Honda Disc Brakes

The History of Honda Motor Company, Ltd.

1963 Honda Model T360

1963 Model T360. Honda's First Production Auto

In the Beginning

Honda is one of the best-known auto manufacturers in the United States, but it wasn’t always that way. Through ingenuity, determination, and skill, founder Soichiro Honda built a brand from humble beginnings to become a trillion-dollar, worldwide organization.

Soichiro was a smart young man who enjoyed reading books on automotive engineering and was inspired to learn as much as he could about cars, motorcycles, and engines. He was hired at the age of 15 as an apprentice at the Art Shokai Automotive Servicing Company, where he repaired and worked on automobiles, motorcycles and other small internal combustion engines.

Soichiro was soon called up for military service but dismissed from duty when he was found to be colorblind. By the age of 21, he completed the apprentice program and opened up a branch of the Art Shokai Company in Hamamatsu, Japan. Though the company continued to repair motorcycles and automobiles, Soichiro was inspired to go beyond that. One of his achievements was building a lift that would make working underneath cars easier.

With the repair shop doing well, Soichiro decided to get into the manufacturing business and started Tokai Seiki. One of the first accomplishments of his new company was manufacturing piston rings, eventually selling them to Toyota and Nakajima Aircraft.

During a visit with a friend in 1946, Soichiro came upon a small engine that was used to power a generator for a WWII, wireless radio. He had an idea to adapt the engine to power a bicycle, the primary means of transportation in Japan at the time. Though not an original idea, as this was how Harley Davidson got their start at the turn of the century, the two-stroke 50cc engine worked well on Soichiro’s prototype bicycle prompting him to purchase 500 additional engines from the Mikuni Company.

In 1947 Honda introduced its first motorbike, the A-Type, nicknamed "Bata Bata" based on Soichiro's two-stroke 50cc prototype and help from a newly-hired engineer, Kiyoshi Kawashima. With a top speed of 28mph and weighing only 22 pounds, it sold well enough to keep production going and introduce new styles in the B-Type and C-Type. In 1949 Honda introduced the D-Type that was the first Motorcycle with a pressed steel frame. At this point, Honda had changed the engine from a two-stroke to a cleaner and quieter four-stroke.

Soichiro was a perfectionist; when he put his mind to something he persisted until it was done right. He strived to please his customers with products that were perfect in every way. He was a smart man and knew Japan was a relatively small market, limiting his sales potential, so he began looking at larger economies, like the United States, for growth.

1965 Honda Scrambler Motorcycle

   1965 Honda 250 Scrambler Motorcycle

Honda Comes to America

In the early 1960's Soichiro established Honda in Los Angeles and began looking for dealers to sell his motorcycles. Southern California has the perfect year-round climate for riding and an ideal marketplace for the "Honda 50." It sold for $250 and was a top-seller. Honda’s popularity was on the rise, even attracting the talents of Brian Wilson and Mike Love of the Beach Boys, who wrote and recorded a song called, "Little Honda," under the assumed name of the Hondells.

From the mid-’60 through the ‘70s, Honda was releasing some beautiful motorcycles that became well known for their quality and robust, smooth-running, high-tech engines. Perhaps the pinnacle of performance was the Honda 750, four-cylinder engine that became known as the first superbike. Enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike were captivated by the quality of Honda products, helping to win people over when the company started releasing cars.

Honda Launches Autos and Settles in Ohio

In the United States, the ‘60s was the decade of the muscle car, so performance and fast speeds were what attracted both the youth market and older buyers alike. In 1970 Honda released a vehicle in the US that was very reasonably priced, however, it was small, noisy, and the construction didn't compare to American cars.

Honda management did market surveys for feedback from its customers in Japan and the US. The results drove engineers to produce a car far superior to their initial offerings. Development was concurrent with fuel-efficiency and emissions mandates from both governments. Honda released a CVCC engine met the standards sans a catalytic converter and launched the Civic. While smaller and slower than American cars a new era of consciousness was emerging stimulated by the oil embargo, and by the end of the '70s the Civic earned the Top Car rating on the EPA's new list of fuel-efficient automobiles at 40 mpg.

In response to strong demand for the Civic, Honda opened up a research and development facility in Gardena, CA, to study the US car market. Combining their research and engineering skills, the Accord Hatchback was launched in 1976 with unique styling. Their affordability, excellent fuel economy, and low cost of insurance added the lure for college students, women, and younger buyers.

In 1979 tariffs on Japanese imports drove Honda to build manufacturing plants in Ohio. The first, in Marysville, built CR250M motorcycles. The company trained American workers to their Kaizen philosophy to make quality products. The model proved successful and in 1982 Honda built the second facility in Ohio to produce the Accord, one of the top ten best-selling cars of all time. In 1985 they opened a third plant in Anna, Ohio, to build motorcycle engines and quickly expanded into automobile engines.

With all these plants in Ohio, it only made sense to establish a new R&D facility in the state for the engineering of automobiles, motorcycles, and a plethora of other power equipment. In 1986 Honda launched their upscale line of cars, the Acura brand was born with the Integra Sport Sedan and the Legend. Not long after, in 1988, the Honda Accord became the first Japanese car built in the US to be exported back to Japan. Another facility was founded in East Liberty, Ohio to build the Civic models, one of the top six best-selling models of all-time.

