Built From Scratch by PCAL

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Many extreme car enthusiasts at one point or another in life convince themselves that they can build a car from the ground up. Some of those people are the Colin Chapmans, Soichiro Hondas and Gordon Murrays of the world. Others…. aren’t. But you’ll never know unless you try, right?

Dennis Palatov is one man who has put his money where his mouth is. Thankfully, he’s also chosen to document the whole process on his website. I’ve been following it for quite a while. One of his projects is the DP4 which is essentially a motorcycle powered car that’s designed to be a half-way point between karts and traditional race cars. Peruse his website and you’ll see many cool machines.


One day I’d like to try my hand at making a car and when I do I’m going to use a Honda Goldwing motor. Many have adapted various motorcycle engines to their homebuilt creations so that’s nothing new. However, many of the conversions suffer from a few basic faults that keep them from being as desirable as they could be. Most motorcycle engines rev extremely high and produce very little torque. This, combined with clutches that were never designed to move the weight of a car usually don’t make for a very smooth launch. Then there’s the problem of motorcycle engines typically being designed to use chain drive.


The Goldwing doesn’t suffer from any of these faults and is remarkably torquey, has a low center of gravity, is extremely reliable, widely available and even has an alternator that is actually designed to run more than a single headlight. It’s not a violent, unbalanced inline-4 that revs to 15,000rpm, but that’s the point. I want a scaled-down, lightweight sports car, not a stripped down torture chamber.

What would you build?

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pcal – Honda’s dream factory, HRC

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Another Patrick Callahan Post:

In the automotive world there is a perpetual frustration that some of the most desirable parts shown on concept cars or factory race cars never become available for public consumption. One of the easiest names to see doing this is Mugen. It’s somewhat ironic, then, that another Honda subsidiary, HRC makes many of its best parts available to anyone.


HRC offers complete kits to turn several Honda models into purpose-built AMA or club racing machines. They even offer versions of their entry level racing bikes up to and including their machine for 250 GP racing, the RS250. The RS250 is more like an F3 or Nippon car than anything for the street in four wheeled terms and it produces over 90hp while weighing something like 225lbs. Another example is the HRC kit for the 2009 CBR1000. Besides the usual radiator, exhaust and other goodies it includes an ECU that allows the user to program a different ignition map in each gear. This is so far beyond something like a Mugen Civic and closer to something like the Mazdaspeed MX-5 Cup kit. Companies like Nissan and Ford have proven that Porsche isn’t the only company that can offer race ready cars from the factory. Will Honda ever join the fray with four wheels?


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PCAL – Hardcore Honda Z600

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Mike Haviland is a man just like you and me. He puts his pants on one leg at a time, but when he puts his pants on, he can be satisfied with the knowledge that he has created greatness in the form of a B Mod Honda Z600. To call the car a Z600 is to miss the point, as this car is really a complete one-off with a shell that happens to resemble a Z600. 1195lbs, 168hp in place of the armrest and enough rubber for a weekend at the mansion. This car absolutely rocks.
Carbon Z600
The car started life with the goal of being a turbocharged D Mod car, but rules changes ended up making the car ineligible because it has a motorcycle engine. Under the skin is a formula SAE inspired setup with bellcranks and laydown shocks and springs. Interestingly, with the engine where a passenger would normally be, the side-to-side weight difference with the driver is only 7 pounds.
The concept is somewhat similar to the Kimini which was an inspiration for the build, but with a pure focus on the track. If in some alternate reality the world was a giant parking lot with cones scattered all around it, this would basically be the ideal machine. Check out the video. (go to youtube and search honda 600 w/1300 hyabusa, sorry but youtube links are not working in this blog right now)

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Super Cub – The Best Selling Motor Vehicle Ever

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Honda Super Cub

If you’ve ever been anywhere in Asia, you’ve probably seen hoards of these zooming around. Few know that the Honda Super Cub, at 60 million units sold, is the best selling motor vehicle ever. Under the direction of Soichiro Honda himself, the scooter was designed with his core principles which made for an affordable, easy to live with, efficient scooter. With little change since its release in 1958, it remains a reliable and solid chassis; one great enough that the Japanese Postal Service use these almost exclusively to deliver their mail.

As huge Honda fanatics, we here at Bulletproof cannot deny that the success of Honda as a company has a lot to do with simple and effective designs. The Super Cub is no exception, and it is no wonder why the Discovery Channel considers it the greatest motorcycle of all time.

(photo and words by Colin Chu)

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