A MODERN DAY GOLD STAR?
Honda GB 400 TT (Part 3)
February 20th 2004
I have been busy with the bike recently and have completed all manner of things and it has encouraged me to return to 'shed life' after the miserable Winter. I don't know about you, but when I see adverts for 'ideal Winter project', I always think it's about the worst time to embark on any new job - perhaps that's why there are so many unfinished projects out there. Anyway, I decided to attack the tank and side panels with Nitro-Mors, in preparation for re-finishing them in black with gold lines. It took a couple of evenings to get them completely to bare metal and also to remove the odd little bits of filler over the myriad dings and scratches. I then filled and flatted everything using UPOL 'smooth and easy' body-filler, recommended to me some years back by Frank Halsall at Plox Motors in Tarleton, near Preston in Lancashire. It is he who applies the two-pack primer and top coats to my handy-work in his low bake oven. They are all now in primer and I have been there today to block them down in preparation for the Ford metallic black top coats and lacquer. I still do the small cycle parts myself with pre-mixed aerosols from the body shop suppliers. UPOL do a great clear lacquer in aerosol form now, which really gives a professional result.
The tank and side panels in 2 pack primer with a guide coat dusted on
I have managed to find some gold lining tape in 5mm for the Tank and 3mm for the side panels, from Star-Chem and John Kenworthy at Sunrise Graphics has a pair of winged Honda decals and also the Tourist Trophy GB 400 decals for the side panels.
The fork top yoke was also suffering a bit from neglect, with a couple of deep gouges in the alloy and some flaking of the paint. Once removed, it was a matter of flat-filing the top surface to remove the marks, followed by paint stripping and then re-finishing in grey, with a top coat of lacquer. The result was much better than I anticipated, and will set the front end off nicely from the rider's eye view. The colour chosen was the dark variant of 'Rauch Grau' (smoke grey) metallic from the Vauxhall/Opel range of about 1995 and the result is certainly close enough.
The front mudguard had some damage on the forward right hand bracket and the rivet had sheared off, allowing the bracket to be forced outside, rather than inside the mudguard blade. A little work with a block and planishing hammer sorted out the shape, and 15 minutes on the lathe produced a new rivet in aluminium, ready for riveting the whole thing back together. A little bit of rubbing and filling, soon brought out the final shape, once again being coloured and lacquered with silver grey metallic.
This shows the damaged mudguard stay and broken rivet which need sorting
The seat had a small tear in the the top and the material had become quite hard, but 'Tommy the Trimmer' in Southport has made a fantastic job of re-covering it - what a star!
The finished seat, Tommy even re-covered the strap!
The polishing of the engine casings has also been completed and the whole thing is starting to look rather good - not by any means Concours, but quite acceptable as a rideable exhibit.
I sourced a centre stand from eBay via Germany and that is now fitted, so that should allow me to do a little more detailing on the left side of the bike, which unfortunately always looks a bit bare on any bike with only one silencer on the right hand side.
March 7th 2004
These are a couple of shots of the tank in colour with the lacquer 'scotched up' to ensure that the lines and decals stick properly.
Getting there - tank and panels finished, exhaust needs re-fitting, front mudguard sorted.
The caliper after stripping and cleaning followed by a coat of silver and clear lacquer
Clean and simple lines of an 80's classic, lots of black, chrome and ally!!
I still have a few other bits and pieces to do, such as fitting the decals to the side panels when I get them from Sunrise Graphics, and the instruments and holder now need fettling. The bracket appears to be bent, so that the clocks are in slightly different positions and the chrome on the plastic clock cases has started to bubble and peel. I could strip it off and paint the cases bright silver, but I am thinking of wrapping some very thin stainless steel shim around the cases and fixing it with Sikaflex adhesive. The bracket will straighten easily and a coat of silver should smarten that up.
Another stroke of luck came a few days ago, when I won an original chrome chain-guard on eBay from a guy in Germany. I bought a few other bits and pieces from him too. The only other things really are the indicators, but I'll find some originals somewhere eventually I suppose.
As I said earlier, I'm not looking for Concours, but the quick result has been worth it. Maybe I'll carry on detailing as time permits - it would be very nice to have some of the odd nuts, bolts and fittings re-plated in zinc, which costs almost nothing per piece, but makes a big difference to the look. The spokes would benefit from that treatment too, but that would have to wait until the winter lay-off.
I'll try to add a bit about riding it and maybe a show or two, although this next few months will be taken up with more preparation and cycling, in time for my Land's End to John O' Groats 'Recumbent Tricycle' ride in May, so it might not happen until June - if I survive!
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