Resurrection Road: 1973 Honda CL350 Scrambler

Five friends, with the determination to try, bring a beautiful Honda CL350 Scrambler back from the brink.

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by John L. Stein
Flushing the engine with kerosene to remove leftover metal debris.

Maybe few people know that in 1966, the instrumental group The Sandals created The Endless Summer surf movie theme song and threw it into an album stuffed with more surf songs as well as several cool bike instrumentals entitled, TR-6, Out Front, Good Greeves, and best of all, Scrambler.

And so it was, while putting the finishing touches on the 1973 Honda CL350 Scrambler rebuild seen here, the album would spring into mind. As well it might have, because while living in New York City in 1981, I found the LP record in a thrift shop and bought it for something like $1.50 — a heavy hit at the time of 25-cent albums. I still have it somewhere, and it’s a perfect match for this Honda, scratched and weathered as it is.

Ah yes, scratched and weathered records — and scramblers. If you read the July-August 2020 issue of Motorcycle Classics, you might have seen an article entitled Big Bang Theory, in which this author adopted a CL350 with a seriously hurt engine for the mechanical challenge it presented, but also as a way to encourage readers to adopt and nurse back to health broken bikes. Doing so will “make us feel good,” I suggested. The process would create “rolling art,” I promised. It would build friendship and community. And it might even, eventually, turn a buck.

When we left off the previous article, friends Amanda and Napper and son Derek had helped pinpoint the engine troubles as a complete lack of compression in the right-hand cylinder. With one rocker arm loose, I hoped to find only a bent valve, or at worst a broken one. And so, I set out to find out, and to make it right.

Tearing into it

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