1966 Honda 306 Dream (CA77)


Engine:  305 cc air-cooled OHC parallel twin, 60 mm x 54 mm bore and stroke
Claimed power:  23 hp @ 7,500 rpm
Top Speed:  86 mph
Weight (dry):  350 lb (159 kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG:  2.5 gal (9.5 l) / 50-70 mpg; (some riders claim up to 102 mpg)
Price then:  $595

The Honda Dream is instantly recognizable as a machine of the 1960s. Those angular lines and sharp creases of the Dream are also instantly polarizing--eliciting a love it or loathe it kind of reaction. Regardless of how you feel about this blocky and chunky machine, for many who came of age in the era of the Dream the model brings back happy memories.

The 250 cc (15 cu in) Honda C71 and C72 Dream, and the identical C76 and C77 bikes with 305 cc (18.6 cu in) displacement, were the first larger-capacity motorcycles that Honda mass-exported. They were characterized by a pressed steel frame and an alloy overhead cam twin-cylinder engine, The bikes were very well equipped; with 12 volt electrical systems, an electric starter, indicators, dual seats, and other advanced features not common to most motorcycles of the period.

This line of motorcycles began with the Honda C70 Dream. Soichiro Honda had dubbed many of his earlier bikes 'Dream' after his dream of building motorcycles. From the first motorcycle Honda built, designer Soichrio Honda believed that small displacement multi-cylinder engines were superior to large, thumping singles.

The engine found in NSU’s Rennmax, with its twin forward-canted cylinders and gear-drive double overhead cam, inspired the 247 cc 4-stroke twin powering Honda’s C70. Unlike the Rennmax, Honda’s C70 featured a chain-drive single overhead cam, but otherwise featured a horizontally split crankcase with a pressed-together ball bearing crankshaft and dry sump lubrication system. After the C70, Honda developed the 247 cc C71, the first Honda with an electric starter. Bumped up to 305 cc, the same engine was introduced to North America in the CA76 Dream in 1959. There were, in fact, several different versions of the 247 cc and 305 cc Dreams imported that year, but none in very great numbers.

The dry sump CA76 lasted a single year, replaced in 1960 with the CA77 Dream Tourer. Honda updated the CA77 with a wet sump engine and also offered a 247 cc CA72. Both the 247 cc and 305 cc Dreams used a 360-degree crankshaft, meaning the twin pistons rise and fall simultaneously, but fire alternately. Fuel and air mixed in a single 22 mm Keihin carburetor, and exhaust left the cylinder head via dual-wall header pipes before exiting through mufflers equipped with removable baffles. The 305 cc twin was rated at 24 horsepower at 8,000 rpm.

As the Japanese manufacturers began to make inroads into the marketplace for motorcycles, their product range evolved from small capacity commuter type bikes to sportier middle size machines. By 1959, Honda had both a 250 cc and 305 cc machine (the CA71 and C76 respectively) available in the American market. The mass produced parallel twin-cylinder 4-stroke was a highly advanced motorcycle for its time.

Standard features such as electric starters and OHC gave the Honda a unique identification, one the Honda marketing department made full use of. Before long, the Honda was selling well and had a strong following, so strong in fact that eventually Honda sold some 250,000 of the 250 and 305 variations!

Early vs. Late
Dreams produced from 1960 to 1963 are called “early” models, while machines built from 1963 to 1969 are dubbed “late” models. Differences between early and late are few. Visually, the shape of the gas tank changed, but the rectangular rear shock absorber upper covers and the square headlight nacelle, complete with speedometer, remained. Over its production run, Dream specifications continued virtually unchanged.

Honda built a surprising number of offshoot models based on the Dream, including the CSA77 Dream Sport; a 305 cc Dream equipped with a high-level exhaust system to distinguish it from the Tourer.

Honda used metal stampings welded together to make the frame, which included the headstock and the rear fender. There was no front downtube; the engine bolts in at the cylinder head top cover and at two points directly behind the rear case, thus acting as a stressed member. A leading-link front fork (also made of pressed steel), while not known to provide razor-sharp handling, provided effective suspension.

Front and rear wheels were a stubby 16-inches each, and most Dreams came equipped with whitewall tires. The Dream is all steel, even the deeply valanced front fender and side covers. Dreams were available in white, black, blue and scarlet red.

Honda’s sporting CB72 Hawk and CB77 Super Hawk, used engines based on the Dream powerplant. However, the CB-series engines were modified with a 180-degree crank, and in the case of the 305, made 28 horsepower. Hawks and Super Hawks gave up the pressed steel frame, using a more traditional tubular steel chassis and hydraulic front forks.

The Honda 305
The wet-sump 250 and 305 cc machines had many interesting features, in particular within the engine. The parallel-twin engine had an oil system unique to this Honda family; with extensive use throughout of ball bearings (outer main bearings and camshaft in particular), the oil system could rely on a low pressure oil pump. This worked well and helped to give the Honda a reputation of being oil leak free (something that its American and British competitors could not claim).

Over the years, one area to show a weakness was the primary chain. Prior to 1962, these engines did not have a primary chain tensioner. Needless to say, the chain would ultimately stretch and, without a tensioner, the chain would hit the inside of the primary chain case (causing small pieces of aluminum casing to be ground away which and deposited into the oil system).

The 305 engine was studied, developed, and enlarged as the basis of Honda’s 650 cc and 750 cc twin cylinder engines.