Author Topic: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!  (Read 6977 times)

Offline Laverda Dave

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My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« on: July 15, 2023, 04:03:21 PM »
I picked up a new project last Thursday although it isn’t a project I was actually looking for but came my way really unexpectedly so I had to accept it!

May I introduce you all to Project CB400/4! Yes, another one ::). As you can see from the photos it’s in a bit of a sorry state, some would say ‘cosmetically challenged’ and I would 100% agree, it looks terrible with all that black paint, ape hangers, chrome shopping rack on the front mudguard, the peaked front spot lights, the tombstone rear light and the seat. The seat, it’s terrible, what was I thinking of when I made the seat 43 years ago, yes that’s my handiwork from my days as a coach trimmer!

Why I have I chosen this particular project? The story goes back 44 years and my Brother was going out with a girl and she had a really cool brother called Hank. He had a yellow CB400/4 that was immaculate and had a Marshall end pipe that sounded great. I loved that bike; he called it the flying banana. I had a CB200 but eventually bought a red 400/4 from Speedway Motorcycles in Acton, West London, now sadly gone.  Hank and I would hang out on our bikes with another couple of guys on CB400/4’s. Hank decided to customise his 400/4 by painting the engine black (and eventually the lovely yellow tank) and fitting the high bars. He asked me to make a stepped seat for it so his girlfriend perched on the back could see where she was going. I added foam to the original seat foam to give him what he wanted.

To cut a long story short my brother split up with Hank's sister after about 5 years and I got married, moved away and lost touch with Hank until a few months ago when I gave him a call after about 20 years :o. We met up for a beer and talked about the old times. I asked him if he still had the 400/4, he did but it hadn’t been used for 22 years and was sitting in the garden shed. He asked me to go and have a look at it. When I got there it took 45 minutes to get the bike out of the shed and it stank! There were rats in the shed and the bike is covered in rats crap and urine. Hank has no interest in the bike and asked me if I wanted to buy it, we agreed a price of £500, how could I refuse to buy the actual bike that inspired me to build my own CB400/4 Flying Banana in 1990 as a homage to Hank's original :). I brought it home a couple of days ago in a van.

First job is to fumigate it, the smell of the rats is unbelievable! Does anyone have any ideas how to get rid of the smell? From the photos you can see it is missing a few bits, I have the tank but the speedo and rev counter have gone AWOL along with the ignition/seat lock key (and I can’t lift the seat up as its locked down) and the V5, the air filter plenum chamber is also missing. It does have a Cibie headlight though, a real bonus ;D

I’ll add to this post as the project moves forward but this bike is not going to be touched until I have the Triton running properly and it is off the bike lift.
1976 Honda 400/4
1977 Rickman Honda CR750
1999 Honda VFR 800FX
1955 750 Dresda Triton
1978 Moto Morini 350 Sport
1978 Honda CB400/4 'Rat' bike
1982 Laverda 120 Jota

Offline Matt_Harrington

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2023, 04:10:22 PM »
That doesn't look too bad at all (excluding the 'extras') The front carrier is a hoot!
Matt
___________________________________
CB400F 1976 -  Almost finished
CB400F 1977 - On the road!
Moto Guzzi T4 - 1981 - My tourer (plus a loft full of spares)
Moto Guzzi Le Mans 2 - 1981
Triumph 3T - 1947 (somewhat dismantled!)
CD175 - To be restored

Offline K2-K6

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2023, 04:22:48 PM »
One way to de-rat piss it is "Jeyes" fluid as disinfectant, it has a piquancy of it's own, but much better than alternative, also for your own health and risk of Weil's disease too.

Offline Deano400

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2023, 04:32:41 PM »
Like the background story Dave. Great find and looks pretty good really.

Offline Laverda Dave

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2023, 04:39:08 PM »
I'll try that Nigel. Weils disease is something I know about having worked on London Underground for over 40 years, lots of rats in the station drainage systems  and down the tunnels although the brown mice you see on the platforms at a number of stations such as South Kensington are protected as they are unique to the Underground!
I was at the Kempton Park Autojumble today buying NGK plugs and carb jets for the Triton when I came across a guy selling some 400/4 bits. I bought a set of genuine handlebars for £5 although they need a re-chrome. I went back 30 minutes later to buy the complete front mudguard for £20 but it had sold, you snooze, you loose :(
1976 Honda 400/4
1977 Rickman Honda CR750
1999 Honda VFR 800FX
1955 750 Dresda Triton
1978 Moto Morini 350 Sport
1978 Honda CB400/4 'Rat' bike
1982 Laverda 120 Jota

Offline Deano400

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2023, 04:42:35 PM »
Steve @ 400fourbits has an air manifold.

