1964 Honda CL72 ‘Street Scrambler’: The Baja Scrambler. “I’ve devoted the last 45 years of my life to motorcycles,” Paul D’Orleans says with a tone and a smile that suggest he’s more than looking forward to adding to that count. Seeing as Paul’s covered more than a few hundred thousand miles on bikes, collected and ridden everything from veritable antiques to racing models, and co-founded the Motorcycle Arts Foundation, it’s also a claim that comes with some compelling supporting evidence.
No matter how wide one’s appreciation and access may be, there are always those handful of special cars or bikes that reward our patience. We keep our eyes and ears open, go through periodic bouts of trawling the classifieds and probing our friend-of-a-friend network, and generally play the long game in the hope of finding “the right one.” But in the case of this Honda “Street Scrambler,” it basically walked right up to Paul.
Stopped at a gas station with his girlfriend Susan and his 1964 Triumph Bonneville, Paul was approached by a friendly guy who “had an old bike to sell.” Upon learning that it was a 1964 Honda CL72 Scrambler, Paul’s long-term search promptly came to an end and three days later the bike was in the back of his van.
Spending time in Baja in the past made the decision to bring the Honda down for some riding an easy one, seeing as the CL72 is considered to be Honda’s first full-size production dirt bike, and in 1962 it set the record covering the length of the peninsula (nearly 1,000 miles from Tijuana to La Paz) in just under 40 hours of grueling riding, repairing, rendezvousing with Cessnas, and general perseverance.
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