After struggling to keep up with the Italian domination of 1950s Grand Prix racing, Japanese manufacturers ascended to the top for the ‘Golden Age’ of the 1960s. Honda proved to be at the pinnacle of motorcycle engineering and racing success with jewel-like, small-capacity lightweights.
The Honda 250cc 4-cylinder factory racer made its European debut as the RC161 in 1960. Further developed the following year, it made an enormous impact in terms of speed and reliability, now the RC162. A very important machine to the company being the first Honda to win a grand Prix with a Japanese rider when Kunimitsu Takahashi won the German 250cc GP, on July 24th, 1961 at Hockenheimring. That machine can be found in the Honda Museum. Wins came abundantly with the likes of Jim Redman aboard, but in that same year, Mike Hailwood won both the 125 and 250cc Lightweight TT races on Honda machines, the latter being an RC162, which now resides at the National Motor Museum in England, under very extensive security! The first five finishers in both races were all astride Honda mounts, with the company taking the Manufacturers’ Team Awards. Built for and run by the works team, with occasional loans to selected privateers, these hand-crafted masterpieces are extremely rare and supremely valuable. And so, a usable and exciting replica fills a gap for the vintage racer.
Tigcraft produced a very convincing replica of the RC frame and swingarm in the late 1980s and dressed it with a hand-made aluminium tank, seat unit and fairing. For motivation, they turned to modern Honda power, finding the CBR250RR 4-cylinder engine, which produced a similar 45bhp at a screaming 14,500rpm. Kehin 28mm flat slide carburetors mix fuel and air, while gases exit through replica four megaphone exhausts, for a genuine look and equally impressive original, and very loud sound. Cycle parts include Disco Volante 4LS huge front drum, HRC replica footpegs and brake/gear setup, alloy rims, Hagon shocks, etc.
Supposedly, only ten of these replicas were built, but I can’t find evidence to substantiate that.
The motorcycle offered here, was part of the famed Mike Taggart collection. I’m sure it was a display-piece and is offered in excellent condition. The name Nobby Clark adorns the side panel and his signature embellishes the tank. Nobby was mechanic/tuner for 17 world championships by, among others, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini, and Kenny Roberts, and was inducted in to the AMA Hall of Fame…eventually.
This bike is offered on a Bill of Sale.