1966 Honda CB450 'Black Bomber'
Frame no. 1005409
Engine no. CB450-1009
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. This example was bought in the USA from its original owner who had kept it in his living room for 40 years, and was purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams' Stafford sale in October 2009 (Lot 355). The machine displays a total of only 51 miles on the odometer but it has not been possible to verify this. Presented in outstandingly original condition, it represents a rare opportunity to acquire one of the great classic Hondas.
- The engine number is CB450E-1009.