Honda 400/4 engine build

The original owner of this Honda 400/4 thought he had found a cheap and easy way to make the engine look as good as new. “He took the motor out of the frame, taped up all the holes he could see, and then got to work with the grit blaster. Then he sprayed it silver and put it back in the chassis,” explains Ashley Barter. As a DIY restoration technique it couldn’t have been simpler – or gone more catastrophically wrong. “After the engine had been running for about 10 minutes he started hearing terrible graunching noises. At least he had the good sense to hit the kill switch. But then he parked the bike in the back garden.”

That was a little over 10 years ago, and the weather had taken its toll on the 400/4. When Ashley picked up the wreck he had a choice: “I could scrap it, or completely restore it. I rather like these Hondas, so I decided to restore it.”

When all four pistons are on their connecting rods, make sure that the cam chain moves freely on its lower sprocket before attempting to fit the cylinder block.

Read more in the October issue of Classic Bike Guide – on sale now