Pulse Project: 1985 Pulse Autocycle

If a person is looking for something that’s highly unusual or you just want to go full-tilt oddball with your vehicle collection, it would be hard to top this 1985 Pulse Autocycle. They are actually street legal and there’s a tight-knit community of owners so the next owner should be able to find parts and help to bring it back to life. It can be found here on eBay in Portage, Michigan with a buy-it-now price of $7,500 or you can make an offer.

Yes, these are highly unusual vehicles, even for me, a guy who loves his share of unusual and oddball vehicles. They were made for around seven years, from 1984 to 1990 or so, by a company called Owosso Motor Car Company. They’re known as a GCRV – a Ground Cruising Recreational Vehicle. I can’t imagine driving one on the streets today with 98% of drivers not thinking about what’s actually in front of them, but for a nice, long, scenic two-lane highway it sure would be an interesting ride.

The seller says that this Pulse Autocycle is the 155th one built, #155, and the company reportedly made around 360 of them so they’re rare to see today. We have shown a few of them here on Barn Finds over the last few years. They say that this is one of the nicer ones that they have had, but it needs an incredible amount of work.

It will be a labor of love for the next owner otherwise they’ll be in dire straits financially before too long. A nicely-restored example can sometimes be found for $25,000-$30,000 or so, give or take, and this one needs almost everything. The seats look great but it may not be easy to troubleshoot the wiring and other aspects of this Pulse if the next owner is unfamiliar with them.

The original engine would have been a 400 CC Yamaha and some owners have upgraded with more than a few of them transplanting Honda Goldwing engines which give a power boost and also can come with a helpful reverse gear. The seller says that this is the original Yamaha 400 but it’s missing parts and obviously doesn’t run. How would you restore this one?


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  1. Howard A Member

    Cool find, I’m sure Professor John Frink would know all about these,,,if only it DID fly. This concept a little far out there, even for me.

    Like 2
  2. Beemoe

    It’s a glorified motorcycle. How hard can the wiring be?

    Like 8
  3. Rick

    It’s apparent he has more than one of these. That said, with the frame rust I can see, an inspection of the outrigger supports is definitely needed. The spray-foam insulation had a tendency to rust the supports right at the main spar running down the length of the vehicle. That said, if the frame is solid, not too bad a price to get into these eclectic vehicles.

  4. Turbo

    This thing is so impractical and odd that it is FANTASTIC. I showed it to my wife but she just looked at me sideways when I suggested we buy it. You would definitely be surrounded by folks in your local supermarket parking lot.

  5. ILoveCarz

    Replace the pathetic little Yamaha engine with a V8, paint the whole vehicle yellow, and you’ve got attention!

    • Dhgravityfreak

      Following on the lines of “let’s see how much attention can we draw with this thing”, a V8 would help get the job done. IMHO, I would think it would add a bit of strain to the frame and may mess with the handling. Swapping in a newer FI Gl1800 Goldwing motor or a FI liter bike motor would be a great upgrade with a good power to weight ratio.

      Like 1
  6. JammerX19

    I’ll take “things that would have give me zero survivability when crashed” for $1,000 please, Alex.

    Like 9
  7. BlownGT6+

    It technically has four wheels. In many jurisdictions, wouldn’t that prohibit it from being registered as a motorcycle?
    An owner could argue that the outriders are training wheels (joke, joke!).
    Anybody know for sure.

  8. Keith Ashley

    Two wheels on ground when driving, three wheels ( R or L ) when stopped. My company built the final 20 bodies of their production. Seen in Back to the Future ll movie.

    Like 2
    • BlownGT6+

      Ha, thanks Keith. I have forever thought it was the number of wheels; I meant the training wheel analogy as a joke, but it works. Have been fascinated by the Pluse for a few decades now. There was a guy in Ruidoso NM selling kits for a while, and I very nearly got serious about it, but Life intervened. Thanks again.

  9. Mike

    I’d put this right up there with mopeds….be a lot of fun, until one of your friends see ya…. PASS

  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Both Frink and Bart would love this.

    Like 1
  11. BlownGT6+

    I noted in a YouTube bit that when viewed straight on at speed there is an oscillation from side-to-side when the Pulse in traveling in a straight line, which implies that there is low amplitude lateral movement of the CG. Since the up wheel could lose speed, when it re-contacted the road surface it would have to overcome some inertia for a moment. The combination is unusual, and with a single central steered wheel, there should be a constant need to correct for yaw. Anybody have experience with the phenomenon?

    Like 1
    • Dave

      Yes, I’ve owned #167 for 28 years. The handle a little odd because the is very little rake or trail in the front steering. They also tend to flip from one side to the other depending on road conditions or which direction the driver is turning, but when properly set up, you don’t really notice it. In all, these are a blast (literally, not a pun). I’m planning to build an all-electric one in the future.

      • BlownGT6+

        Thanks, Dave. It looks like 167 has found its perfect home with you. I have only one question, and that about straight-line speed. Assuming a straight, level, smooth surface and a windless day, have you found a speed which YOU consider the safe maximum? Like an aircraft’s VNE, beyond which the design parameters are exceeded? I’ve always wondered. There are some electric modular motors being advertised. Good idea.

      • Dave

        Safe top speed really has a lot to do with the suspension set up, brakes and your engine. I’ve had mine up to 130 but 80 is more comfortable.


    3 years ago our car club held our yearly fund raiser car show, a guy from Knoxville, Tenn. area brought his Pulse, everyone that was at the show had to rush over to look it over, it was a magnet young, old and in between male and female had to see it. If my ship i mean rocket ever comes in i would enjoy having one, one of about 6 cars on my list

    Like 1
  13. Alan Robbins

    Saw one of these at an auction a couple of years back. Cool, yes! I would expect one would broil inside in the summer.

    This looks like a pile of parts – I’d be a player @ $1000

    Like 1

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