SS - 073 COMPLETE AIRBOX SYSTEM - ALL GOOD USEABLE PARTS.

Has clocks as well but might be worth talking to Kent400.

Offline Laverda Dave

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2023, 04:49:47 PM »
Steve @ 400fourbits has an air manifold.

SS - 073 COMPLETE AIRBOX SYSTEM - ALL GOOD USEABLE PARTS.

Has clocks as well but might be worth talking to Kent400.

Thanks for the tip-off Deano. My mate Hank reckons he kept all the parts he removed and put them somewhere 'safe'. He's going to have a look over the next few days to see if he can find them. I really hope he finds the V5 and key for starters :)
1976 Honda 400/4
1977 Rickman Honda CR750
1999 Honda VFR 800FX
1955 750 Dresda Triton
1978 Moto Morini 350 Sport
1978 Honda CB400/4 'Rat' bike
1982 Laverda 120 Jota

Offline Rozabikes Tim

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2023, 04:50:23 PM »
Fab story Dave and I've seen worse!

With your back catalogue on these babies you'll do this with your eyes closed.
One day I'll have the time to restore it, not just talk and dream....

Offline Matt_Harrington

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2023, 05:02:53 PM »
Dave, I was at Kempton as well - strange weather! There wasn't that much Honda stuff there....
Matt
___________________________________
CB400F 1976 -  Almost finished
CB400F 1977 - On the road!
Moto Guzzi T4 - 1981 - My tourer (plus a loft full of spares)
Moto Guzzi Le Mans 2 - 1981
Triumph 3T - 1947 (somewhat dismantled!)
CD175 - To be restored

Offline Laverda Dave

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2023, 05:10:47 PM »
Dave, I was at Kempton as well - strange weather! There wasn't that much Honda stuff there....

Did you buy the 400/4 front mudguard Matt :'(!
No, not much there, a lot of stallholders appear to have read the forecast and stayed away. As Henry Cole would say 'a lot of detritus and trinketry'. £2 for a tea bag thrown into a paper cup as well! I did get a set of new TEC rear shocks for the 400 though :). The guy who sells the TEC shocks only has two pairs left, after they sell, that's it.
1976 Honda 400/4
1977 Rickman Honda CR750
1999 Honda VFR 800FX
1955 750 Dresda Triton
1978 Moto Morini 350 Sport
1978 Honda CB400/4 'Rat' bike
1982 Laverda 120 Jota

Offline McCabe-Thiele (Ted)

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2023, 05:22:17 PM »
Looks a tidy starting point at a good starting price. 8) 8) 8)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2023, 09:28:41 AM by McCabe-Thiele (Ted) »
Honda CB500 K1 (new pit dug out ready)
Honda CB400 four super sport (first money pit)
http://www.sohc.co.uk/index.php/topic,23291.0.html

Offline Rozabikes Tim

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2023, 05:23:04 PM »
Dave, I was at Kempton as well - strange weather! There wasn't that much Honda stuff there....

I did get a set of new TEC rear shocks for the 400 though :). The guy who sells the TEC shocks only has two pairs left, after they sell, that's it.

Got his details Dave?
One day I'll have the time to restore it, not just talk and dream....

Offline Trigger

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2023, 06:03:14 PM »
Looks like a good project, Something to do on those long, cold winter night coming shortly  ;)

Offline Sesman

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2023, 06:07:36 PM »
“We’re all doomed…”

Online Johnny4428

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Re: My New Project arrives after a 44 year wait!
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2023, 06:16:06 PM »
Dave, nice project and great back story too. Look forward to future updates. Well jealous haven’t acquired my winter project yet! Not been that active looking. Won’t be going through winter with nout happening in the workshop. Good luck!
1952 Cymoto on Triumph bicycle.
1961 Matchless G3
1974 Honda CB550K1. Running resto,
1978 Honda CB550K3.
1999 ST1100 Pan European 50th Anniversary.
1975,1980,1984,1986 Honda C90’s
1973 Honda CB750K3

 

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