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1978 Honda Express - Reachin' Back

Tales From The Old School

Oct 1, 2009
Photographer: Guillermo Lopez

1978 Honda Express (Nc50)
The Honda Ruckus has made quite a splash in recent years as Honda heads all over the nation have taken a liking to the tiny people mover.

But before the Ruckus, before the Elite scooter, there was the Honda Express. Powered by a 2-stroke, 49cc single cylinder engine, the Express proved to be Honda's answer to the blossoming moped uprising that surged in the U.S. during the post oil crisis era. Knowing that most consumers, new to the motorized two-wheeled society, would be overwhelmed by much more intimidating motorcycles, emphasis was placed on user-friendly amenities. This included a fully automatic transmission, as well as a trick oil pump that would combine oil and fuel; avoiding the need for any pre-mix. With just 30mph as its top speed, fuel efficiency and reliability were the areas of focus. Like most Honda vehicles, it didn't disappoint. The Express delivered a whopping 85-100mpg with conservative driving habits. From 1977-1980, the Express utilized a manual choke and points ignition. Later models featured a kick start and capacitor discharge ignition, along with a slight bump in compression.

The Express pictured before you is a 1978 Nc50, owned by Guillermo Lopez of Providence, Rhode Island. He stumbled across this little chunk of Honda history in of all places, his neighbor's basement. After a year of pleading, the owner finally gave in, and Lopez took the keys. With a number of years stacked upon the chassis, it had certainly seen better days. Lopez stripped it down to the frame in order to re-spray it "Sun Yellow" (the closest color he could find to the original). The head was then polished, a Honda 600 headlight bolted on, new Yokohama tires mounted, and an '82 Honda Urban Express carb installed. Lopez states "Now I'm the coolest kid on the block. My future plans for my Express include a 70cc conversion, and possibly even making it up a hill!"

By Rodrez
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