1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650

From the Darkness: Honda Hawk GT NT650 Motorcycle Project

Over the past weekend, I pulled my motorcycle out of its multi-year outdoor / indoor hibernation, and it was not a pretty site. The once shiny motorcycle was corroded, rusty, and covered in dirt and debris. It was down right neglected. The sad truth is that this isn’t the first time that this bike was in such rough shape. I guess I shouldn’t have treated it like I did.

Throughout my entire youth I had worked on and ridden dirt bikes, so I had a fairly good idea of how to ride (and crash) on two wheels. It was some of the most fun that I have ever had, but ultimately, four wheeled vehicles were really where my heart was at. The feeling of sliding two rear tires down the street closed course, is just unmatched. However, about 9 years ago, all of my friends had bought motorcycles, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun. It was peer pressure I guess. At the time, I didn’t know which kind of bike I wanted, but I knew it had to be custom and unique, because stock is boring. After some research, a bizarre series of events, and a fair share of good luck, I ended up purchasing a basket case motorcycle project off eBay. It was missing the gas tank, seat, rear cowl, subframe, exhaust system, and misc other stuff. Unlike my family and friends, I could see the hidden potential for greatness behind all of those missing parts. After all, it was a 1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650, which was a unique bike in stock form. Once customized, it could really be spectacular. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this bike is somewhat rare and odd in a variety of ways. It was designed with a V-twin engine, single sided swing arm, and a very short wheelbase. They were only made between 1988 and 1991, but many riders believe that they were way ahead of their time.

The first step in the resurrection process was attaining & building parts that it was missing. Over the course of a few weeks, I acquired the necessities, and built the rest out of fiberglass, steel, aluminum, and spare ’64 Chevy Impala parts.  I spent many long, cold, wintery, nights working on my soon-to-be dream bike, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute.  It was genuinely relaxing.  Eventually the Viper yellow paint went on with the white pearl stripes and I had completed my bike project, for the time being at least. This is what it looked like.

1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650

I then rode it periodically over the next few years, added a few new things, life took place, and it was stored in a variety of terrible places, including uncovered outside. Yesterday when the bike came out of its latest storage, it was disturbing, disheartening, and discouraging. Continue Reading

SPRINGS HERE! April Fools! Oh Nature, You Got Me Again…

Yawn.....
Snowy Rx8
......uh oh... QUICK! Check calendar!
AHHHHHH!!! Nature, You Little Rascal!

It was March 31st. The grass was green, the street sweepers were out, birds were chirping, cars were clean, jackets were off, and the snowblower was put away for the season. I then awoke on the morning of April 1st. I stood up, and peered out the window like a zombie. Just as my eyes began to focus, Nature screamed in my face “APRIL FOOOOOOLS! It’s still winter! L0Lzz!” Ugh. I hate being Punk’d by Nature.

Noteworthy Vehicle Inspection Rules

Reeeeeeeeeejected!

There are two states in the country that come to mind when you talk about extraordinarily strict vehicle safety and emissions inspections, California and Massachusetts. I have never been to California, but I have had the pleasure of living in Massachusetts my entire life. This means that I have always had my cars failed tested for emissions, and a variety of other interesting laws. I have also had the distinct honor of being a Massachusetts state vehicle inspector, so I am quite familiar with the rules. Today, I wanted to cover a few things that may be helpful to you or possibly even entertaining to talk about.Continue Reading

Please: Don’t Part Out Your Rare Unique or Desirable Car.

Rare 1962/63 Nova Convertible Shell

Today I have a gripe that I would like to discuss with you all. The topic really irks me on some cars and I feel it needs to be addressed because I see it too frequently. Maybe I need to stop getting emotionally attached to rolling heaps of metal. I don’t know, just peruse this and let me know your thoughts on the subject, because I may be the crazy one. This gripe of mine is known as “parting-out” your car. Continue Reading

1A Auto Blog Asks: What Is Your Favorite Tool In The Garage?

Up until this year, I had never had a garage of my own to work in. I spent many…. many nights working on cars in the dark, in the snow, the cold rain, the hottest sun, and bone chilling wind. If that’s you, I can relate. Just substitute the word “garage” for “driveway” in the question above.

For me, my favorite tool has got to be my MIG welder.  I got mine when I was 16 years old, and I spent every last cent that I had on it. Today, I could probably buy a better welder for about one third of what I paid 13 years ago, but I don’t regret it for a second. It has paid for itself hundreds of times over, and taught me far more than I ever wanted to know about metal & things that are very hot. Sure it has burned me a few times, and sets my pants ablaze from time to time, but that’s always my own fault. When it isn’t causing a denim inferno, it is surviving my hundreds of trips to and from the house, sub zero temperatures and the hottest of hot days in New England. It’s all business. Weekend after weekend, it never lets me down.  I just flip the switch, crank on the gas, and liquify metal. It is by far, my favorite automotive tool.

So what’s yours?

Part Comparison: Old Idler Arm vs. New MOOG.

Idler Arm Comparison.

Over the past 6 years, I have slowly but surely replaced the majority of the steering components on my truck. The latest part that I swapped out was the Idler Arm. Mine was totally smoked, and may have even been the original one that came with the truck 22 years ago. As you can see in the picture, there is nearly zero bushing left inside where it attaches to the bracket. I am sure that the fact that it was ungreasable lead to its demise, but it was the gigantic car launching pot hole near my house that really finished it off. Let’s hear more about it!

In the moment before I hit the unavoidable paved crevasse that was racing toward me, I began saying “oooooohh” very loudly and immediately clamped my jaw shut. I figured that if I did this, maybe I wouldn’t bite my tongue off when I rolled my truck deep into the nearby woods while on fire. I then double checked my seatbelt, and began mentally preparing for impact. The mating of my right front wheel with this hole in the road, was time bending. In reality, it may have lasted less than 1 awful millisecond, but it felt like an eternal sentence in Destructionville. Oh gosh the sound was atrocious. Imagine what it sounds like to crash a medieval castle into an equally large, yet fragile, glass tank full of anchors. That is close to the sound that my truck made when contact was made. Each and every part of my truck separated for a split second and then came crashing back together again. When my brain turned back on and all wheels were touching the ground again, I was miraculously still driving down the street. I pulled into my driveway, twitching just a little bit, and noticed a fantastic new clunk in my steering to track down. Alas, the idler arm had given up the ghost.Continue Reading