Versatile, long-lasting, and capable of enduring the woes and whims of the consumer motorcycle market, Honda’s Gold Wing has survived multiple motorcycle generations and nearly 45 years of production.
It Began in the ‘70s
Honda’s prototype designs for the Gold Wing took the form of Project 372, which lasted in its prototype phase until 1974 when the designers and engineers finally settled on the frame design that they were going to use in the first Gold Wing.
The Gold Wing then saw multiple changes and variations from year to year with each prior generation being discontinued after only a few years. As of 2019, the price range for the first generation Gold Wings is between two and four times higher.
Factoring in the 376.9% cumulative rate of inflation between 1975 and 2019, the price of owning a Gold Wing has surprisingly dropped significantly, despite it being widely considered a classic in the world of motorcycles, superbikes, and scooters.
After years of work on the prototype, Honda released the first Gold Wing in 1974 with relatively simple, yet powerful, designs.
The models lined up for unit production were equipped with 999cc, liquid-cooled, SOHC, horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engines with 9.2:1 compression ratios and total horsepower ratings of 80 at 7,500 rpm.
Timeline of Changes
Honda’s Gold Wing has been changed time and time again, with minor alterations being made every year since 1974, culminating in the construction of six generations.
Honda GL 1000 Gold Wing (1974-1979)
The first model had a top speed of just over 120 miles per hour, making it fast, but not quite the fastest production motorcycle available.
Honda GL 1100 Gold Wing, GL 1100 Interstate, and GL 1100 Aspencade (1979-1983)
1979 saw the introduction of a revamped Gold Wing as well as the beginning of the Interstate and Aspencade sub-series.
Honda GL 1200 Gold Wing, GL 1200 Interstate, and GL 1200 Aspencade (1983-1987)
The 1983 models in the Gold Wing series were the first to incorporate electronic fuel injection systems, particularly in the 1985 limited edition models.
Honda HL 1500 Gold Wing, GL 1500 Aspencade, GL 1500 Interstate, and GL 1500 SE (1987-200)
The fourth generation in the series expounded upon the complete stylistic overhaul that began with the 1983 model year motorcycles.
Honda GL 1800 Gold Wing (2001-2017)
In 2001, the GL 1800 was released for production, sporting a much larger engine than previously seen in the series. The new engine displacement came in at 1,832cc.
Honda GL 1800 (2018-present)
The newer models of the Gold Wing have been entirely redesigned from their engines to their aesthetics.
More and More Gold Wings
Good news for fans of the Gold Wing is that Honda doesn’t seem to show any sign of slowing its production, although as of August 2019, strangely enough, no word of the 2020 model (or potential lack thereof) has been heard.
A Hollywood Necessity
Various models from the Gold Wing series have been featured in more than 100 films and TV shows, more than most other motorcycles ever produced.
Finding groups for Honda motorcycle lovers isn’t one of the easiest tasks, but at least there’s this Facebook page, which has more than 49,000 likes.
Honda Gold Wing – A Diversified Classic
Few motorcycles are still in production today after surviving through six generations and almost five decades. Fortunately for automobile enthusiasts everywhere, the Gold Wing is one of them.