A day with Honda Japan R&D’s, Tomio Chiba

When an opportunity to meet Tomio Chiba came knocking on Jason Spendlove’s door at his UK residence, there was a sense of immediate shock.

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Jason Spendlove, famously known over at 1stgencivic.com (Black Bullet), was awesome enough to share with us his pictures from the meet of a life-time with Tomio Chiba. Many of our followers are unaware of who Mr. Chiba is or how he’s linked to Honda.

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Meet the man responsible for helping the design and engineering of the painting line for the Sayama Factory & others for 30 years. (Bottom Row, 2nd from right). Engineering the procedures needed in automating the line efficiently and effectively, Mr. Chiba has influenced the coat of paint on your 1st gen Civic in some way. The other 11 years, until he retired, were spent in product costs/value and traveling the globe. He even helped set up the Honda Swindon plant in the UK. It’s such a small dot on a large picture that it’s hard to fathom Tomio is one of the original crew who worked inside Soichiro’s company when he was alive!

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Mr. Chiba is a huge collector of toy cars! His collection alone, Jason tells us, is 4,000 in Honda models alone. He visits the UK every two years from Tokyo to attend toy fairs and to be with friends. After exchanging emails back and forth for months with Jason,  Tomio in September drove up to meet Jason & his crew for the day while he was in the UK.

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Jason describes the experience a once-in-a-lifetime! He wrote to us saying that Tomio brought several model cars to give as gifts and spent 3-4 hours chatting over Jason’s collection of NOS parts and memorabilia. From the brochures, flyers, models to the rare still-in-the-box parts, it seemed everyone was having an amazing time going through life-times of memories.

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At the end of the day Mr. Chiba had to retire back to his home, but from this Jason was left with a signature that will surely be remembered for a very long time. Tomio was generous enough to sign Jason’s passenger door of his Civic. Our hats are off to you Jason and Tomio for this amazing meet! We hope to hear more from you both in the future.

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Credit goes to Jason Spendlove, Tomio Chiba, 1stgencivic.com and his friends for allowing us to use their pictures by permission.

Nate Mitchell

Honda Roots Editor-in-Chief A strong SN Honda enthusiast, he currently owns an '80 XR and '81 SN Preludes, supplies parts and operates Honda Roots, Thisoldhonda.org and G1Preludes.com.

5 thoughts on “A day with Honda Japan R&D’s, Tomio Chiba

  • December 18, 2012 at 10:42 am
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    Wow this is a great story and him signing the door?? WOW that was very cool.

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  • December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am
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    I must say, I’m super jealous! What an honor to meet that guy! And all the cool stuff that guy has! Must have been awesome to get to see it all! I’d love to catalog that collection!

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  • December 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm
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    You should see the smile on my face right now, what a great story! Thank you for sharing this with us Jason!

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  • December 31, 2012 at 3:06 pm
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    Very nice! Seeing some scale mdoels I have too, but without the box it’s come with…. thanks!!!

    Reply

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