Instant classic

The famous 1997 “Slider” commercial from Honda that
introduced the Valkyrie.

In the the early ’80s, folks were snagging the Mustangs built through the early ’70s. They were after the models made before the style change in ’74.
In 1980, a 1971 Mustang had virtually no value according to Kelly Blue book. But in the Little Rock, Ark., and Memphis, Tenn., markets they started being hard to find. I had customers traveling to California to pick them up at 3 times blue-book value. (Maybe this was a regional issue. I’m not an antique car buff, so can’t say with any authority.) I’m only familiar with it because when they came in to insure them, they wanted to be sure they were protected for a real value, not blue-book value. If I remember right, a car had to be 13 years old to qualify as an antique at that time. Most of the Mustangs didn’t
Within a few months, the insurance companies I worked with recognized these cars were something different. (Travelers and Commercial Union were two of the largest.) I was able to insure then as “Cars of Particular Interest,” for more than blue-book value.
When I bought my Valk, it was the best price I’d seen in two years. The bank insisted I was paying more than its listed value, even though I couldn’t find a Valk valued for any less outside of Kelly Bluebook. It just brought back memories. Is the Honda Valkyrie headed down the same road as the Mustang? Probably not.
The Mustang represented a paradigm shift. A muscle car for the masses. That made it standout and stick in people’s memories. They were the first in the line of V8 muscle cars that would live in the imaginations of young drivers, and on the streets for the next 3 decades. I don’t think the Valkyrie is hitting as broad a market as the Mustang did. The only other bike with the flat-6 power plant is Honda’s Goldwing. There were no follow-up models to the Valkyrie. I’m counting the Rune as a Valkyrie.
Most bikers are going for the Harley V-twin look. Valkyrie riders are growing increasingly rare, but few seem to notice. Honda made these power cruisers from 1997 to 2003. The Valkyrie Genealogy board lists production figures of 29,390 Standards, 9,420 Tourers, 9,610 Interstates, and 3,940 Runes. So we’re looking at a total of 52,360 Valkyries ever built. That is just more than half of the 100,000 Mustangs sold during the first four months it was offered. There just aren’t that many Valkyries in existence, and that alone should help them hold and even build value. But the demand for this line of bikes is too rarefied for it to become an “instant” classic. The Mustang of motorcycles will be something with a V-twin in it’s heart. Still, I look for the Valkyrie to become a true classic in the next couple of decades. There is no other production bike like it. The fact that it was produced by a major manufacturer will set it apart from other machines like the V8 powered Boss Hoss.
I hope to be still riding mine when that day comes.

- Guy Wheatley

3 Responses

  1. Jack Says:

    It takes a certain type of rider to own a Valkyrie. Most go with what they see as popular and will only own a bike for a couple of years before they move on to the next. Some Valkyrie riderss have done this only to return to a Valkyrie some months later. The Valkyrie gets in your blood. It is quiet, smooth, and strong. You may not hear it coming but you do watch it as it fades in the distance.

  2. Guy Says:

    “You may not hear it coming but you do watch it as it fades in the distance.”

    Ha! +1 on that.

  3. Tex Says:

    “You may not hear it coming but you do watch it as it fades in the distance.”

    Errmmm… not exactly. No baffles in my Cobras… so no need to turn up the hearing aid to hear me comin’ and goin’ :-D

    @ Jack: You’re right and a lot of people recognize it. I stopped in the showroom after I’d picked up a couple of parts at the local Honda/Kawasaki dealership and was admiring all the shiny things. The young sales girl (I know that ain’t PC) asked me what I ride and I pointed proudly outside where my Fat Lady sat gleaming in the afternoon sun. The young lady shook her head, chuckled and said, “There’s no way I’ll sell you anything in here, you’ll never outgrow that motorcycle.” She’s right.

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