Reader’s Ride: Honda C70 Passport
Dan Gould of Bellingham, Wash. has several scooters (and a really nice garage to keep them in). This is the latest addition to his fleet, which you can see in detail after the jump.
Dan acquired this 1981 Honda C70 Passport as a $100 parts bike. The frame was in good shape, and with over 60 million Passports/Cubs sold since 1958, parts are not difficult to come by. Getting it back on the road would be a good thing, so he set about making that happen.
Dan’s plan was for re-animation, not restoration. The original engine had a bad stator, and with a new direct replacement not available in the U.S., an engine upgrade made sense.
Dan got a 120cc Lifan engine from Beatrice Cycle, aka Dr. ATV. They’re everything Honda, or Honda equivalent. The Lifan mill is only about an inch wider than the original Honda engine, and a rather easy swap.
The Lifan engine has 12-volt electrics; the device shown above made possible the retention of the Passport’s 6-volt lights and accessories.
The legshield is not the 1981 item, so a bit of improvisation was necessary to make sure it fit.
Likewise, the mirror is not the OE item. But it fits. And reflects what’s behind, which is what mirrors are for. Still, some would gnash their teeth and rend their garments over things like this. They need to lighten up.
The seat was chosen because it was 30 bucks, way cheaper than the exact replacement. It did require a few minor tweaks.
The crack in the fender was rather easy to stitch up, Dan said. The kind of repair a poor someone would make, out of necessity.
The exhaust pipe had to be fabricated, an easier task than trying to adapt something that doesn’t quite fit. That’s an artillery round serving as a muffler; not visible are grooves to direct exhaust gases down away from the rear wheel. It’s quite a bit louder than the OE pipe, especially with the throttle cranked.
As you can see here, the frame was sound, and enough of the bike was there to make putting it back on the road a worthwhile project.
If you’re thinking of doing this yourself, there’s one thing to keep in mind if you live in Washington state: Substituting the Lifan engine for the original Honda motor made Dan’s bike a 2012 homebuilt, which meant it was not eligible for a Collector plate (you pay $35, once, for one of those). This may also be true in other states and provinces, so check with your local Motor Vehicle authority.
A good, one-word way to describe Dan’s Passport: Improvised. The way it would be in the hands of most people who bought Cubs and Super Cubs (someone already had the rights to the name “Cub” in North America, hence the “Passport” moniker). If it’s broken, try to fix it; if you can’t fix it and can’t get the exact replacement part, make something else work.
In that way, Dan’s ride is way more authentic than a pristine, by-the-parts-book restoration could ever be.
Wanna show off your ride? Drop me a line. Tell me how you acquired it, what you’ve done to it, what attracted you, that sort of thing. And take lots of pictures!