Future Collectible: 1980 Honda ATC 110

Among the legions of transportation types, I am deeply interested in messing with is the old-school Honda three-wheeler. The Big Red is on top of the list, followed by the ATC 110 like this one, which is described as a recent barn find. Values have been climbing for seemingly all of the 70s and 80s Honda trail bikes, from the CT70 to the ATCs, and understandably so: they’re overbuilt like every Honda product, and nothing much out there exists with this combination of three wheels and huge tires. Then, there’s the general trend for everything from the 80 coming back into style. Find this ATC 110 here on Facebook Marketplace with an asking price of $2,000.

When Honda unveiled the three-wheeler, it was an answer to dealerships asking for a money-maker they could sell in the winter and the summer. The snowmobile business may have been brisk between October and April, but not outside of those dates. The ATC was the answer to that gap in the lineup, but the results that followed were nothing short of disastrous. Death among children and other inexperienced riders soared, as the three-wheeler was anything but a predictable handler. Roll-overs were common, whether from climbing up steep grades and having all weight shift to the rear, already anchored with huge, all-terrain tires or due to the driver being too light to shift their weight from side to side as a sort of counter-balance.

Three-wheelers like this one were dragged across the evening news, while frightened parents wondered if they should revisit little Billy’s Christmas wish list. The shame of it was the trike wasn’t to blame, as the fault was more fairly placed on the shoulders of the parents who gave kids an adult machine without proper training and the salespeople who gleefully took their money. Regardless, in the right hands, they are a hoot and a half, and this example is said to have an engine that still turns over along with the missing headlamp, recovered by the seller. Given how many still survive, Honda’s decision to end three-wheeler sales didn’t end the legacy, so hopefully, this ATC-110 returns to the road soon.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I admit I don’t know much about these, other than…. my dad had one in the early 80’s. It wasn’t for recreation, it was strictly a tool for him: he used it to get to the oil wells he maintained and worked on, as the local oilfields were strictly “shoestring” and the lease roads were rarely all-weather. Sure saved some wear-and-tear on his fifty-something-year-old self. I rode it a handful of times, and I can understand how they could be fun.

    Like 6
  2. Rbig18

    Was just talking about this exact atc the other day. As kids my brother and I saved up to buy a dirt bike and when it came time to buy my mom was so scared of motor cycles she made us buy this exact bike. Boy was she wrong on the safety factor.

    Like 6
  3. jeff

    This is AWESOME, I wish we lived 2000 miles closer!

    Like 1
  4. Frank

    They were banned eventually due to all the accidents leading to broken collarbones.

    • Melton Mooney

      Thank 60 Minutes for that.

      Like 3
  5. jnard90 Member

    A family friend owned one of these back in the early 80s. We used to take it to the beach and tear through the dunes. What a blast! No helmets, no supervision, no problem. Growing up in the 70s and 80s was awesome.

    Like 11
    • Melton Mooney

      if it wasnt for the 60s-70s, i wouldnt be on this website right now.

      Like 7
  6. Troy s

    Kids get hurt on skateboards, bicycles, playing football, baseball, even soccor, they get hurt in motocross, karate, without the proper instruction things can get ugly real fast. Even with it there’s always a risk. That can apply to crossing the street! The media sure grabbed a hold of these, however.
    I’ve rode these and dirt bikes, even had a three wheeler with a suspension. I dont know, are quads any safer? Never rode one.

    Like 4
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Kids don’t need one of these to hurt themselves nowadays – they will find other ways.

      Example: the completely insane “challenges” like self-asphyxiation.

  7. Howard A Member

    We’ve been over this before with these. Common sense SHOULD dictate, and it wasn’t deaths, so much, they didn’t go fast enough, but injuries skyrocketed. Go past any hospital on a summer day, chances are, there will be some ATV’s on a trailer in the parking lot. Originally intended to save a rancher some steps, they were never intended for the abuse they took. You learned fast to keep your feet on the pegs, and therein lies the problem. Any other kind of off road vehicle, putting your feet down for stability is paramount. These are dinosaurs now, with 4 wheelers all the rage, and for good reason, just a more capable machine. Still, for limited use, this would be great, still save some steps, just don’t let your nephews kid from the city ride it.

    Like 4
  8. Don C

    Ten years or so ago on American Restoration they restored one of the ATC 90s for a customer. Needed a new front tire. Couldn’t find one anywhere until one online that cost them 1K for an old used one.

    Like 1
  9. JMB#7

    Fun as anything on flat ground or in the sand. Not recommend for hillsides. Yes quads are magnitudes more stable & predictable. With this knowledge, buy & use responsibly and appropriately. Good to see one this nice.

    Like 2
  10. Jerry

    Sorry. It IS the trike. I own one today. Big Red 185. It will literally kill you. No suspension except the tires at 5 psi. Very unstable and just try to turn it going fast. I use mine on my farm but I respect it. Would never let anyone take off riding it as by the time you realize you are in trouble it is too late. Was going to leave mine with the farm but may keep it.

    Like 4
  11. Melton Mooney

    I used to ride a friends 250r three wheeler years ago. Though completely counterintuitive, I thought it was pretty predictable and handled well for a vehicle that 60 minutes called the most dangerous vehicle on the market.

    Like 2
  12. Wilbur black

    Make sure your health and liability policies are current.

  13. Howie Mueler

    At that price the seller is in dreamland!!

    Like 1
    • JMB#7

      Do you have one to sell for less? He can ask whatever he wants, especially if he really does not need to sell it. I have priced things high in listings, but came down dramatically when I find someone who really wants it and will treat it the way I would. Kind Regards.

      Like 1
    • Thad

      Totally agree. I have two 85 200s’s and an 85 200x with a total investment of $1800. Realistically priced trikes can be found.

      Like 3
  14. Pookie Jamie

    The price it is now is the same price as it was eons ago. I’ll pay $500

  15. Pookie Jamie

    Also…. I believe the 110 had a headlight…. where is this one?

    Like 1
  16. Joe

    Three wheelers are awesome!!! 250r, 2 Polaris 3 wheelers (believe it or not, the 250 Polaris 3 wheelers out of the hole were just as fast as a 250r, but once the 250r was in 2ND gear the r was gone and the Polaris was eating dust.)All long gone now. Bought a Honda four wheeler a few years back. Yes it is more capable. The 4 wheel drive takes you through rougher terrain like no 3 wheeler could, but to me not as fun to drive. About a year ago I found a nice original Honda Big Red that the owner said had only been used in their yard for chores since he was a kid. His parents never let Red get ridden hard. I can safely say that Red has been officially relieved of chore duties and every chance I get to ride the ol’ Honda, I ride it as hard as my almost 60 year old body can take it!!!

    Like 3

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