In Ontario your are allowed to plate “vintage” vehicles with licence plates made in the same year as your vehicle (yearly plates were manufactured in Ontario until 1973) under the “year of manufacture” program.
Obviously to do this you need to track down a plate made in the same year as your vehicle (reproductions are NOT acceptable), then make sure that the plate you’ve found isn’t already assigned to something (they provide a 1-800 number to call to verify that the plate is clean).
There are a few outfits that specifically cater to people hunting for these plates OntPlates.com and YOMPlates.ca both seem to have favourable reviews on forums dealing with vintage cars and bikes.
You then have to send the plate(s) along with the fee for vanity plates ($261) to the ministry for inspection and approval. If approved they’ll send them back to you with some papers you need to bring with you to the MTO on your next visit.
The rest of the process is the same as for normal plates – safety inspection, government fees and the like.
I have not yet decided if I can justify the $261 expense for the plates, but I have ordered a ’72 plate anyway (worst case it can hang on the wall above the project whiteboard).
It was just about a year ago that I took a leap and plunked down a few hundred dollars buying my (at the time) third motorcycle, a 1972 Honda CB350 K4. I had hoped that the acquisition of a “Project Bike” would deflect my interest in replacing my CBR250R with a larger bike.
That winter was ALOT more forgiving and I couldn’t help but to creep out to the garage fairly regularly even just to liberally spray everything with oil, or to turn the key and admire the glow from the instruments and headlight. As the weather improved I took more and more of her to pieces, surprising myself when those pieces went back together properly.
We now know the bike runs (a little rough granted), I’ve rebuilt the carbs, cleaned out the gas tank, replaced the front and rear brakes, tires and tubes, throttle, brake and clutch lines, gas lines and assorted relays, regulators, bulbs, dod-dads and thing-a-mahoosits. I’ve even changed the oil twice.
The remaining to-do items on the whiteboard are largely asthetic – replacement mirrors, carb covers have been obtained where the pitting and rust was too much to overcome. The only vageuly mechanical items are the timing and reinstallation of the chain.
The garage now, at least, smells like a garage should. As soon as the weather improves I hope to get back on the CB350 (although our renos still compete for my time). I’ll be sure to scribble a bit about the headaches involved in getting her safetied and plated.
Well, let’s be serious here. There are reno’s at the house calling for my attention and time to be spent with my daughter. So for the time being the bikes have each other for company in the garage and I’ll get back to the outstanding clutch adjustment and double checking the timing once things return to the normal work week routine.
In the meantime I couldn’t resist taking a few minutes and dragging the bikes out of the garage to enjoy the sunshine before putting them away and picking up the sledgehammer once more.
So the rebuilt carbs are on, I take some of the “genuine Honda fuel line” (at approximately $6 per inch) and hook everything up.
Can I resist the temptation to start the bike?
Of course not.
And boy did she fire right up (a little noisy with the exhaust off, but music to my ears none the less). Of course I have to do a “proper” oil change now (not where I just flush the old crap out and put new stuff in), and there is no shortage of other little details to be taken care of, but now at least she is a real motorcycle.
So for those of you just tuning in I bought myself a 40 year old motorcycle four months ago. Since then I’ve been tinkering and monkeying with it in the garage.
New tires, new cables, new rubber, new fasteners, a host of bits and bobs replaced – the list feels endless at this point, but now over $900 in parts on top of the cost of the bike.
Still waiting to be attached are the new mufflers and the rebuilt carbs (the float bowl gaskets only JUST arrived).
To be clear, this is NOT a restoration as such. This is an effort at renewal, with an education for me thrown into the bargain. I get to take an old bike, tinker with her endlessly and get her running and back on the road. I would prefer to keep the original asthetics, but we’ll have to wait and see.
So the carbs have been dismantled, cleaned, replacement bits swapped in and are all ready to go EXCEPT that the carb rebuild kits ship with the wrong sized float bowl gasket.
Not a big deal, the supplier of most of the parts I’ve been using since I found them is an outfit in Cambridge, Ontario called Sirius Consolidated, they have a exhaustive collection of bits and bobs for vintage bikes and the prices are good (compared to the AMAZING shipping rates I’ve paid for foreign suppliers) and I get the stuff a day or two after I order it.
Gas tank has been reattached with a thorough cleaning, new petcock is installed and I am just waiting on the inline fuel filters (although frankly I can always add those later if it’s gonna hold the process up).
As I mentioned previously, it is clear the CB350 went down at some point in its past. The damage I have identified consists of dents to both fork covers, scuffed speedometer, a scrape along the stator cover and a broken shift lever.
The fork covers present a problem. I could repair the dents, but paint is an issue. I’ve found a source for the original Honda three stage paint, but it is a bit pricey. Plan “A” called for replacing the damaged fork covers with a rubber boot common to later bikes and the CL350.
I did come across a couple of OK condition fork covers on ebay, and spent a few dollars on them as a “hail mary” or Plan “B”. I thought if I could bypass the immediate need to repaint I could save some effort.
The end result is entirely acceptable, and while the replacement fork covers are not 100%, they are certainly close enough for government work. I’ll finish reassembling the front forks and wheel, and if the damn carb kits arrive I can actually see if we can get this thing running!