Still in its crate, this Honda CL360 is a 1970s time capsule
One of the unique quirks of motorcycles is that, unlike cars, they can be easily moved around without rolling or accumulating mileage. Even some of the best-preserved cars will have a hundred or so “delivery miles” when motorcycles can be found years or even decades after being sold with even smaller numbers on the odometer. Such is the case with this 1975 Honda CL360 that’s currently listed over on Bring a Trailer. Since new, it has accumulated just two miles and appears inside a shipping crate.
Crated motorcycles are not a new phenomenon. Like barn-find cars, when these “new” bikes sell there is typically a kind of fascination and fervor. This particular Honda CL360 comes with an interesting story, too—one that may or may not help its case as the auction winds down on February 17.
For starters, it is advertised as being in-crate and that is technically correct. There is indeed a shipping crate encasing the Orange CL360. However, when the 360-series bike came out to replace the 350 series in 1974, the shipping crates Honda used were not the erector-set style seen here. Wood was the primary component. Also, there was assembly required. Take a look a the Honda CBX we have highlighted in the past to see what a motorcycle crated by the manufacturer often looks like.
The seller chimed in with a comment on the listing, offering a partial clarification that the setup checklist was completed in May of 1978. (This explains why the front wheel is on and handlebars set as if the bike is ready to ride.) The seller also mentions that the service department of the Honda dealership “wanted to borrow a part or two” from the bike, but doesn’t outline if said borrowing actually happened, or if the parts were eventually returned to the motorcycle. Presumably following re-assembly, the bike was re-crated in the fashion in which it is currently presented.
“The timeline of this Honda being re-crated in the 1970s doesn’t quite add up,” says Hagerty valuation expert and all-around bike aficionado James Hewitt. “This appears to be a metal crate from the 1990s or 2000s, which aligns with the story of it being stored at a Honda dealership for many years. At the end of the day, the crate is not going to make this deal.”
Now that we can look past the crate, the condition of the bike comes into sharper view. Time has not been kind to the machine, which was apparently stored in the open air at a New Orleans, Louisiana dealership followed by a short stint in New Jersey. The chrome looks as though it would clean up nicely, and the gas tank is flawless inside— rare for a 46-year-old machine like this—but corrosion abounds and the overall appearance is not what one would hope for given the two total miles.
What is the draw, then? If you wanted to restore a CL360, this is a very easy place to start. It would also be a great level-set for a restorer who want to bring another bike to day-one condition. Wire routing, sticker placement, assembly marks, and the like are all untouched on this motorcycle in a way that a regularly detailed example might not be.
As if often the case with survivor bikes like this, especially listed online, there is perhaps a lot more going on with this bike than what meets the eye on the screen. We will be watching to see how this one sells. Leave a comment below if you’d like to venture a guess as to what you think the final sale price will be—right now bidding sits at $3000 with six days to go.