I’ve been kicking around ideas for a fuel tank on the Aermacchi-Ducati Special. I should start out by explaining my strong aversion to dealing with beat-up old tanks. I went through a long litany of frustrations with the tank on the CL125 resto-mod, then got stung again buying an old BSA tank for Bultakenstein. Once rust takes hold inside a tank, it’s insidiously hard to conquer. Along the way, I realized that any tank on Ebay or Craigslist is: A) terribly rusty, B) dented, or C) overpriced — and more than likely, multiples of these.
True to form, the few ’73–’74 Aermacchi 350 tanks I’ve found for sale are all extremely shabby, with silly asking prices. So I’ve been searching for an affordable alternative. However, the frame on this bike is, in a word, funky. The straight upper tubes make it really wide through the midsection, so much so that the majority of other tanks are not going to fit. So I did some measuring and looking, and came up with a couple of candidates. I think a late SOHC Honda 750 tank might fit. The 750 Hondamatic tank is slightly different, and looked most promising. But again, most of them out there are not worth having, and the few that are are unreasonably expensive for something that MIGHT work.
On my Honda, since a serviceable CL125S tank proved unobtainable, I ended up ordering a new Honda CD70 tank from SE Asia for a reasonable price. That worked out well. It took a bit of massaging, but I was luckily able to make it work, and it looked good on the bike. So, I figured I’d try the same approach here. The best bet I’ve come up with is the tank from a late Honda GB250:
It’s the right size, the right shape on the bottom, and the petcock looks to be in a usable location. But…
Yowch! $236 for something that might or might not work.
Given my suspicion of older tanks, I had an ingenious thought: what about a false tank shell, rather than trying to find an actual fuel tank? Plenty of bikes have cosmetic covers that can hide a fuel reservoir of any ol’ configuration. No worrying whether it would leak or clog up or ruin fuel. Unfortunately, most of these be-shrouded bikes have perimeter frames. My CB750 idea made me think of the 1100 Gold Wing: a similar shape, but an empty shell. They’re rust-free and plentiful, thus cheap. So, I bit on the idea:
It actually fits the frame better than it has any right to, even though the overall proportions are clearly on the whale-ish side. But it kinda-sorta works. Plus, it would give me plenty of room fit a usable capacity steel or plastic fuel tank under it. I’m not sure its my ideal option, but it’s a fun experiment.