Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day in Western culture. There’s been horror movies made about the day and there’s even a name Friday the 13th phobias – it’s called friggatriskaidekaphobia. Seriously. Over the years, many bad things have happened on Friday the 13th. Most notability, it was the day the Olsen twins were born. Although some good things have happened on this infamous day as well. It was the day Brian Slater, the builder of this sweet little CB360, was born – hence the name ‘Lucky 13.’ “I’ve been working on motorcycles and building some low dollar choppers since about 2003 as a hobby,” says Brian. “I decided about 4 years ago to build a cafe racer/classic type of bike, and wanted something with a nicer finish.” So Brian went on a hunt for a donor bike for his latest project and was lucky enough not to just find one suitable bike, but three…
“I found two CB350’s and what I later found out to be a CB360 under a guy’s back porch, covered in vines and dirt for $175. The motorcycles were in various states of disassembly and decay. I dug them out and hauled them home and started hitting swap meets. I tried a variety of gas tanks for about a year, and finally found the RD400 tank hanging from some barn rafters at a bike salvage yard in Oklahoma for $50. I modified the frame to work with the tank, and cut a stock seat pan down to size. I polished almost every piece of aluminum on the bike myself. The cylinders were honed and I had the head rebuilt. The engine has been rebuilt from the pistons up, as have the carbs. I fitted with a 19″ front wheel, the rims are vintage shouldered aluminum units that have been powder coated gloss black. I also fitted some stainless steel spokes from Buchanans.”
Brian found some stainless sink strainers at the hardware store for $2 each to plug the holes for the unused air intake cross tube. He also engraved the oil filter cover on the engine with ‘Lucky 13’. Parts were found and cleaned up over the course of about 3 years. Brakes were re-lined and cleaned up. “All the polishing and the first gas tank paint job were done by myself in my loft – I live in a photo studio” he says.
The RD400 gas tank was recently repainted by Scott Shart. “It has a black base, with a heavy silver ghost flake that is actually a new Cadillac color, with an offset red/white stripe on the tank and several layers of clear coat. Gauges are NOS, and it has an extra clock mounted on the bars. Every fastener on the bike is either chrome or stainless.”
“My friend Mark Shapiro helped me rebuild the engine at his shop, and assist with final assembly which was a lot of fun. All the parts were cleaned up and sorted in boxes, so it was like building a life size model kit, and it came together relatively fast. Mark also gave me the vintage 1971 Kansas Motorcycle plate, and the chrome knob off an old English motorcycle that is mounted under the seat on the brake side. My parts were hijacked by the first powder coater for 18 months, but the second powder coater had everything back to me in 3 weeks – but it did give me plenty of time to polish all the various bits and pieces.”
All Brian’s hard work and patience finally payed off. The bike won “Best in Class – Antique Custom” at the World of Wheels Show in Kansas City 2012, and just won “Best Honda – Judges Class” at the HOAME Vintage Motorcycle Show at the Airline History Museum, Kansas City 2012. Some may call it hard work, but we’re beginning to think that maybe Brian is just plain lucky. Mind you, with a bike like this in the garage, that’s a pretty obvious call, yes?