In 2013 Honda became the first Japanese auto manufacturer to be a net exporter from the US, exporting 108,705 vehicles while importing only 88,357.

Acura NSX on track

   1992 Acura NSX

Acura Elevates Honda's Status and Performance

The popularity of the new Acura models prompted Honda to change its image from an economy car builder to a luxury brand and even challenge the super-car marquis' with the introduction of the NSX. The Acura Legend was a full-size luxury/executive model with the distinction of winning Car and Driver's Ten Best three years in a row and Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1987.

The first-generation model of the NSX was introduced in 1990 (model year 1991) and was designed to showcase several automotive technologies, many derived from Honda's F1 motor-sports program. Some well-known figures in motorsports helped in testing and participated in the development, like Bobby Rahal, and Ayrton Senna. It was the first production cars with an all-aluminum body and chassis. The mid-engine design, proprietary VTECH variable timing system using titanium rods, and shape styled after an F-16 fighter jet cockpit by the famous Italian designer, Pininfarina elevated Honda's image.

In 1991 Honda made another first. The Accord Wagon was the first Honda to be wholly designed, developed, and built in the US. The target market was American families who wanted more utility and space for groceries, kids, and luggage.

NASA Honda Civic Race Car

NASA So. Cal. Region Honda Challenge Series

Honda Engines Inspire Aftermarket Enhancements

As Honda built its reputation on engineering skills and building reliable engines, Honda Performance Development (founded in 1993) entered the Indy Car race series in 1994 and won their first race in 1995. The following year they won their first Constructors' and Drivers' championships. Honda was also building more powerful motors for their production cars, and this attracted younger buyers who started to modify their ride for higher performance on the street and tracks.

Wilwood Engineering identified the need for improved braking systems for these cars and designed several bolt-on kits for the Civic, which fit many other Honda models built on the same platform. While the body styles have changed over the years, the Civic platform remained mostly the same between 1990 and the mid-2000s. Below is a list of brake kits which can cover a wide array of vehicles. The differences between these are the caliper bracket construction and rotor size. All kits will provide significant improvement in stopping power over stock brakes on Honda cars.

Honda Moves toward Green Energy and Zero-Emissions

Over the years, Honda has taken pride in meeting all national and California emissions requirements with their engine designs. In 1995 the Civic was the first vehicle to meet the stringent California requirements. Concurrently, they were working on zero-emission cars using electricity and natural gas. It was in 1997 Honda began leasing the Honda EV Plus, a four-passenger, battery electric vehicle powered by a nickel-metal Hydride battery and an electric motor. The cars drove nicely with ample power, but similar to other electric vehicles the range of the cars was limited. In 1998 Honda introduced the Civic GX an extremely low emission, natural gas-powered model. It was the cleanest internal combustion engine ever tested by the U.S. EPA, but few natural gas stations existed for refueling.

Honda EV Plus

1997-1999 Honda EV Plus

During 1999 the model year 2000 Honda Insight was launched as America's first gasoline-electric hybrid automobile. Once again Honda was the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the country with an EPA rating of 70 mpg. The following year Honda achieved yet another first, a newly designed Civic Coupe earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration for both frontal and side impacts. The new millennia was a busy time for Honda as they were building more new manufacturing facilities. They were responsive to American trends, saw the demand and enthusiasm for small off-road vehicles a plant went up in Timmonsville, SC. In 2001 a plant was built in Lincoln, AL, to begin the production of the Odyssey minivan. Honda's Japanese marketing executives were skeptical about producing the van, but it turned out to be a winner with the American public.

In 2002 the Civic hybrid became Honda’s first mass-produced automobile to apply gasoline-electric, power train technology, and the Honda FLX became the world’s first fuel cell vehicle certified by the U.S. EPA for everyday use. In 2006 Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. began sales of a new, advanced light jet aircraft. Honda worked with General Electric to develop powerful and quiet engines for the corporate jet. That same year Honda opened a transmission plant in Tallapoosa, Georgia, and an Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena, California, to create design concepts for future Honda and Acura vehicles.

Honda also opened another factory in 2008 to produce Civic sedans in Greensburg, Indiana, and a marine engine research facility in Grant-Valkaria, Florida. In the same year, Honda Aircraft Company, Inc. began construction of its new headquarters and engine production facility in Burlington, North Carolina, for the manufacture of the GE-Honda, HFRO turbojet engine.

In 2008 Honda Japan started the world’s first production line dedicated to the manufacture of advanced, zero-emission fuel cell vehicles used in the FLX Clarity model. In 2017 the Clarity model was expanded into several new models, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid (available nationwide), Clarity Electric (available for lease at select dealers in CA, and OR), and the next generation Clarity Fuel Cell (available for lease at select dealers in CA).

