A mutant Honda 305 in Motown

Got a Honda memory? As American Honda Motor Co. marks 50 years of U.S. operations, we're looking for people to share their memories of Honda. A first Honda, riding in a friend's, selling or servicing Hondas, Honda ads, whatever sticks in the memory.

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Tell us your storyMy most vivid Honda memory came in 1968, when I bought a used Honda 305 motorcycle from a friend.

He had converted it into a dirt bike, ,which is a polite way of saying it came with knobby tires, manly scars, two scuffed Bell helmets and a huge cardboard box of fenders, headlights, taillights, sprockets and odd bits that had been sheared off.

My friend had replaced the original 31-tooth rear sprocket with a 62-tooth version to boost acceleration on dirt courses. I remounted the headlight and taillight. But with the first full-throttle blast, I knew that stock sprocket was staying in the box.

True, my top end was only about 55 mph. But the "rocket sprocket" made my 305 as hot off the line as bigger-displacement Triumphs and Nortons. When you're 18 and live near the famed Woodward strip during Detroit's muscle-car heyday, that's worth something.

And with a summer job stamping auto parts on the afternoon shift, daylight was time to ride. On the straight one-mile grid roads north of town, passing cars was one fluid motion: downshift, full-throttle, lean left, upshift, lean right, straighten and ease off.

I loved that bike.

The rest of Detroit didn't share the love.

My girlfriend was reluctant to ride. Her parents insisted she didn't. My mom told and retold the story of Uncle Dave: the Harley, the gravel and the body cast. Detroit drivers tailgate. And then it snowed.

By spring, I opted for a year-round vehicle that girls would ride in. And the 305 -- and its box of parts -- went to a new teenager.

That's my Honda memory. What's your's?

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