombie show binge.
From zombies to haunted houses, if you’re a horror buff and a car enthusiast, you’ve probably noticed that the manufacturer seems to be a favorite go-to model of the show American Horror Story. Over seasons six, seven, and nine, viewers will spot a few of the brand’s most well-known models, including the on-screen darlings, the Honda Civic, the Accord, and the Honda Insight. If you’re unfamiliar with the Insight, it was a recently discontinued hybrid to make way for a new Civic hybrid model.
Honda vehicles pop up in numerous shows, and you might not even realize it. They are notorious for being sleek, sporty cars but can still be understated if needed. This quality makes them the perfect on-screen support for TV creators that want a good-looking car without too much flash. From popular Netflix shows like 13 Reasons Why to animated series like Family Guy, if you see a good-looking car, you can almost bet it’s a Honda.
When we’re looking for a Honda, it’s easy to focus on cars, but Honda is a brand that is more than that; we’re talking mainly about impressive, heart-pounding motorcycles, of which you’ll find plenty on the silver screen. The rugged Honda CRF250R was James Bond’s ride in Skyfall (2012). Bond appears to ride the Honda bike through the crowded streets of Istanbul in pursuit of his target. This bike was a smart choice for the chase considering its dual nature and ability to handle heavy and rough use.
Also, check out the eerie teen drama Riverdale to get an eyeful of Jughead’s classic Honda CB550, which has been heavily customized in a classic brat style. While the MC gang in the series, The Southside Serpents, can be seen riding a variety of bikes from Harley-Davidson to Honda, Jughead’s class Honda CB550 has no problem standing out among the crowd.
From Television to Film, Honda Vehicles Have Made Their Mark in Popular Culture
Whether you’re searching for a car in a movie or catching a glimpse of a bike in your favorite TV show, Honda is a brand that has made a mark on pop culture. The brand seems to pop up where you sometimes least expect it. Even if it’s not in car form, the Honda name will often crop up in the form of hats, jackets, banners, and even generators. It’s a name worn by enthusiasts and driven by everyone.
It’s not hard to imagine why people have a soft spot for Honda. As they say, it’s popular for a reason. Honda is known to millions of drivers worldwide as a dependable, high-quality, affordable brand. Honda vehicles don’t just make great action stars but also great commuter vehicles, family haulers, and unforgettable rides.