Ahead of the official opening of the David Silver Honda Museum on July 4, David Silver himself tells the stories behind two of the smaller bikes in his amazing collection.
1986 Honda Z50R
Engine: 49cc OHV air-cooled single
“This is one of Honda’s ‘monkey bike’ range, which started with the Z100 in 1961 and are still produced today in Japan. This bike is pretty special as it’s what is known as the ‘Christmas special’ and is effectively a standard one that has been chromed to within an inch of its life! Honda gave them to their good-performing American dealers as a Christmas gift in 1985. They were only produced for one year and look great.
“The dealer in Virginia who I bought it from had fallen out with Honda back in the 1980s shortly after building his showroom, so he shut the doors and refused to sell another bike. When I visited the shop in 2013 it was a ruin. The place had no floor, and the roof had caved in, but amazingly the Honda showroom area was still dry and secure. Which is why this Z50R and the rest of the bikes I bought from him have zero miles on their clocks.”
1978 Honda Dax ST70
Engine: 72cc air-cooled single
“These were called ‘monkey bikes’ and were sold in America under the CT70 name in a bigger variety, while in the UK we had the ST70. This bike was one of the last in the UK and sat in the window of a Honda dealer having done just 106 miles, which is how we bought it. The bars fold in and it was used as a kind of traffic-buster that could be fitted into the back of a car and taken out for commuting.
“In America the CT70 models are starting to take off in popularity and a few owners go completely crazy when it comes to chrome or paint. The trend hasn’t kicked off in the UK yet, but I’m buying them up as I expect it to – I own 28 (in the USA) at the moment.”
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