I had never heard of a Honda Ascot when the tow truck dropped this little gem on the driveway. It was, in the early 80's, an absolute technology showcase in a mid-size package. She has a 6-speed transmission, shaft drive, mag wheels, liquid cooling, studs on the rear fame members designed to hang detachable hard bags, and even a warning light on the dash to tell you if your tail light has burned out! Remarkably, they didn't sell worth a darn and were produced only two years. In the end, Honda dealers flushed these bikes onto the market at fire-sale prices. Their only real problem seemed to be that the gas tank was a little to small for a bike that would have made a great lightweight touring bike. Look them up. The more you read about the VT500 Ascot, the more impressed you will be. If you find one as nice as this one, buy it for a song and ride it for the rest of your life.
As you can see, this one came in very neglected, but not abused. She had spent too much time sitting lonely in a shed. So naturally the carbs were fouled, the battery was toast, the brake fluid was bad, and she needed an oil change. But what was particularly interesting about this job, was that she was on her way to being in a movie...and needed to run right and right away.
Being a Honda, parts were easy to get and with the normal Make-Run project ministrations, she was ready to go right on schedule...but when it came time to change her four spark plugs (two per cylinder), she showed herself to be a true Honda V-Twin. I cannot figure out why so many Honda V-Twins are like this, but I see it over and over, across lots of different models they have made. It is such an odd quirk for a company that usually does everything nearly perfectly, I have just got to tell you about it. On lots of their V-Twins, Honda makes it absurdly difficult to change the front left spark plug.
Is this a big deal? No, not really. But it can be really aggravating if you don't have the right spark plug socket. And I have seen a number of bikes come in that have clearly had all of their other plugs changed at some point, but the front left plug has never been changed. Some mechanics just skip it, rather than deal with getting the plug out. That is really crummy. So the message here is, if you have a Honda V-Twin, make sure your mechanic is willing to do the job right. (I guess that is good advice, whatever bike you may have!)
You may notice that the photo of the long, thin spark plug socket shows lots of scratch marks on the outside. That is because on some bikes, even this special tool was too thick to fit down the hole. So naturally, I took it over to the bench grinder and ground it even thinner! Sheesh!
Well, it all worked out fine in the end, and out little hero got a nice bath and made it to the set on time. The script says the rider finds a dead body in the woods. Who did it? Was it Major Mustard with a wrench?