1962 Honda Dream CA77 305cc
Purchase Date: July 2017
The Honda Dream; arguably one one the most iconic Japanese motorcycles from the 60's. The Dream 305 is one of Hillary's favorite motorcycles and I've been watching for one of these for several years now. Usually they come up for sale either completely rusted out and destroyed or completely restored. Both values seem to be unusually high for a Honda of the era.
On a whim, I discovered a Dream sitting at a local salvage yard. The motorcycle was mis-categorized within the classified ads. I went there with low expectations and high hopes. After arriving, I found the bike outside, leaning against a junked car behind some more junk and weeds growing around it. Cosmetically, the Honda is rough around the edges; with excellent potential. The owner swore up and down that the bike was running only a few days ago.
The engine actually kicked through nice and smooth, but it did not run. Even with a battery jumper attached and quite a few kicks - nothing. It has to be something simple to bring this old girl back to life, it just seemed obvious that she wanted to start. The bike not starting is working in my favor for the purchase.
I was interested, although the asking price was way too high. My price wasn't even coming close to what they were asking. I told him my low price and we negotiated back and forth, finalizing not far from my number. All in all I think we both walked away happy with the deal. I am the proud new owner of a '62 Honda Dream CA77 305.
The 1962 Honda Dream has a 305cc, two stroke, air cooled twin engine. The motorcycle has 23HP and a modest top speed of 86mph. Early drum brakes provide plenty of stopping power for both the front and rear wheels. The bike is light with a dry weight of only 350.5lbs..
When I first got the Honda, I had other projects scheduled in line. Two months later I finally got to working on the highly anticipated "Dream". The bike needed attention to almost every inch that was exposed to the elements; obviously having been stored outside. Luckily for me the bike was kept in running condition- for the most part and I don't have to spend a large chunk of my time + money getting the Dream back on the road.
I pushed the rusty, limping Honda onto the lift and began my inspections. Every inch needs attention even if it's just a cleaning, and the project begins:
Battery: The Dream desperately needed a new battery. The battery that came with it was only good for the $10 core refund credit from a local auto parts store. I sourced and installed a "new - old stock" Cardinal battery.
Gas Tank - Fuel: I was concerned about rust being in the gas tank, given the shape of the rest of the bike. Luckily it is mostly clean with only a slight deterioration inside; I'm not going to worry about that for now. The Fuel runs freely through the petcock.
Carburetor: After running gas through, the carburetor is not clogged and is working properly.
Spark Plugs: I purchased, gapped and installed new NGK plugs.
Wiring: I safety inspected the wiring, also checking the single inline fuse. There were a few frayed wires including the starter button switch and the handle bar controls that needed a bit of solder and attention. For the most part the wire loom and grounding is solid. A little bit of filing and cleaning goes a long way. Good grounds and connections are crucial for a good running, reliable motorcycle.
Ignition System: Surprisingly, the points looked good with only a small adjustment needed for the gap. I made a slight timing adjustment by rotating the back plate.
Cam Chain: I made the manufacturer recommended adjustments to the cam chain removing the slack.
Speedometer: The speedometer was not working, I disassembled the unit and lubed / freed up the crusty insides. The speedometer and odometer is now working and a new cable is on order.
---- Update. I installed the new cable and the speedometer is completely inaccurate. I removed the cable from the sheath and I'm calling it a day. No speedo.
Brake Light: The brake light switch was also not working. Just as the speedometer, I disassembled and soaked the switch components in cleaner. Rust was preventing the wire leads from making contact. After some mild adjustments, the brake light now works perfectly.
I've been riding the Dream around for several weeks now. What a fun bike; every time I drive the Honda I have a huge smile. It's not the power, or the sound - it's simply fun. Every so often someone walks over to me asking about the bike and in return tells me a story of a similar Honda from their past. The Honda Dream brings out a bit of happy nostalgia in people from the bikes era.
Throttle cable: The throttle cable started to fray near the connecting barrel. I sourced and replaced the cable and housing. The correct one was a small task to source.
Carburetor: Some mild hesitation gave me an excuse to give the carburetor a rebuild. I found a good Japan made rebuild kit through Classic Honda Restoration.
Horn: The Dream's original horn is less than desirable. I added a Denali Soundbomb horn in replacement. I had the Denali laying around in the garage. Adding the horn gave the little bike quite a bark. I'm always looking for a chance to use the horn!
Speeding: I installed a small bicycle computer to use as a speedometer, and to keep loose track of mileage.
There's not much more to say about the little Honda. It's a reliable little motorcycle. As long as I keep the regular maintenance up the Dream keeps running and running. And it's a lot of fun! I basically use the bike to run to the post office, or small local errands.
Tires: The rear tire went flat on me. Not surprised, whom knows how long the tires and tubes have been on there. I replaced the rear tube, I don't plan on going far with the dream, I don't care how old and dry rot the tires actually are - a good tube can go a long way. The front has been losing air, I replaced the front tire with an old school ~ modern 3.5 Firestone tire that I had laying around in the garage + a new tube. The Firestone is a bit wide for the rim and was difficult to assemble but I got it on there and it works great.
Photos and details of the Dream will be added as the project matures.