Honda's Global Footprint

The current footprint of Honda Motor Company, Ltd., has come a long way since Soichiro Honda's first vision back in 1946. Worldwide Honda has been the largest motorcycle manufacturer since 1959, as well as the largest maker of internal combustion engines measured by volume producing an incredible 14 million each year. In 2018 Honda posted $15.36 Trillion in revenue employing over 215,000 people worldwide running four main divisions, Acura, Honda Aircraft Company, Honda Automobiles, and Honda Motorcycles. Underneath these divisions, you'll find robotic lawnmowers, snow throwers, battery inverters, outboard engines, thin-film solar cells, generators, tillers, water pumps, and so much more.

In 2018 the Honda Performance Development (HPD) race division recorded the company's seventh Manufacturer's Championship, scoring 11 race wins from 17 events. In the last 25-years, they have achieved 337 Indy car wins in 429 races, including 12 wins at the Indianapolis 500 and 16 drivers' championships. The current Honda Civics descended from this legendary racing performance and is evident in the tenth-generation Civic Si.

In 2018 in the US, Honda sold over 1.4-million cars. Their market share in the US grew to a peak of 10% in 2009 and currently hovers around 8.34%.

1999 Honda Civic Race Car with Wilwood Brakes

DVS 1999 Honda Civic with Wilwood Brakes


Wilwood Brake Kits for Honda and Acura Models

Below is a sampling of brake kits available for popular Honda and Acura model vehicles. Each brake conversion kit represents the culmination of extensive engineering and design capabilities combined with manufacturing prowess at Wilwood's facility in Camarillo, California. With each bolt-on kit, you can expect improved performance over factory installations with the added benefit of size and color options to coordinate with your style. This list is not exhaustive, so if you don't see a kit for your specific year, make, or model, please visit our search utility or contact a customer care technician for unpublished options. Wilwood Engineering also partners with many bespoke facilities who can assist with special requests.

Front Brake Conversion Kits for Honda / Acura

Forged DPHA Front Caliper Kit #140-13029

  • Built for Civics/Hondas Equipped with OE 262mm Rotors
  • Bolt Directly to Stock Mounts on OE Spindles
  • Forged Dynapro 4-Piston Calipers
  • Available in 24 Colors
Wilwood DPHA Brake Conversion Kit for Honda Acura

Forged Dynalite #140-8695

  • Built for Civics/Hondas Equipped with OE 240mm Rotors
  • Forged Billet Dynalite 4-Piston Calipers
  • Available in 24 Colors
  • Choose New 11-inch Rotors in Standard, or Drilled and Slotted
Wilwood Forged Dynalite Bolt-On Brake Kit

Dynapro 6 Big Brake Front Kit #140-10735

  • Built for Civics/Hondas Equipped with OE 262mm Rotors
  • Forged Billet Dynapro 6-Piston Calipers
  • Available in 24 Colors
  • Choose New 12.19-inch Rotors in Standard, or Drilled and Slotted
Wilwood Forged Dynapro 6 Big Brake Kit

Rear Brake Conversion Kits for Honda / Acura

Combination Parking Brake Caliper Kit #140-10210

  • Built for Civics Equipped with OE Drum, 2.71 Hub Offset
  • Provides Proper Brake Balance with Front Kits
  • Available in 24 Colors
  • Choose New 11-inch Rotors in Standard, or Drilled and Slotted
  • Also available in larger 12.19-inch Rotors (#140-10211)
Combination Brake Caliper and Parking Brake Kit for Honda

Forged Dynalite #140-10206

  • Built for Civics Equipped with OE Drum, 2.39 Hub Offset
  • Provides Proper Brake Balance with Front Kits
  • Available in 24 Colors
  • Choose New 11-inch Rotors in Standard, or Drilled and Slotted
Combination Red Brake Caliper and Parking Brake Kit for Honda

Drag Cars - Brake Kits for Civic Racers

Forged Dynalite Front Drag Brake Kit (Hat) #140-8442

  • Built for Civics (Integras) Equipped with OE 262mm Rotors
  • Type III Ano Caliper
  • Includes 11.75-inch Drilled Rotor, Hardware, Pads
Wilwood Forged Dynalite Front Drag Brake Kit for Honda

Front Brake Kit for Honda S2000

Forged Narrow Superlite 6R Big Brake Kit (Hat) #140-10309

  • Built for S2000 using OE Factory Spindles
  • Forged Narrow Superlite 6-Piston Calipers
  • Available in 24 Colors
  • Choose 12.88-inch Rotors in Standard, or Drilled and Slotted
  • Rear Brake Kit Available (#140-10310)
Conversion Brake Kit for Honda S2000 6-Piston

RACE - Forged Superlite 6R Big Brake Kit #140-14965

  • Built for Unrestricted road race S2000 using 17-inch or larger diameter wheels
  • Forged Superlite Aluminum 6-Piston Calipers with a Type-III Anodized Finish
  • Thermlock Pistons and High-Temp Seals Reduce Heat Transfer
  • Spec37 Alloy GT Competition 12.88-inch Diameter Directional Vane Rotors Mount to OE Hubs
  • Weight-Saving Forged Aluminum Hats
Racing Brake Kit for Honda S2000


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Version: 3.05 June 23, 2023
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