Here at ATV Rider, we receive a lot of photos from our readers of their beloved three- and four-wheelers. We wish we could publish them all, and we’re working on a page just for that purpose. Occasionally, we receive images of machines that stop us in our tracks. It could be a custom Hayabusa-powered dune shredder, a no-expense-spared race quad, or a vintage machine restored to its original beauty. This story is about the latter, a 1974 Honda ATC90.
For many of us, Honda’s 90cc trike was our first introduction to three-wheelers. In 1970 it was introduced as the US90 and retailed for $595. It came with an 89cc engine that made 7 hp and had no suspension other than low psi in the hubless, one-piece tires. In 1973 Honda trademarked “All Terrain Cycle” or ATC, a moniker that stuck until ATVs took over in 1987.
At first sight, we were amazed to see an ATC90 with its original tires intact. They are almost impossible to find today. Luke Bishard from Restored Memories ATC told us there was a bit of luck involved. “The tires were definitely used, but they held air. That was a win right off the bat,” Bishard said. And that’s where the hard work began.
“For a restoration to be quality it needs to be taken down to nothing but parts and nuts and bolts so that’s what we did,” Bishard said. “Each part along with its appropriate nuts and bolts were placed in individual bags or boxes and labeled. Once the whole thing was nothing but parts, each bolt was cleaned and polished or zinc plated if needed. Each part then went through an inspection to determine if the part could be refurbished or if it needed to be replaced completely. Lucky for us on this build, many of the parts just needed some TLC and straightening out. Even though getting remade parts at times would be easier, we pride ourselves on using as many original parts as possible and keeping the bike exactly how it was in the showroom the year it was sold.”
Some parts were more difficult to repair than others.
“On this ‘74 the tank was moderately rusted, but we were happy to see no pinholes anywhere on the tank,” Bishard said. “So to preserve the integrity of the metal, the inside of the tank was lined with a clear fuel-resistant coating commonly used in commercial plane fuel tanks; the coating will continue to last for another 47 years.”
The bottom of the stock fuel tank was polished, and color matched to make sure the Daytona Orange color stayed correct.
Any black parts, which included the footpegs, frame, brake cover, chain cover, etc., were sandblasted and repainted and clear coated. As for all the decals, a lot of research and photo searching was done to determine where each decal and emblem went on the 90.
“I’m not just talking about the big ones on the tank and rear fender; I want each of my restored ATCs to have all the warning labels and minor stickers that were often pulled off by the first owners. To get exact replicas of the stickers and decals, I have them sent from Australia where original stickers are scanned and recreated with accurate colors and size,” Bishard said.
As for the engine, it was pulled completely apart and rebuilt from the bottom up using as many original parts as could be salvaged. Each piece was chemically cleaned then dry blasted and placed in a vapor home cabinet. All gasket surfaces were honed with a whetstone and all hardware was zinc plated.
“This ATC is as close to 1974 new as one could get without using a time machine,” Bishard said. “We are so proud with how it turned out and can’t wait to see the look on the owner’s face when he finally sees what he has been waiting so patiently for.”
Restored Memories ATC is based in Parker, Colorado. For more information, check it out on Facebook at this link.