1970s / Honda / Japanese / Motorcycles

Introducing “Project Scrambler”

RWP_Scrambler_TankTypically, we feature four-wheeled vehicles, but this 1971 Honda CL450 Scrambler is a project that seems to fit the spirit of RWP. After all, it did run when it was parked and it has a rather interesting story. This author will be working first hand on the bike’s resurrection and will be covering the progress here on this site.

“It was stolen off a freight train in 1971,” remarked Dave, the motorcycle’s owner. “Somebody may have gotten shot over it and ehh, I don’t know – I don’t want to know,” he continued. That, of course, is another story though. The details surrounding the bike’s early life will probably forever be shrouded in at least a little mystery, but in for some reason or another, this heist led to the bike being left in its own shipping crate for two decades. Eventually, it was legitimately sold, unpacked, fired up, and briefly ridden for just over three hundred miles.


Evidence of a troubled past: the serial number had been chiseled off of the crank case.

Dave purchased the bike about a decade ago and it was relocated from Montana to Pennsylvania. Time had taken somewhat of a toll on the cosmetic condition of some components and Dave began to collect bits and pieces to replace those that had tarnished or otherwise perished with age, moisture, and so on. This eventually led to the acquisition of another entire motorcycle identical to our subject as well as countless original equipment, new-old-stock, or like-new parts and otherwise nearly unobtainable items. The ‘second’ bike is mostly complete but serves primarily as a reference as it is still fairly unmolested. All other the other replacement parts that have been gathered up are meticulously cataloged in a binder. It goes beyond simply replacing a rusty bracket or cracked rubber boot here and there – it’s practically every nut and bolt that might ever need replacing, a complete brand-new wiring harness, new cables (in the proper gray color), and much more.

Recently the Honda(s) and parts were transported to the garage of friends and fellow auto and cycle enthusiasts Al and Julie. There, nestled among several other motorcycles and a few classic cars, the project will progress over the coming months. No specific deadline is set, though we would like to have it on the road before the end of summer. We look forward to documenting things as they move along and yours truly will be taking it for the first test ride when complete. Stay tuned for more on “Project Scrambler” here on RWP.

One thought on “Introducing “Project Scrambler”

  1. great idea. the CL450 is a nice pick for a build project. the Honda CB/CL450 have a interesting history. i hope you include more motorcycles in the future.

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