In the past 40 years, a friend of my has always owned at least one Honda GoldWing. He started out with a Honda GL1000 in 1977 and, as you might imagine, he’s owned quite a few since then alongside many other types of motorcycle. But there’s something about the original Honda GoldWing which keeps him coming back for more – and that says something significant about Honda’s achievement.
Aimed squarely at America, the Honda GL1000 was so successful that Honda sold more than 25,000 original GoldWings each year in the USA and ended up building the things in America. The Honda GoldWing is a lot like the Range Rover: it’s almost a marque in its own right.
After stealing the scene with the Honda CB750 in the late 1960s, Honda then had to share the spotlight with the superbikes of the early Seventies. The CB struggled to keep up with Kawasaki’s Z1 and couldn’t match the long-distance capability of BMW’s touring twins. So in 1975 Honda introduced a revolutionary motorcycle: pressurized water-cooling, a decade ahead of its time, equipped with an unobtrusive shaft drive that followed – a giant leap forward. And, by the standards of the era, simply gigantic.