Rare Pulse Predecessor: 1982 Litestar

This rare beast is hard to classify. Is it a motorcycle? Is it a car? Is it an airplane? Is it.. well, ok, we know that it isn’t an airplane, but how would you classify this 1982 Litestar? It’s rare and it can be found here on eBay in New Lebanon, Ohio with spirited bidding and a current bid price of a bit over $8,100 and the reserve isn’t met yet!

I like to think that I’m a pretty adventurous person, although I’ve never been parachuting, hang gliding, or even whitewater rafting. All I know is that I’ve driven all types of vehicles in traffic and I drive 40,000+ miles a year all over the U.S. In all of those miles, you can imagine what kind of carnage that I’ve seen on the roads, mostly due to bonehead, inexperienced, and/or inattentive drivers. I wouldn’t feel comfortable at all driving something like this Litestar on public roads. And, that from a guy who has ridden 49 cc scooters and mini bikes on public roads.

That being said, that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t love to have one for car shows or motorcycle shows, and I bet it might even be welcomed on the field at an air show. The Litestar was the first gauntlet thrown down for famed aerospace engineer Jim Bede. His prototype BD-200 (see what he did there?) evolved into the Iowa-made Litestar which would be made from 1982 to 1984 and they’re rare to see today. Most of us have seen the later and similar Pulse which was made in Michigan after a few Litestars were produced there. The Pulse was made from 1985 to 1990 and they had a few small changes.

The seller doesn’t show us any engine photos which is always disappointing, especially when everything else looks so nice. They say that this one has been sitting for years and it still has the original Hondamatic. It would seem like Honda’s 450A would be the perfect drivetrain for something like this Litestar, at least transmission-wise. The later Litestar which was made for a short time in Michigan had a Yamaha 400 engine and then the Pulse had a water-cooled Honda engine. It appears that this is a very nice example and if it’s mostly original, it has to be a very rare piece. Have any of you heard of the Litestar?


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  1. Superdessucke

    More like Litespot. Because that’s what you’d be after 5 minutes driving this on today’s SUV clogged roads!

    Like 5
  2. Bud

    Did I just see a traffic cone going down the road ?

    Like 9
  3. Terry R Melvin

    As far as the Hondamatic, it could either be a 400, 450 or 750 cc engine and would be two speed with no reverse. Too bad the seller has no engine pictures, as that would surely help. Also, I believe Mr. Bede designed the tiny BD-5 aircraft as well. Some were prop driven and some had a little jet engine.

    Like 5
    • Dave Mazz

      Terry; I found a website that’s selling replacement parts for the Pulse/LiteStar, and this is their comment on engines:

      “There are many motorcycle engine choices or an electric option to re-power your Pulse The Honda 1100cc or 1200cc Goldwing water-cooled engine is the most popular.

      “NOTE: The factory used the air-cooled Yamaha 400cc engine and later the Honda Goldwing engine. Today, many owners opt to re-power using the Honda Goldwing 1500cc or the Honda Silverwing automatic.”

      I imagine a 1500cc Goldwing engine would make this scoot rather peppy!! :-) :-)

      Like 1
      • Terry R Melvin

        Interesting! and thanks.

  4. Dickie F.

    I agree with all the comments made.
    Yip, would love to have it.
    Still don’t know why thou.
    Sort of imagining it will be treated like a lot of classic cars, driven once a month early on a Sunday morning….

    Like 3
  5. Jay P


    Like 2
  6. Healeymonster

    Somewhere there are a bunch of fighterjets with their beaks missing…

    Like 1
  7. canadainmarkseh Member

    As for classification these are an autocycle. This thing would have no problem keeping up with traffic especially with the gold wing engine. My concern would be how well does it corner and my guess would be not well. I ride a sidecar gold wing so I feel that that would qualify me as to what handling would be like. I’d say tricky but not overwhelming I’d think as long as you slow down when cornering you’d be ok, and you’d really want to be careful on off ramps. As for the engine when I looked at the add there were engine pic’s I’d say this thing has a 450cc Honda in it.

  8. Domitype

    I would call it a Rhomboid Car since the “wing wheels” don’t seem to retract at speed like some other similar vehicles I have seen do. I have seen maybe one or two of these on the road over the years.

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