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Sitting 30 Years: 1985 Honda ATC 70

As if there weren’t already enough threats to our personal safety, our sanity, and pretty much everything else this year, we give you this 1985 Honda ATC70! I mean, what could go wrong with owning one of these things? The seller has this formerly-hidden three-wheeler listed here on eBay in Woodruff, South Carolina. The current bid price is $1,225, there is no reserve, and there is only a day left to line up your shipper, or your backroads route if you’ll ride it home…

I freely admit to having never owned a three-wheel ATV but friends of mine had them when we were growing up. They didn’t have any trouble with them as far as being thrown off or running over their feet or legs or whatever else happened when people aren’t being as careful as they could be when riding these things.

Believe it or not, in a story in 1988, Time Magazine reported that 800 people had been killed riding them over the previous five years and 7,000 people a month were injured due to three-wheel ATV accidents. That sure sounds like a lot of unfortunate, innocent accidents or a lot of careless goofballs, or maybe a combination of both. I know that things happen and if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s hard to keep away from everything that can harm us, especially when it’s something as fun as this Honda ATC70.

The seller’s friend found this one in a barn where it had been sitting for three decades. It was given to his friend’s girlfriend’s son brand new and has been sitting for 30 years. They pulled out and got to work to make it usable. It received new tires, a new aftermarket carburetor, filters, spark plug, and they treated the gas tank.

It looks like with some detailing and maybe new graphics and some paint on the engine cases, it would look like new again if that’s a person’s goal. Or, just ride it as is. It has Honda’s single-cylinder and they say that it starts on the second or third pull when the engine is cold and it runs great. Let’s hear those three-wheeler stories!


  1. TBAU Member

    Rode my first one at a company picnic when I was about 7. I queued up with the teenagers and they let me have a go when I got to the front of the line. It had no gears, just rev and go. My mother was seriously unimpressed when I excitedly told her about my adventure.

    Like 3
  2. Howard A Member

    Well, I love it! Any closer, it would be mine. To be clear, I think the “injuries” were HIGHLY overstated, oh sure, we took many a lump, but they just didn’t go fast enough to get killed, unless, of course, you ran off Monarch Pass, ( elev. 11,365ft) and we learned fast what they were or were not capable of. This has the “new and improved” leg guards in front of the back tires, the most common injury, because instinct has us putting our feet down, and they got run over by the back tire. These were designed to save steps or “mend fences”, not jump over logs or hanging the back end out, we just asked for trouble doing those things, and the crybabies whined( and sued) BUT,,,you had to start somewhere, and for many, it led to a life of ATVing, thanks to this machine.

    Like 8
  3. William

    I got thrown from one over 40 years ago. My sore backside at that time ended my sudden desire to own one myself. Our kids at the time wanted one and a guy down the road had just bought one and told me I should try it out. Years later, it was suggested I try a four wheeler as they were so much “safer”. No, by then I wasn’t taking the bait. I did eventually many years after that get a nice sedate UTV that my honey and I can both enjoy as we slowly drive around our land, at safe speeds. Plus, it is handy for hauling stuff around the land, can’t even speculate how much wood it has hauled.

    Like 3
  4. Bevo Bratton

    The ‘Triangle of Death’.

    Like 1
    • Mr.BZ

      ….for those who over-estimate their own abilities or those of the vehicle. Which pretty much goes for all vehicles.

      Like 1
  5. JMB#7

    I rode several of the 3 wheelers in my early years. No problem, I could slide it through almost anything. But then I moved to where they have real hills. Holy Cow!!! Impossible to turn up-hill when traversing a hill. That ended my desire for 3 wheels! Quads are magnitudes safer, but like anything, you can keep pushing harder until you find the limits. Still great to see one, it brings back great memories.

    Like 2
  6. chrlsful

    there’s a reason these were banned. Plez never loan it out – go ahead urself tho. U will learn.



    all in fun but my above proviso remains…
    Tires still avail. No suspension upgrade is ever gonna wrk tho

    Like 1
    • JMB#7

      The tires are the suspension. Therefore replacing the tires is the suspension upgrade. Changing the tire air pressure is suspension tuning. There are fun, but the point about “never loan it out” needs to be driven home! It was my observation that most injuries occurred when a first time rider jumps on one and thinks he can do what a previous rider did.

      Like 3
    • vintagehotrods

      Then they did their job of clearing the debris from our gene pool!

      I have ridden and raced Honda three wheelers from 1975 to 1995, from the balloon tired ATC 90’s to the water cooled ATC 250R’s. I worked at a Honda dealer, so I sold and worked on them there too. I never got hurt, and that included racing in national events in the 80’s. They are no more dangerous than a dirt bike, except that anyone could ride one with no experience or sense of balance. Unlike a dirt bike, you could get on a three wheeler and twist the throttle wide open and go flat out until you got to that first corner or big bump, then you crashed if you didn’t know what you were doing! Parents were buying them for their kids as toys or motorized baby sitters without taking the time to teach their kids how to ride them safely and monitor their use, often without helmets and safety equipment. They wouldn’t let Junior tear around in their pickup, so they bought him a three wheeler. Of course when junior crashed his brains out, it had to be somebody elses fault, so call your ambulance chaser lawyer to go for the deep pockets of Honda. That’s the American way! It didn’t hurt that us Americans were butt hurt from the Japanese bringing over superior and well engineered cars and motorcycles to buy in the 70’s and 80’s instead of our inferior US built stuff built at that time. So the government banned them, and we got four wheeler ATV’s that people are still killing themselves on.

      For your information, the ATC 70 is probably the safest ATC ever built. Slow, low to the ground, and almost impossible to tip over, they were a good for kids if they were properly supervised. They even had an three position adjustable throttle stop to limit the speed on them to a crawl to 25 mph. The were generally beat to death, so to find one still intact is rare today.

      The Dunning-Kruger effect was evident with many of the people that were hurt themselves on three wheelers back then and even with some of the people posting their comments here.

      Like 1
  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep I got mine maybe about 1982 and even for a experienced rider these were a different breed of riding – maybe why it got parked ? 4 wheelers are the norm now but can still be shaky off the road.

    Like 2
  8. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this Honda sold for $1,625.

    Like 0
  9. Glen Mallory

    I’ll second the former ATC racer comments. When I got hurt on mine it was my fault, not the trikes. So I got a bigger one and kept on racing until the ban. Frankly I know more people who got hurt on riding lawnmowers than three wheelers back in the day. If it’s got an engine you need to pay attention. It’s not a babysitter. When our family was a snowmobile dealer I can’t tell you how many times my dad would come home mad because a customer had refused to buy a helmet or two, at close to dealer cost, along with the machine.

    Like 1

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