Mad Mel's CB750 Turbo
"Mad Mel" Mandel...The World's Longest Running Turbo Saga...1971 and running
Mel Mandel has had a 40+ year love affair with his Honda CB750 Turbo. We met Mel back in 1978 and we still stay in touch. To say Mel is devoted to his art is an understatement. We use the word "art" because at this point it has gone beyond madness or obsession, so it must be art. We used to kid him about putting a tape recorder on his bike when he parked it at the Rock Store up on Mulholland Drive, telling him it would save him time talking about his laundry list of special equipment. Mel was in on turbos at the start and he never left. When the bikes went all plastic he stayed the course with his trusty Honda. When his motor got outgunned he switched to a Byron Hines built GS1150 motor to keep him in front of the pack. Mel raced the bike and showed the bike. It was featured in every magazine and calendar ever done about motorcycles. To say it was or still is the most seen or talked about turbo bike on the planet would not be an understatement.
Getting Mel out of the picture gets us a better look at his bike parked in front of the Rock Store on Mulholland Drive. Click on the pictures for a closer look at the World's Fastest 1969 Honda. This bike has never seen grey dreary skies, snowflakes or salt encrusted roadways...only blue skies and Movie Starlets. Fast bikes and beautiful women. Shit! I think I'll cruise down to Malibu for lunch! Belstaff Jacket, what the hell is a Belstaff jacket! Gotta get me some new shades. Sunset, Melrose, Rodeo Drive, Pacific Coast Highway. I don't need no stinking Ferrari and valet parking. There is hope where there is sunshine. The land of dreams.
About midway though Mel's thirty five year love affair with his turbo he got nailed by another motorcycle while on the famous Love Ride and had a leg destroyed which had to be amputated. The way we hear it, Mel went bezerk when he came to in the hospital and, before anything else, wanted to know about the Honda. One artificial leg later Mel still rides the Honda but no longer races it...He says when he hits 350hp his artificial limb blows off the peg! If you make it to California and are looking to fulfill your dreams Mel is living proof you can live and survive in La La land. Mel is retired now so he has even more time to talk about his bike...be warned!
Update 2017: Mel gives us a call. The Living Legend
never had a ticket in more than 40 years of riding and the record is
still unbroken. He recently nailed his 69 Honda Turbo in a tunnel...You
know..Just to hear the exhaust wail and a cop pulls him over. Mel pulls
out a sheet documenting all the articles on him and his bike, his
artifical leg and the cop asks him for a copy and lets him go. Mel
detoured into muscle cars for awhile winning all sorts of awards but
it's always back to the 1969 Honda.
Mel the Living Legend rolls on. It's La La Land.