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ACM rolls out Master Collector exhibit of more than 100 Honda motorcycles

Brown M. Maloney’s collection takes the spotlight in Tacoma

Since we’re all adults here, let’s remember we were once all kids. And many of us kids lived through the late 60s and early 70s when the motorcycle lifestyle took a turn for the better, drifting away from the Hollister-enraged bad-guy stereotypes and diving deep into racing and, more importantly, the fact that motorcycling was for everybody.

One smart marketeer nailed it when a Japanese maker began utilizing the tag line – “You meet the nicest people on a Honda.” And the rest is history.

Photo: Monkey bikes from the 70s, an original Gold Wing and a CBX 1000. Are you drooling yet?

Over the course of its lifespan, Honda has created hundreds of models, raced millions of miles and sold just as many units across the globe. While it’s not possible to ever see every model and color ever produced by the world’s largest maker of motorcycles in one place, Tacoma’s America’s Car Museum gives us a pretty good look back in time with it’s newest Master Collector exhibit: Honda Motorcycles.

Included in the exhibit are more than 100 motorcycles all with one thing in common. They are owned by local collector Brown M. Maloney of Sequim, Washington.

By ACM’s standards (and let’s keep in mind, ACM is the largest car museum in the United States) a master collector is one who is not just buying and selling, but someone whose passion runs deep for the vehicles in their collection, knows in-depth history about each one and is basically a walking database for each and every vehicle in possession. That would be Maloney.

Photo: A 1982 CX 500 Turbo and 1983 CX 650 Turbo. Each were 1-year production bikes only.

Maloney’s roots run deep in the publishing world, with a family who has five generations of lineage running newspaper and media entities operating as the McClatchy Company. It all started on the West Coast in 1857 and grew to be national with its purchase of Knight Ridder in 2002.

But life can’t be all work and Maloney enjoys collecting cars and motorcycles at his home in Sequim. His motorcycle fetish started when he was a kid growing up in Sacramento as small c.c. Japanese bikes came into full swing. Later, in the late 80s he began to bat around the idea of collecting motorcycles. For him it would be those that made an impression on him, and those were the Hondas from his youth.

Photo: A cluster of SL models provide eye candy for fans of the "Sand and Land" segment of Honda's model line that ran from 1969-'73.

Several highlights of the exhibit include a number of the Dream tribute bikes Honda has released over the years, a 1957 Benley 125 (not sold in the U.S. market), a Rickman CR 750 (which essentially utilizes a CB 750 powerplant and framework), a Moto Compo folding scooter and a pair of rare CX turbos, both the 500 and 650 are displayed. There’s also 16 Mini Trail 50s spanning across their first to last year. Other little bike features are several Monkey bikes and an MR 50 Elsinore.

Most of the bikes in the exhibit are top grade stock, un-restored units with typically low miles. Maloney has discovered over the years he can grow his collection much more efficiently waiting for the right bike to come along, rather than invest thousands into the restoration of someone’s barn find. Also included here are two CM-91 step-thrus, still in their original shipping crate, never assembled.

Photo: In 1974, the Rickman brothers were taking delivery of CB 750s, and modifying them into Rickman CR 750s. It was the end of an era for the British duo.

What’s missing? Oh, there’s no doubt, fans of the brand will notice a few things not on display. No QA 50s (undoubtedly the ugliest mini bike Honda ever produced), no Gyro scooter and no current model oddities like the Rune or RC 213.

And that’s okay, because there’s plenty of eye candy here for every fan, whether you like the dirt and trials bikes, road flyers, play bikes and otherwise.

Photo: The MR 50 Elsinore.  How many little kids wanted to wake up Christmas morning to find one of these next to the tree?

As for Maloney, what he’s on the hunt for now is more in line with what he already owns. An SL 175 in top shape, an SL 90 and a few other blasts from the past.

Looking for something to fuel your moto passion this fall as the weather keeps your bike in suspended animation? Go check it out. The exhibit is open now through the end of summer of 2019.

Tom Mehren/October 2018

For more information, visit the exhibit page at: https://www.americascarmuseum.org/explore/exhibits/master-collector/


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