Every once in a while Honda will put out an ad that reaches deep into its past and pull out all the classics. Sometimes the results are downright beautiful, sometimes they’re terrible. The latest one, released today, falls somewhere in between. The concept is fantastic, but the obvious computer generation of the cars kind of ruins it. It’s understandable though, because the spot has more classics than we’ve ever seen in a single commercial and it would have been impossible to coordinate without the use of pixels.
The ad starts out with an artist drawing a Honda’s first product, a Model A motorized bicycle from 1947. It comes to life along with a 1949 Honda Dream D-Type, its first fully fledged motorcycle. A ball of light explodes into the world, sending forth Hondas from all eras of history. There’s an RA272 Formula One race car of course, and a first-generation Civic, but also more obscure cars like an N600 and a Vamos. An S500 and S2000 drive side by side as the scene switches to a race track.
There we see all manner of racing machines, from a McLaren-Honda MP4/4 to Indy cars to motorcycles, joined by a Phoenix Yellow Civic Type R Limited Edition and original NSX. The scene then switches to desert dunes, where Honda’s current SUV-heavy lineup frolics in the dirt alongside dirtbikes, side-by-sides, a Baja Ridgeline and a Civic Rallycross racer. The best section contains the street cars, with everything from a T360 to a CRX, original Insight to an EG Civic in its proper teal.
It’s great to see so many little-known Honda models appear in this English-language commercial, especially the classics which were never sold in the US. It’s not as soul-stirring as “Impossible Dream“, but better than this other CG ad from 2015 (that’s no longer available), and far better than “We Won’t Be Beaten“. We’d even say it’s better than “50th Museum” with real cars In terms of animation, though, we have to give it to the high-contrast style of this 2019 ad or the clever stop-motion “Paper” from 2015. In terms of emotional appeal though, it’s hard to top 2017’s “You are the One“.