This is a Honda Pilot FL400R one-person ATV buggy from 1990, it’s powered by a 397cc two-stroke engine and its list of features and performance specifications made it one of the best solo buggies in the world at the time of its release.
The Honda Pilot FL400R is not to be confused with the Honda Pilot mid-size crossover SUV that entered production in 2002. The FL400R was only produced in 1989 and 1990 and today they remain hugely collectible as early examples of their genre.
The Origins Of The Honda Pilot FL400R
The FL400R was a successor to the earlier Honda Odyssey, a very simple machine with a rear roll hoop, a 250cc two-stroke engine, no rear suspension, and just one gear (with no reverse). It’s clear that Honda felt the solo buggy ATV/UTV genre had a bright future as they must have invested heavily in the development of the FL400R – it was to be a generational leap over its forebear.
The Honda Pilot FL400R was given an all new tubular steel frame that included a full roll cage and side-impact protection, it was powered by a rear-mounted 397cc two-stroke, single-cylinder engine, with an electric starter, it had an automatic CVT transmission with a reverse gear, and it had independent front and rear suspension by way of double wishbones.
Bodywork was kept to a minimum, it was essentially a plastic tub manufactured in a number of pieces that bolted to the chassis around the driver, providing some side and front protection from mud and debris, and wide fenders over the front and rear wheels. There was also a rather small roof panel over the driver’s head.
The driver sat in a padded bucket seat with a four-point harness, and steering was accomplished with a yoke rather than a steering wheel – the yoke had velcro straps for the driver’s wrists to keep them tethered in the event of a roll-over accident. The yoke also had controls for the throttle and brakes rather than more traditional pedals.
Suspension travel was impressive for the era, with 5.9 inches up front and 7.1 inches in the rear, it has gas-charged rear shock absorbers with remote reservoirs, and unusually the brakes consisted of a pair of drums up front and a single disc in the back.
There can be little doubt that the Pilot was the best vehicle in its class at the time of its release in 1989, if anything it was ahead of its time and Honda would end its production run after only two years in 1990. It would have a significant impact on ATV/UTV design in the years to follow.
The 1990 Honda Pilot FL400R Shown Here
The Honda Pilot FL400R you see here is a 1990 model, the second and last year of production, it’s finished in the original red with patinated Honda graphics down either side and on the front. It rides on white-finished 10″ steel wheels fitted with knobby H-Trak tires.
The blue vinyl seat cover was replaced in preparation for the sale by the dealer, the air filter and carburetor were also cleaned, and it’s now being offered for sale with no reserve out of Corona, California for off-road use only with a clean California off-highway title.
If you’d like to read more about this Pilot or place a bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
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