Clay Baker & Lara Sprinkles
Clay is a founding Partner of Crystal Waters Capital.
Clay Baker is an investor, co-founder of Crystal Waters Capital, vintage motorcycle collector and stock market blogger at www.claybaker.com. Clay’s stock market blog gave his readers a portfolio that uses his strategy to uncover undervalued companies with great growth potential. The blog portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 every year since 2016 and is available free to everyone.
How We Got Here
In 2015 a trip to The Quail Lodge in Monterey California would turn out to be fateful. During our stay Lara and I found a show catalog for the The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in our room and inside was Don Stockett with his 1970 KO Honda CB750 Four and a first place win. When I was in college in the 1980's I had a beat up 1972 K2 Honda CB750 Four. I had always wanted to replace the bike or buy back the one I had, and now I was seeing that my beloved Honda was a classic that was being showed and was winning. That was it, I knew what I wanted to do; find a bike, restore it and compete in The Quail. What was most important is that Lara was 100% behind the effort.
I began by making the first really big mistake, I started the hunt for the bike on my own. In hind site I should have developed a relationship with an expert restorer and let them find the right bike. I was specifically looking for a 1972 Honda CB750 Four, the same bike I had in college. I knew that my old bike had originally been Candy Gold, so I set out to find one in that color. I eventually found a bike on eBay but now had to get it shipped from North Carolina to my home in California. Cue up mistake number two, I used eBay's shipping finder to get the lowest cost bid to ship the bike. I turned out to be that shippers last delivery before he closed up shop. While the bike arrived in the same condition it was shipped, it took longer than anticipated and came with some communication struggles. Over the years I've learned who the best is and who the auction houses use. Experience is an expensive teacher.
Making New Friends
I started down the path of finding and restoring a motorcycle because I had a singular goal, enter and win at The Quail. The competitive aspect was initially all that mattered. In time, the competitive part would become secondary.
I'm not a mechanic, but I pretend to be one around my friends.
I knew I needed professional help to get this bike restored and specifically I needed someone who knew how to build a winning bike for The Quail. The challenge for me was finding the right person who would also respect my goals and the standard of quality that I wanted to create. My feeling about a quality restoration is that it should be as close to the bike you would have seen in a dealership. The bike should reflect what you would have seen in a dealership when the bike was new. I turned back to the catalog from The Quail and reached out to Don Stockett at Vintage Motorcycle Rescue. After several phone calls we eventually got together and went over the goals for the restoration.
To build the bike I wanted would require finding almost every part in New Old Stock (NOS) condition. Don started the tear down with his mechanic Geoff and immediately got to work finding parts. The two most impressive finds are the tanks and side covers in original Honda paint and a complete set of NOS exhaust pipes still in the Honda bags and boxes. After months of restoration the bike was ready for the 2016 Quail Motorcycle Gathering. That year the weather was not helping us out and we didn't place. I took the bike, now affectionately called "Goldie" to the AMCA show in Dixon, California where it earned a 97.75 point score. In 2017 we returned to The Quail and Goldie was pictured as the feature bike and won the Japanese class. Don and I have become good friends and along the way Lara and I have made many more wonderful friends who all share our passion for motorcycles.
The Collection Grows
The more we worked on the restoration and showing of Goldie the more I became interested in all types of motorcycles which led Lara and I to start collecting rare motorcycles to restore, show and ride. This online museum is our first effort to share these bikes with a larger audience. I get great satisfaction from doing deep research on every bike. In fact this is true about everything I do, it's my own little obsessive compulsive disorder. My hope is to add to the knowledge about these bikes and provide information and photos that are valuable to other restorers. I Consider this site a living document that will get updated and revised whenever new, verifiable information becomes available. Our motorcycles require continuous care and are really never done, but always in progress. This site is no different, it's never done.