Honda was in business 15 years before it started making cars. Developing into an important part of the global motor industry took a further 10. By the dawn of the 1980s it was a leading multi-national, which matched quality and engineering with a sense of responsibility to its associates (employees) and the environment. In 1963 Honda made 136 vehicles, in 1964, 5,210 and in 1965, 8,779 of which a quarter was exported. Output fell back to 3,209 before recovering again to 87,000 in 1967. The key was a strong home market, and production built up to 186,500 in 1968, and 232,000 in 1969, of which 1 in 20 were exported.
First production four wheelers were the S500 sports 2-seater and T360 truck, followed by the evolutionary S600 coupe and in October 1965 the L700 estate car. A Honda S500 was entered for the 1964 Liege-Sofia-Liege rally and an S600, driven by 1967 world champion driver Denny Hulme, won its class in the ADAC 600Kms endurance race at the NÃ¼rburgring in September giving Honda its first success in a car race.