I believe the only way to truly understand your machine (car, boat, motorcycle, go-kart) is to work on it yourself. The bond between man and machine can only be built through emotion. The pain, the joy, and the craftsmanship that goes into it are what define that bond that we call “built not bought.”
Appreciating the “built-not-bought” idols
Now, sure, I could absolutely build a bond with a Ferrari F40 that I didn’t personally build. However, what I really appreciate about the F40 is the legacy that Enzo Ferrari built. The son of an Italian carpenter and born in 1898; he was driven by nothing but to go fast. In the process of going fast, he built one of the world’s most powerful brands. His legacy culminates with the last Ferrari “halo car” that he oversaw production of before his death in 1988, the F40. I can appreciate that.
The pinnacle of a driver’s car. (Photo Credit: EVO Magazine)
It’s a similar story with the Britten V1000. A racing motorcycle hand-built by New Zealander, John Britten, in the early ’90s. It features some engineering that was truly ahead of its time. Carbon fiber chassis, front suspension, and wheels. The rear shock is actually at the front of the bike and actuated by a pushrod. Front suspension is taken care of by a telelever shock also mounted at the front; mind-blowing for the time. (BMW stole this idea years later.) Not to mention over 67,000 components including the entire 999CC V-twin engine. He didn’t call Ducati and order a V-twin, he custom-built it… He designed, fabricated, and built this bike basically in his garage…
The best “built not bought” motorcycle ever. Stunning.
One of my personal favorites and the maddest garage engineer I’ve ever heard of is Allen Millyard. His creations include a 207MPH, 1995 Dodge Viper 8.0L V10 motorcycle. Allen also combined two Pratt and Whitney aircraft cylinders, which together, created a 5 liter (5000CC….) V-Twin that he threw into a chitty chitty bang bang styled motorcycle. My personal favorite is his V12 Kawasaki “Z2300.” He built this one by taking a f***ing HACKSAW (seriously) to two Z1300 1,300 cc straight-six engines and welded them together to make a monstrous 2300cc V12 that he somehow managed to fit back into the bike. Not only did he fit it in, but it also looks factory. Mindblown is an understatement.
Built in a shed…
The point being, building something of your own, making the decisions, repairing, designing, painting, turning wrenches, ordering parts; well that injects some of your own legacy into the machine. To feel your own Frankenstein’s monster come to life must give the creator a joy similar to giving birth. I can only imagine what these legendary engineers felt when taking their machines to the road. I’m hoping to capture a fraction of that for this build. I hope the viewers get a fraction of that joy as well.
“It’s what non-car people don’t get. They see all cars as just a ton and a half, two tons of wires, glass, metal, and rubber, and that’s all they see. People like you or I know we have an unshakable belief that cars are living entities”
On an unrelated note, check this out: Forza Motorsport 4 – Jeremy Clarkson – Endangered Species Trailer
The bike I’ll be working with
So, you have an idea of why I want to do this, now, let’s talk about the bike… It’s a motorcycle that’s past its prime. It’s a 1980 DOHC CB750. (so not the more desirable early 70’s SOHC model.) It’s also been mistreated. It has a rusty, dented, gas tank. No turn signals. A horrible-looking brake light. Mis-matched side covers, tons of rust, weak electricals, and many many more problems. To top it off, an engine that refuses to rev past 5k RPM. (Should go to 9k. Praying that it’s the dirty carb, please be the carb)
Here it is…
However, an undesirable-in-the-first-place, poorly treated, $1500 (that’s what I paid) motorcycle is a fantastic place to start. With the recent café racer craze, we’ve seen people take the cutoff wheel to pristine bikes, and I personally couldn’t do that. “Polishing a turd” fits the Eastwood brand. I’ve seen plenty of builds that Eastwood customers have polished into something that looks like it belongs in a museum. I love that. That’s what we’re all about.
What it could become. Build by Hookie’s. The ‘Black Swan’
The plans and what you’ll see
The plans aren’t anything crazy. I’ll spare you the nitty gritty as that will be discussed in the series. A little bit of an engine rebuild, as well as a slight overbore. Why not? I’ll also be doing a ton of fab work. The seat, rear hoop & cowl, and an electrical tray all need to be addressed. The tank is a big problem. Rusty and dented right on the body lines of the knee dents. Joy. The wheels are lightweight but I think are super ugly with the bare aluminum trim. I’ll powder coat those, as well as the fork, the frame, electrical tray, etc. New tires and brakes while we’re at it. As well as some cool aftermarket parts and a total electrical overhaul.
The cool thing about this is that almost all of this work translates over to cars. If you’re here to see car content, you’ll enjoy the series. All of the things you’ll see me do, translates directly to working on cars. You’ll appreciate the bike project because since this is a smaller scale, you’ll get to see me do a little bit of everything. It keeps the projects, short, tidy, and informative. Eastwood has bitten off more than it could chew in the past. (Repair, Restore, Revive Camaro) I believe the CB750 project is something that I’ll be able to comfortably fit in between my regular work duties of writing articles, social media, and producing the other product-focused videos you see on your YouTube channel.
The “Internet Café” series is launching on JULY 24th. Keep an eye out. I hope you enjoy it.