1965 Honda CL77 (305cc) Scrambler

Honda 1965 scrambler

These photos are of a 1965 Honda CL77 (305cc) Scrambler that I bought and restored back in 2010. The 1965 CL77’s had several 1-year only features, making this one both more interesting and more difficult to restore. The forks, front fender, chainguard, brakes, clutch and brake lever perches were just some of the items unique to the 1965 CL77 Scrambler. Honda used/carried-over those parts from their 250cc (CL72) for the 1965 model since the easiest way to hot-rod the increasingly popular Scrambler was to give it their Superhawk 305 engine! Then, in 1966, new forks, lever perches, chainguard, and better brakes from the famous Black Bomber CB450 K0 were installed.

How I found it

The before and afters show this truly was a “barn find”. The fellow that I bought this from is now a good friend and was very happy to see it get a 2nd chance.

revealed the original red paint

Let’s take some time to look and talk more about this 1965 CL77 and it’s Red frame. There is some interesting history behind it and why many dealerships had them repainted to Black like this one was. When I bought this bike, I assumed it was a Black framed model as most did come that way. After I washed off most of the ‘barn dust’ and got it up on my lift, I noticed that my new project was in-fact going to be a Red frame. You’ll see in the photo at the right, that the original Red was still there…..hidden by the Black re-paint cover up. This project was going back to it’s Red roots – the exact color it left Japan with 45 years earlier.

red frame finished with engine

In the 60’s, Honda used the ‘pressed frame’ construction for building their smaller bikes like the 50, 65, 70, 90. They also used them in the Dream models of the 160, 250, and 305. The ‘T’ or ‘pressed frames’ carried most of the bike’s color, so to have Red, Blue, Black, even Yellow models of those required the frames to be of the same solid color. Well Honda went too far – too far for the times that is. The ‘tube frame‘ models like this CL77 were not as acceptable in colors and American buyers didn’t like or buy them as often. Sure, some sold but many of them would be stripped-down by the dealerships and repainted to a Black frame. This one is clearly one of those that failed to sell in Red.


Look close at the bottom right and you’ll see a V-Twin tribute bike that Cobra Exhaust had built for the 2011 International Motorcycle Show. I was asked to put them together for family photos of the original and tribute. Here you see head-to-head photos with Cobra’s modern version of the famous CL77 Scrambler in a 700cc V-Twin copy. Everyone was amazed at how well the bikes and colors paid tribute to the Red Frame from the 60’s.

side view of engine  front view  rear view


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