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Watch Captain Slow reassemble the oddly charming Honda Monkey Z50

17 January, 2017


He may be an old bloke from the UK, but James May is a much-loved former automotive presenter of Top Gear, and current presenter of Grand Tour, characterized by doing loud things with powerful cars.

Although often found inside something luxuriously European, ‘Captain Slow’ — as he is referred to by his long-time co-stars Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond — has an unwavering love for Honda motorbikes. Who would have guessed?

This is brought out on The Reassembler, where May trades fast cars and crazy adventures for a backyard shed-esque workspace and the slow slog of putting back together a series of components. 

In the episode below, the vehicle in question is a Honda Z50 Monkey — oddly satisfying to watch if you ask us. There’s something rather charming about watching May transform 303 pieces of Honda engineering to form a well-rounded machine.

Originally created as a kids ride at Honda’s Tama Tech amusement park near Tokyo, it quickly became an unexpected hit with adults, too. The name Monkey stemmed from the resemblance to circus monkeys when perched atop the small bike.

Honda utilized the sales opportunity and developed them for public use. From then on, the Monkey has always had a surprisingly strong following in the UK, and with a host that is equally as fond of such creations, this odd little piece of internet video is pure viewing goodness.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.