Honda CB750 Phil Read Replica
Owning such a machine is the opportunity to own an extremely rare piece of motorcycling history. In 1976, Honda introduced the 73 BHP CB750F2. Apart from being the hottest summer on record, it was also a time when every Englishman was ripping off his air filter, throwing away factory exhausts and replacing them with four into one systems and fitting ace bars. If one of these fellows was brave enough, and truly wily, to be king of the road he’d also have had rear sets on his bike. If he were truly a one in a million gentleman, a real rebel of the two lane black top who might well get his knee down, he would have a race seat and maybe a true king would have a fairing too. Perhaps a one third fairing in a different colour to his fire breathing motorcycle.
One thing was clear in the 1970s, with all this customising. No Japanese factory was going to deliver a motorcycle with ace bars, rear sets, fire-breathing exhaust, racing saddle, alloy works petrol tank and a full fairing all colour matched too! Whatever next? Colour-matched leathers???!!!!
So, in 1977, when Phil Read rode an 820cc Honda CB750F2 to victory at the TT Formula one, Honda Britain saw an opportunity. They also saw what the future may hold. They had been begging the factory to build race replica motorcycles direct from the factory, but the Japanese company was too conservative. So to celebrate the racing victory, and to tap into the Englishman’s need to make his road bike more like a race bike, Honda Britain commissioned Colin Seeley to build 150 of the CB750F2 Phil Read Replica. This was the first ever fully faired race replica motorcycle, available straight from the showroom from any Japanese motorcycle importer in the world.
Of these 150 machines, only 35 survive today. It cost a whopping £360 more than the standard machine at £1895 (all of this was a lot of money then). It came with a five-gallon alloy works replica hand made petrol tank with a custom made filler cap. Rear sets, ace bars, single race saddle, full fairing, twin Cibie headlights, a hand made works exhaust (which is music to the ears) and little one-off parts to complete the package.
This motorcycle is the original pre-cursor to the GSXR, GPZ, FZR ranges. There would never have been homologation specials such as 888/916SP, RC30/45, OWO, ZXRR or Desmocedeiccis without the success of the Phil Read Replica. This was the test pilot for the homologation special. Honda Britain proved that the public would pay the extra for such machines. They also proved that there was a market for race replicas. This motorcycle is a very poignant piece of motorcycling history indeed.
As well as other great classic motorcycles for sale, I have this beautiful example of this rare Honda for sale here and it is also for sale at Coys auction at The Carol Nash MCN London Motorcycle Show. It has numerous MOTs dating back to 1990, indicating the 23,000 miles are genuine. The tiny little one-off, irreplaceable, plastic piece stamped with Honda blanking off where the original ignition switched went on the factory F2 is present. So too is the unique ignition switch and the chassis number of this machine indicate that it was one of the original 150 that Honda Britain built and one of the 35 left. There is also a valuation stating the machine is a Phil Read Replica from Nigel Hammersley, a known classic motorcycle expert of the era, in 1994.
This truly is an opportunity to own a piece of motorcycling history. People are waking up to the significance of these rare machines and in years to come, I believe, they will become the Holy Grail for motorcycle collectors. These are clearly an incredible classic motorcycle investment and will prove their worth in time.
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