Editors Note: This bike is part of our first batch of auctions on NeverDropped/ Our team has been working for months to build the best place to buy and sell cool bikes, as we’re excited to finally take it live. For quick reference to how our auctions work, please consult our FAQ.
If you are a frequent reader of NeverDropped, you’ll be well aware of our team’s affection for ’68-’69 so-called “half year” Hondas. That’s why we could barely contain ourselves when we got the green-light to offer our #1 favorite restoration of the year for auction right here on NeverDropped Auctions.
Up for auction exclusively here on NeverDropped is a beautifully restored 1969 Honda CB450 K1 Police Special.
This bike, brought back to life by Shannon Sweeney of SS Classics & Venice Vintage Motorcycle Club fame, started over a year ago as a pile of numbers-matching parts.
After work on nearly every single nut and bolt, and parts sourced from 7 countries around the world (none of them the US), this rare K1 is ready to roll into someones garage and/or living room. Who doesn’t want their own siren? Really.
Sweeney says that no piece of the bike has gone un-touched. The numbers-matched engine was removed and the frame was powder-coated white, color matched to the interior of the original side-panels, which maintained their factory shade.
The fantastic one-model-only “toaster-panels” on the sides of the tank, reminiscent of later /5 BMW tanks, were re-chromed and then fitted to the tank, which was boiled and completely refurbished inside and out. The refinished tank panels were fitted with Honda factory replacement logos, which Sweeney notes are metal and say “Honda”—the originals having been plastic and simply bearing the “CB450” designation.
The electrical system has all been refurbished, including all the police-specific bits, which. are. awesome. Tops on our list is a fantastic, functional and flawless Police-Only speedometer that’s mounted into the headlight bucket. The party trick here is that this unit is calibrated to a single mph, and has a “hold” button. Operating procedure for mounted cops of the day was to match pace with a speeding car, hold the speedo and then use the reading to prove an offender’s top speed for a ticket.
This example was cleaned at RJ Cycles, and did NOT require refacing to be in present condition. This special speedo has the look and feel of a precision wrist chronometer, and is a vintage Honda detail you simply cant get anywhere else.
Just as special, and more apparent at a distance, is the jewel-like new old stock Tokyo Siren Company cable-driven siren Sweeney was able to locate for this bike. He shared that the unit, which is correct to this model and stamped “450,” came to him through a vendor in Asia who shipped it to the US in the original factory packaging.
The siren is operated via a physical roller that engages and disengages off the rear wheel. The cable spins (like a physical speedo cable) and drives the siren’s mechanical movement. The whole assembly is actuated remotely by a lever. Sweeney says that while the siren is correct OEM, the mount is not.
Police special parts dont end there, and include front crash bars, and special Honda half-moon turn signals that seller says were only available on these models.
Sweeney and his network of suppliers were able to source so many correct bits that even the venerable Barber Motorcycle Museum reached out to ask if they could borrow some of the original police bits so they could reproduce them to make their CB450 Police as complete as this one.
Seller says the engine is great after a 360 teardown, which included splitting the case, honing pistons, new piston rings, valves lapped and reseated, new cam chain, gaskets, and seals.
Sweeney chose to polish all the exposed aluminum to a “parade shine,” which some niggling commenters might point out was not how these bikes would have looked in service, though we think looks right on a bike this clean.
We will point out that while this bike would be at home at the highest level of Honda shows, there are a few small places where Sweeney chose to maintain originality over perfection.Chrome on the pipes is original, though it looks fantastic-if-authentic. There are a pair of small indentions on the underside of the exhaust that every CB owner will identify as the mark of a center-stand that’s been in use. This artifact of the bike’s service life remains.
The bike sits on new tires, which are not identical to the originals, but look very much at home to our eyes. Sweeney also chose to fit a heel-toe shifter becuase he felt it looked better—though has the original and will include at the buyer’s request.
The whole drool-worthy build debuted at the 2019 Outliers Guild Moto show in LA, and just completed a display residency at Deus in Venice.
Simply put, this is a once-in-a-lifetime bike. It begs to be prominently displayed, trotted out frequently to drop jaws at Honda meets, and to lead 4th of July parades everywhere. We will be forever jealous of whomever lands this fantastic machine.
Below are a few videos of the bike in operation:
This, and all our initial auction bikes will be on display at the Venice Vintage Motorcycle Rally on Saturday, Sept. 14th. Come and see the bikes, and meet the NeverDropped crew!