First Year, Period Built
1969 Honda CB750 Hillclimber
Engine no. CB750E – 1019646
Thirty-plus years on, it is hard to imagine the impact the Honda CB750 had on the motorcycling world when it was unveiled to a stunned public at the Tokyo Show in October 1968. True, there had been plenty of four-cylinder motorcycles before, but these had been built in relatively small numbers and aimed at the wealthy few. Here for the first time was a mass-produced four within the financial reach of the average enthusiast, and one whose specification – overhead camshaft, disc front brake, five-speed gearbox, electric starter, etc – made the opposition look obsolete overnight.
Bike magazine summed up Honda’s achievement: “Like BSA/Triumph’s parallel twin and Ducati’s desmodromic single, the Honda inline four is one of those engines which created a standard out of an ideal. The list of Honda’s technical achievements is impressive but the appearance of a production four-barrel roadster at a ‘Mr. Everyman’ price was probably their greatest coup.’ A trend-setting design of immense significance and one of the truly great classic motorcycles.
The example offered here was built in 1969-1970 by Joe Sarkees for Lorne “Pappy” Ford (then an AMA referee) for hill climbing competition, and was often seen at Carnegie Hillclimb in Tracy CA. The bike features a plethora of “the right” custom parts, including a fiberglass tank made by Terrell’s, Tomaselli Matador controls, a lightweight BSA front wheel attached to Cerriani forks, and a custom oil tank.
The engine was recently rebuilt using original 1969 internals and has carbs specific to the first year of production. On static display for some years, the bike was just serviced and is ready for competition.