One-Off Honda CB750 Dark Passenger Has Classic Genes and an Interesting Backstory

Honda CB750 Dark Passenger 12 photos
Photo: Juan Francisco
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The Dark Passenger is a stunner, for sure, though you won’t fully appreciate it before getting to know its past.
Whereas some custom projects will turn out to be relatively straightforward, the CB750-based endeavor you’re seeing here was a real headache for Federal Moto. For starters, Honda’s classic UJM – a 1974 model, to be exact – had been unintentionally disfigured by the previous owner, who’d attempted a DIY cafe racer conversion, but messed up in spectacular fashion.

Moreover, the motorcycle’s 736cc inline-four lost the will to live following a few test rides, and the Federal crew became too busy with commissions from customers to get it running again. After about a year, Shaun Brandt’s specialists decided to hand things over to a mechanic, but you’d be utterly mistaken to think that was the end of it!

Several months had passed and little to nothing was being done, so it became clear the said mechanic was up to something shady. He tried to scam the Chicago-based shop, and their project was still at square one a couple of years after the donor bike was bought. The guys took matters into their own hands, finally overcoming the setbacks to make some real progress.

A proper engine rebuild took place to resurrect the 67-hp four-banger, which is now equipped with a ‘73 MY CB750’s repurposed Keihin carbs and a heat-wrapped exhaust system. Fabricated out of stainless steel, the handmade four-into-one pipework runs into a high-end GP Extreme silencer supplied by Danmoto.

Out back, the creature’s suspension arrangement got beefed up with aftermarket shocks, while its front end received the forks of a later Honda CB750F and a Cognito Moto top clamp. For ample stopping power at twelve o’clock, Federal installed a twin-disc braking system with phenolic caliper pistons, stainless-steel lines, and drilled rotors from Godffrey’s Garage.

The bodywork side of things is a bit of a Frankenstein ordeal, with a 1972 CB750’s fuel tank sitting center-stage. It fronts a tailor-made saddle wrapped in brown upholstery, behind which you’ll see the retrofitted tail unit of a Kawasaki KZ1000 from ‘78. All this rear-end equipment is placed atop a modified subframe, along with an LED lighting strip and turn signals neatly mounted below the tail.

Over at the opposite pole, there’s a vintage Gold Wing headlamp complete with a grilled cover that looks the part. Clip-on handlebars can be found in the cockpit area, featuring a stylish pair of Biltwell grips and Posh switchgear. The electrics are linked to a new wiring harness, and the paint job comes courtesy of Gus Abarca.

Having (at last) obtained its current form in 2017, the machine was nicknamed Dark Passenger following the project’s completion. To say that getting it to this stage was challenging would be a gross understatement, but the fruit of Federal Moto’s labor was, most certainly, worth the effort. And then again: the harder the task gets, the more satisfying the reward is.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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