We love a good barn find, and they don’t come much better than this sweet little Honda CA95. It’s a typically stylish build from Dave Mucci, and there’s a great story to match.
A few months ago, we got an email from Lauren, a Chicago rider who wanted to upgrade from a scooter to a classic motorcycle. So we put her in touch with her near-neighbor Dave. After running through a few options with him, Lauren decided she liked the curves of the Honda CA95.
It was a good choice. “The CA95 was the finned Cadillac of motorcycles,” says Dave. “The frame extends from the steering tube all the way back to the rear fender, in one swooping stamped-steel structure.”
The hunt was on, and Dave got wind of a 1962 model that had been sitting unused for more than a decade. “It was the dictionary definition of a barn find,” he remembers. “Covered in a thick layer of dirt, with hay stuffed into all the crevices, plus the remnants of generations of mice.”
Dave was almost afraid to touch it in case it fell apart. And then he swiped his thumb across the instrument gauge and revealed something pretty astonishing: the odometer read 00078 miles.
The remarkably low mileage isn’t the only unusual thing about this Honda. Lauren’s first requirement was practicality and storage—something that scooter riders take for granted, but motorcyclists often struggle with.
“The CA95 already has two square compartments, on either side of the bike,” says Dave. “They house the electrics and air filter box. So we replaced the airbox with a K&N pod filter, and built a custom electronics box within the frame.”
The side compartments were now free, so Dave fabricated metal cages and fitted soft, upholstered side bags. And for even more storage space, he added a removable luggage rack at the back.
With the storage issue out of the way, the rest of the build took a more familiar path. There’s a completely new electrical system, complete with a red USB chord snaking into a side bag so that a phone can be charged while riding.
In the US, the CA95 was delivered without turn signals, so Dave sourced and wired in an early Honda control with a turn signal switch. “Given the cell phone charger, we wanted to keep the electrical draw to a minimum. So we swapped out the rear taillight for a pair of LED units from Prism Moto Co.”
The tails are wired up to also function as turn signals, using a basic trailer converter and a couple of resistors. (“They’re bright as hell and draw a tenth of the current.”)
The curvature of the CA95 backbone is one of its most elegant features. “You can just picture a designer carving out that perfect silhouette in the 50s with a couple of pencil strokes. But unfortunately, someone then made the decision to plop a big black rectangle of a seat on top of that beautiful design element.”
So Dave designed a seat unit with more sympathetic lines. It’s one of the most dominant elements of the bike now, accentuating the backbone of the frame and tailing off down the rear fender.
The rest of the bike was overhauled, from the nickel-plated fender up front to the skinny new exhaust system—which replicates the original, but now sports a set of louvered baffles from a different Honda model. “The sound is surprisingly deep and bubbly for a pair of 75cc pistons!”
Even more attention went into the muted colors: warm and desaturated, they add a classy, haute couture vibe. “I enjoy working with contrasting materials and finishes, as well as the hues themselves,” says Dave.
“The brass hardware was bead-blasted down to its raw golden state, and there’s a pop of red via some of the smaller elements—like the plug wires, zipper pulls and carburetor parts. They complete the red motif seen in the neutral switch, speedo needle and taillight lenses.”
It’s a thoroughly well built bike, but it was constructed at breakneck speed to go on display at The One Moto Show in Portland last February. The judges were so impressed, they created a special award: the “What’s Up With That Seat” trophy.
With several high quality builds under his belt, Dave Mucci has now gone pro—with a new motorcycle design company called Draft Studio. If you’re in the American Midwest and want a one-of-a-kind custom, now you know who to call.
Images by Patrick Daly.