Rare end-of-the-line special edition Sold new in the USA Fully restored condition
The Japanese motorcycle industry first made an impact outside its homeland with small-capacity commuter bikes and lightweights, and for many years the view prevailed in North America and Europe that they were incapable of building effective large-capacity machines. The arrival of the Honda CB450 in 1965 should have dispelled any lingering doubts about Japan's intention to compete in all sectors of the market. Known affectionately as the 'Black Bomber' after its black finish, the CB450 was Honda's largest model when launched and capitalised on experience gained with a succession of smaller-capacity twins. Nevertheless, the CB450 departed from Honda's usual practice in a number of ways, in particular its use of twin overhead camshafts, torsion-bar valve springs and constant-velocity carburettors. The tubular frame - replacing Honda's traditional fabricated spine type - was another departure from the norm. With a top speed of over 100mph and a standing quarter-mile time in the 14-second bracket, the refined CB450 sounded the death knell, not just for the traditional British 500 but for the entire UK industry which, ever complacent, found itself at an ever increasing disadvantage in the all-important US marketplace
The CB450D offered here is a Honda 'special edition' of the CB450K0 'Black Bomber'. After the five-speed CB450K1's arrival there were several unsold four-speed K0s at the factory and in dealers' showrooms. In order to help sell the old model, Honda came up with the 'D' kit, upgrading the K0 to a 'street scrambler' complete with upswept exhausts and restyled tank, seat and side panels plus some other changes. This new styling proved successful, so much so that Honda decided to produce similar 'CL' versions for all the following 450 and 350 twins.
This is the only high-pipe derivative of the CB350/450 twins that has a pipe on either side. As only a limited number of CB450K0s were fitted with a 'D' kit, this example is one of the rarest Honda street bikes in existence. One of an estimated less than ten remaining, it has been the subject of a no-expense-spared 'ground upwards' restoration with hundreds of new-old-stock parts used. The Honda was imported this summer from a private collection in Michigan, US for this auction. All taxes have been paid, a NOVA declaration completed and the machine comes with US title so UK registration is straightforward. An opportunity not to be missed as there are only three other known examples of this model in Europe.