Malcolm Bridges Honda C78 Project

A new project from Malcolm.  His write up and some photographs are below.

This is the story of my latest project, another Honda, this time a 1966 Dream CA78 305cc which I bought in Cleveland, United States.

The tale begins in early October 2014, my daughter who lives over there had a few hundred dollars of mine from a previously sold Honda XL175, the original plan was to spend it when next over, but it started burning a hole in my pocket. Occasionally I would browse 'craigslist' an online classified advertisements website, one day I saw this 100% complete CA78 still with original paint listed, but the price was quite high for a bike with a 'seized' engine, so I decided to ignore it and was eventually removed, about a week later it reappeared at a much reduced amount, I was 'hooked' and thought about it for a day or two, I rang my daughter and asked if I could store another bike in her garage and she enthusiastically agreed, so on the night of Friday 17th October 2014 at around 1130pm, they are 5 hours behind us, I rang the seller and offered him $100 less than advertised, he surprised me by immediately agreeing. I then had to ring my daughter to tell her the news and arrange how we could collect it, she said she would ask around or if necessary ask my son-in-law to hire a van to pick it up. The next day, or should that be later that morning, was Stafford Show so I spent the day there and returned home later to find out what had been arranged. My daughter had decided the easiest way was to speak to the seller and have him deliver the bike, BANG! went my $100 saving, oh well, bear in mind that when I shipped my 175 back from NJ I found a local guy with a 4x4 truck willing to take it to Linden docks for me for $50, a round trip of 120 miles.

ca78 honda and grandson
Malcolm's grandson and the CA78 Honda in the USA

After the bike had been delivered and armed with more pictures than the 2 advert ones, I finally saw better what I had bought. They had left it on the side stand and it had a flat looking rear tyre, so I arranged with someone I know over there to go round and put some air in the tyre and put it on the centre stand, I also asked if he would remove the spark plugs and put in some 'Derv' for me to hopefully release the 'seize pistons', he said he'd use something better, I think it was Marvel Mystery Oil, the Americans seem to love it, another product you hear of is Seafoam, don't ask me, it is probably sold off covered wagons by Snake Oil salesmen. Anyway when I finally went over there in 2015 to finally see it in the 'flesh' the engine remained seized and the back tyre had gone flat again, it had a punctured tube, but otherwise I was very pleased with it. I returned home unsure what I should do with it.

In 2016 my daughter asked what my intention was with the bike as they were planning to move house, I had other assets there which needed to be dealt with also. My options are should I sell it and lose money or keep and ship over to the UK and lose money.  Actually after my last US trip which involved going to the Mid-Ohio Weekend, Stafford Show on steroids, the asking price for similar bikes was a lot higher than I expected.

So knowing Linda, my long suffering wife, was going to visit Cleveland in late November 2016 I spoke to Kingstown Shipping in Hull, they shipped my 175 over, and arranged for them to pick it up during her stay in Cleveland to take to New York for shipping. Linda was schooled in removing the mirrors and covering the headlight glass and rear lights with bubble wrap, she got a bit carried away and covered far more eventually, there was also a spare 175 exhaust to bring back. When details are available Kingstown give me the name of the ship, the container registration# and the planned date of departure from New York and arrival at Felixstowe. It is then possible using various websites to track and follow these. In my case the ship, Maersk Kentucky, was heading towards Freeport in the Bahamas, it later called at Baltimore and Norfolk VA where there is a Naval Dockyard and finally on 18th December to pick up my container in Linden NJ part of New York Port Authority just across from Newark airport, at the same time the empty container can similarly be tracked to be filled and loaded on the ship. Tracking the ship up the East Coast can be done for free until it sets off across the Atlantic, you would have to pay then. I tracked it again just off Cornwall and it anchored just off Brixham where maybe it picked up a pilot before tackling the English Channel, I was able to track it to Bremerhaven where it called before offloading my container at Felixstowe on 30th December it was released to me on 4th January 2017 and with Brendan's help I collected it on the 6th. The container it came in was a 40ft High Cube, for those who know what that means, and my bike shared the space with a 1973 Porsche 911, 1966 Porsche 912 and 1987 Porsche 944, good company and who knows it may have inherited some BHP.

the c78 in good comany at felixstowe 
The C78 in good company at Felixstowe docks.

(The TR6 behind the Honda's front wheel brings back memories of the TR6 I owned in the late 70's.  Mine was the more powerful earlier model one that had sportier cams, mechanical fuel injection without the big black plastic bits on the bumpers.  Happy days. Ed.)

The C78 in Brendan's van.

After putting it in the garage it has sat mostly undercover, with my time being taken finishing the CL72 ready for the Burton Parade, later in the Summer I removed the engine and in November put it in my shed for dismantling where it now sits. I have removed the head and using my home made press easily un-seized the left piston, the exhaust valve was open to the elements. Unfortunately someone appears to have used something like a screwdriver through the spark plug hole to possibly knock the pistons down, marking the bores and pistons, it looks like at least a rebore, I may possibly have got away with honing and new rings otherwise.

C78 honda
Left side.

Right side.

So there we have it, if you have managed to read this far without getting bored thank you for your time, I will add some updates another time if there is any interest but please don't expect it too regular as I tend to walk away for long periods.

Malcolm Bridges