My (no longer) Elusive Unicorn

The weather has been crazy here in Indiana since I last wrote, and Friday was the first time we have gotten to ride since then, and it was just a short trip for BBQ and a long route home via some gravel and secondary roads.

BUT… that’s not what I intend to tell you about…

Two years ago, my grandmother gave me this picture of my mother when she was a little girl sitting on a 1968 Honda CB450 K1. The bike belonged to my grandfather around 1970. I never got to have a relationship with him due to the fact that he passed away far too young.

I instantly fell in love with the bike, but I had never seen that particular model year, so I immediately started researching to find out more about it. Of course it turned out to be a one year only model, and the rarest to find, so I’ve spent the last two years actively searching for one with no luck.

I’ve been to the AMA Mid-Ohio Vintage Days the last two years, as well as the Barber Vintage Festival, and various vintage shops and museums and have never seen one. It became almost like a Unicorn to me, and I wondered if I would ever have a chance to own one.

A few weeks ago, we took a quick getaway trip to Savannah, Georgia for a few days, and while we were there we stopped by a vintage motorcycle shop that I am friends with on Instagram just to say hi and meet the guy who runs it. My friend Justin who lives in Savannah and is good friends with the guys at the shop met us there, and while we were chatting, I mentioned the story about my search for the CB450 K1 and how I’d never even seen one. Aaron, the guy who runs the shop, told me to follow him, and he took me to their storage garage, where nestled in the very back behind various other bikes, sat a blue K1, just like the one my grandfather had.

I was emotional over it after searching for two years, and I asked if he thought the owner would consider selling it to me. He said that he thought he would, but that he was in Florida on vacation with his wife. I was leaving Savannah the following morning, so I left my phone number and told him to have the owner contact me when he got back.

After a week and a half, I finally got my price, and it was way too much. I don’t know if the guy just didn’t want to sell it, or if he thought he could cash in on my emotional attachment, but even with my emotional attachment it wasn’t worth what he wanted for it.

So, heartbroken, I continued my search. I was devastated that I’d come so close to having one, but couldn’t let myself be taken advantage of no matter how badly I wanted it.

About a week later on Monday, I was scrolling Facebook before work when I saw a red K1 pop up on the CB450 Owners Facebook page that I follow. Usually when that happens it is just someone sharing their new find, or restoration, so I almost just “liked” it and kept scrolling without reading the post, but I decided to read it, and it turned out to be someone asking about pricing theirs to put on Craigslist. It was posted about 25 minutes before I saw it, so I hurriedly wrote a comment explaining my situation and begging him not to put it on Craigslist without contacting me first.

A bunch of the guys on the group left comments encouraging him to sell the bike to me, and I waited most of the day to hear from him. When he finally got a chance to call me, I was at work and could not take his call, so I had to wait until the next day so he could call me on his lunch break.

We talked for a bit, and it turned out that although he now lives in New Orleans, he had previously lived in Louisville, Kentucky, which is very close to where I live, and he had the bike serviced by Chad at Retro Wrench, which I knew to be a legitimate shop.

As it turned out, his brother was already planning to come to Louisville this weekend from New Orleans, and he was willing to bring the bike up to me if I purchased it. We didn’t agree on the price at first, but after taking some time to discuss it with his brother and Chad, he countered at a price we could agree on, and I was over the moon with excitement that my elusive unicorn bike would finally be mine.

I took my down payment to Chad at Retro Wrench on Wednesday, so Scott (the bikes owner) would know I was serious. It was great to finally meet Chad and check out his shop as well, especially since he let me look around and geek out over all the cool bikes he had in there. After that, I began the long, sleepless wait for Friday when the bike would be mine.

Thursday afternoon Scott sent me this picture of the bike being loaded onto the truck to start its’ nearly 700 mile trip to Louisville.

On Friday, I met Rob, Scott’s brother, at Retro Wrench and finally got to see my beautiful Ruby in person. I named her Ruby because that was my Great Grandmothers name. As you can see, I was kind of happy to finally have her in my possession.

I didn’t tell my mom about it until that night when she stopped by my house. She was so surprised and she loved it! She loved it even more after I told her what I named it, too. I had told my grandmother earlier in the week when we had met for lunch and she cried (happy tears), which led to both of us crying in the middle of Cracker Barrel, hahaha.

I’ve got her all tucked away with her new brothers and sisters for now, but I can’t wait to give her some love this week when I’m off work.

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