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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Flying Dragons

As regular readers will know, I'm currently restoring a 1972 Honda CL 350. This has been a bit of a slow process due to time/money/ frame of mind constraints, but I do intend to get it on the road one day. Fellow blogger and CL 350 owner Larry mentioned the 'Flying Dragon' paint schemes that were once an option on the CLs, so I did a bit of investigating. Standard paint schemes for the 1972 CL 350 were gold or red.

Not my actual bike, but what it should look like when finished.

However, in 1972 and 1973, Honda offered the Flying Dragon paint schemes on CL 350 and CL 450 models in the US. These were very rare and there is very little on the Web about them, about the only thing is this article where most of my info has come from.

The Flying Dragon option came as a fuel tank and sidepanels to be fitted to an existing CL 350, and were offered as an option through US Honda dealers. The kits came from Japan as they have Honda Japan part numbers, and were offered in four colour options:

1972-1973 CL350:
06171-456-810SM: Gold/purple
06171-456-810SN: Silver/purple
06171-456-810SP: Green/purple
06171-456-810ST: Blue/dark blue
1972-1973 CL450:
06171-347-810SM: Gold/purple
06171-347-810SN: Silver/purple
06171-347-810SP: Green/purple
06171-347-810ST: Blue/dark blue
(Just in case there's someone reading this who works in a Honda dealership in the US and has some old boxes at the back of the store!)

I've only been able to find pictures of CL 350s in two of the schemes, plus a picture of three CL 450 tanks:

Pretty groovy! If you wanted to replicate these, you'd either have to be a very talented painter, or it might be possible to have them done in vinyl wrap. (Anyone any experience of that?)

Now, I was planning on getting my CL resprayed..................


  1. Those flying dragon paint schemes are something. If you could replicate it you'd probably never see another like it in person. All depend son how authentic you want to do in the restoration process.

    Hubby has a 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 he is restoring. It too is a slow process, one day the engine might even be back in the frame. :-)

  2. if someone comes here due to my comments at my blog....they will find a Flying Dragon Post. Thinking they floated the swirly paint on water and dipped the tanks and lifted them end papers in an old book...? Might try playing around with it. A minor correction...I've owned CL's..(.might actually have a basket case one laying around somewhere )...but am currently pl;aying around with some later SL 350's. Wasn't Kawa working on a CL 350 like yours?

  3. Oops! Forgot it was SLs you had! Yes, I imagine that paint is floated on water (or another liquid) and the tank carefully dipped in it. Kawa's restoring one equally as slowly as me - but he'll have restored another 10 bikes at the same time!

  4. Very psychedelic! You have probably heard of the current wave of hydro graphic, this is very much like paint on water except it's a coating. I saw some of the bike wheels and parts at this years bike show and the guys seem to think it's very hard wearing. And much cheaper than getting a great painter to replicate. However you would need to choose from the existing range. Mind you it's supposedly a HUGE range. There are a few places in Scotland now doing it.

    1. Hi Stephen, Had a look on the Web and was impressed by the amount of people here in Scotland doing it. Opens up a whole lot of new possibilities when it comes to finish. To be honest, I'm intending having my bike reprayed in the standard colours, like the top picture, but you never know what bike I might be doing in the future. If anyone's interested, here's a video of the technique: