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Soichiro Honda began producing motorcycles in 1946 to satisfy a thirst for cheap transportation in war devastated Japan. Honda began his effort by installing military surplus engines in bicycles. As Honda became more prosperous, he designed his own 50cc engine for the bicycles. The first motorcycle that featured a completely Honda designed motor and frame was produced in 1949.By the time Honda was 17 years old, he was the trused mechanic of famous Japanese race car driver Shinichi Sakibahara.Four years after that victory, Honda opened his own auto repair shop in Hamamatsu where he continued to refine his mechanical and engineering skills.