At $3,400, Are You Ready for This Rough 1989 Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

In the housing market, messing with classic attributes is typically described as “remuddling.” Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Honda is a classic bike that’s been remuddled a bit. Let’s see if that means its price needs some work as well.

Italy and all things Italian always seem to be overly romanticized. The general picture is of riding a Lambretta around quaint village streets with your tesoro by your side and a bottle of chianti and a baguette on the back. Ah, amore.

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That’s a wonderful invention, but when it comes to reality, Italy’s not always exactly on-point as we say. That was laid bare yesterday as we looked at a 2015 Maserati Ghibli saloon for a mere $23,995. Lovely to look at, and likely engendering visions of sun-dappled drives along vineyards and ancient dairy farms, that car was, in fact, a good bit less than it seemed.

The Ghibli was named for a wind, and in a lot of ways, the current car does blow, most notably in the depreciation department. These cars hold value like a high school freshman holds his beer, and while yesterday’s car may have earned a narrow 53 percent Nice Price win, you can bet that the next time it’s sold it will be for substantially less.

Sometimes less is more. Take this 1989 Honda GB500 Tourist Trophy for example. These bikes came stripped down so as to offer up a factory café racer aesthetic. Named for the Isle of Man TT series, these bikes eschewed all but the most minimal of bodywork designed to emulate the great British bikes from the post-war period. Factory clip-on bars and rear-positioned pegs complete the picture.

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Also, if you’re not exactly the social type, you’ll also appreciate the lack of a companion pillion.

From the factory, the GB500 wore an equally retro paint scheme. That dark paint overlaid with gold pin-striping and model identifying decals is long gone on this one, which means it misses some of the panache the bike originally carried.

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Still here is the 499cc single that gives the bike half its alphanumeric name. That engine is a derivative of the XR500 and features an interesting Radial Four Valve Cylinder (RFVC) head which offers a hemispherical combustion chamber. That makes 33 horsepower and 26 lb-ft of torque which can move the lightweight (346 pounds) bike with reasonable authority.

Feeding the torque monster single is a 42mm round-slide Keihin carb. A trumpet exhaust with a Supertrap diffuser on the loud end does dumping duty. Behind the dry-sump mill sits a five-speed box and that sends power to the back wheel via an old fashioned chain. For stopping there’s a single hydraulic disc up front and a mechanical drum in back.

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The seller says of the bike that it “seems to have lacked the care that most GB’s garner.” That’s a bit of an understatement. Introduced at a time when bike sales in the U.S. had started to stagnate, Honda only sold a handful of GB500s over the course of its short two-year model run here. So unwanted was the bike when new that the company shipped unsold inventory off to Europe in the attempt to sell them there. Today that scarcity has been driving up values.

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With so few on the ground, finding model-specific parts—like the pinched tank or tail cap—can also be tough and as you might expect, expensive. This one has most all the major bits but is in need of a full repainting and a good bit of tank work prior to that. You’ll also want to replace the missing turn signals and probably polish the wheels up while replacing the rubber. The engine needs cleaning and probably a good bit of new seals and adjustments while you’re at it.

The bike comes with 24,000 miles on the odo and a clean Florida title. It’s said to run and stop and all the stuff that’s supposed to light up does do so.

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The GB500 listed for around $4,200 when new. Today, with so few on the market it has become a bit of a collector’s item—perhaps finally finding its niche—and as such can command a price higher than that original MSRP. This one, which needs quite a bit, asks $3,400, which is also quite a bit less.

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The question you need to answer is whether this GB500 is worth that $3,400 asking as it sits. What do you think, could this café bike command that much cash? Or, is this a one-lunger that has a price that leaves you out of breath?

You decide!

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South Florida Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.