Lets Compare Litestar and Pulse
How to Identify a Litestar or Pulse


Comparisons of Manufacture

After the BD-200 prototype was hand built by Jim Bede, there were a couple more autocycles built before a steady production was started. For lack of a better term, we call these Pre-production units. And some of these were later titled and sold. So this adds to the confusion when discussing serial numbers.

Molds were made from the BD-200 for the Scranton, Iowa built Litestars. When production was moved to Owosso, Michigan, another plaster-type model was made from the BD-200, so that new molds could be made in Owosso.

All Litestar and Pulse vehicles used similar frame and body panels. The differences are the engines used, headlight treatments, winglets, vents and available options during the production run between 1982 and 1990.


The BD-200 Prototype
Early photo circa 1980.

Notice the single recessed headlight and
the shape of the winglets for the outrigger wheels.



BD200 with TOMORROW printed on the side.
This photo is from the

Circa 1983....Litestar Price List of
Midcities Litestar Dealer of Arlington, Texas

Notice the Litestar Models that were available.
Model 250......Honda 250cc Twin Cylinder...$4,495.00
Model 450A....Honda 450Acc Twin cylinder Automatic....$6,045.00
Model 750....Honda 750cc 4 Cylinder Water-Cooled 5 Speed....$7,695.00


HEADLIGHT IDENTIFICATION

Below is a Scranton built Litestar

Notice the two recessed headlights and the winglets have a similar appearence to the prototype above. The 15 Scranton built Litestars were produced in 1982 in Scranton, Iowa.

All Litestars manufactured in Scranton had:

2 recessed head lights - each in a tube
plastic front windscreen without wiper
Honda 450A Hondamatic
Small rigger tires
Smooth outrigger wheelpant housing (no bubble)
Turn signal lights (look like truck clip lights)

Above......Boyson's Scranton Litestar #001

Above......Scranton built Litestar

Owosso Motor Car Company used the dual headlight configuration on all 21 Litestars and on Pulses from #22 to about #182. They converted to a single pop-up style on all the rest of the Pulses, below.

It looks like the the Scranton Litestar headlights were recessed in tubes and the Owosso Litestar headlights were encased in a larger recessed opening and covered with a large plastic covering some of which had painted edges.

RETRACTABLE -- POP-UP HEADLIGHTS:
It is estimated that somewhere between Pulse #180 and Pulse #182, Owosso Motor Car Co. changed from recessed dual headlights to the single pop-up headlight. The single retractable pop-up headlight was actually a headlight from a 1984 - 1985 Pontiac Fiero. This headlight change occurred in the month of Feb. 1986. Buyers were never given the option as to which style they wanted.

Below is a Tom Caprioli's Litestar #?

This unit has a flip-up headlight, that was a later add-on by Dan Willis. If you look at Dave McCoy's front end, you will notice that the headlight treatment is the same for all the early Owosso Pulses.

It is assumed that Tom's #008 originally has the same headlight setup.

After examining the wheel well, Tom reports that the original headlight wells were cut out and glassed over. The shape is the same as the other Owosso Litestars.



OUTRIGGER IDENTIFICATION

Below is a Scranton built Litestar on the left and an Owosso built Pulse on the right
Owosso built Litestar & Pulses used the same outriggers

Notice the headlights. On the left they were embedded in a tube. On the right (Owosso built cars) the headlights were recessed and covered with a plastic lens.

Above.....On the left is the Scranton built Litestar with the 5" aircraft type wheel. On the right..... the Owosso built cycles all used an 8" trailer tire and hub. These are readily available at any hardware store.

All Owosso built Litestars and Pulses have a bubbled type outrigger wheel covering.


Below is a 1989 Owosso Pulse #322.
A total of 347 Owosso Pulse vehicles were built from July 1985 to 1990.
Notice the retractable headlight and the tailfin option.

Notice that because of the Honda watercooled engine,
larger rear vents had to be installed for the radiator. None of the Scranton built cars had water cooled engines, they used Hondamatic 450cc engines.


All Litestars manufactured in Scranton, Iowa had:
2 recessed head lights - each in a tube
Plastic front windscreen without wiper
Honda 450A Hondamatic
Small rigger tires
Smooth outrigger wheelpant housing (no bubble)
Turn signal lights (look like truck clip lights)

All Litestars manufactured in Owosso, Michigan had:
2 recessed head lights
Round steering wheel
Glass front windscreen with wiper
Plastic canopy
Yamaha 400cc engine
Larger outrigger tires with a bubbled housing

Pulses built in Owosso, Michigan had:
2 recessed head lights (#22 through #182?)
Butterfly steering wheel through About #125
Round steering wheel about #126 through end of production
Glass front windscreen with wiper
Yamaha 400cc through about Pulse #263....threw body muffler
Honda water-cooled engine......from about Pulse #265 through end of production...muffler below body
Plastic canopy
Larger outrigger tires with a bubbled housing
Single retractable headlight from a GM Fiero - after #183?


Remember that pop-up headlights can be added to any autocycle. Look in front wheel well for tell tale signs of original twin headlight housings that have been glassed over.

Many autocycles that originally had smaller engines have been updated with larger water-cooled engines.


Steering and Dashboard Comparisons


Below is a Scranton, Iowa built Litestar dashboard and the butterfly type steering wheel
the engine used on all of these 15 Litestars were the 450cc Hondamatics and gauges


The Owosso built Litestars used the Yamaha 400cc engines and had round steering wheels

Below is Owosso Litestar #15


Below is Owosso built Pulse showing the dashboard and the butterfly type steering wheel that was
used from about Pulse #25 to about Pulse #125 when the factory changed to the round type steering wheel.
The Yamaha 400cc engine and gauges were used until the factory
converted to the water-cooled Honda engine and gauges.

Below is the Owosso built Pulse round type steering wheel


Rear Turn Signal.....Owosso Litestar #1 through about Pulse #180

After #180, this type of rear turn signal was no longer used.


Main Frame Center Tube

The main center tube of the frames were round through approximately Pulse #290, then they were changed to a square tube.


Doug Walsh Comments (builder of the prototype BD-200)

These Scranton built vehicles can be identified by the small wheels, with the outrigger tension rod fix, and bent square tubing frame around the engine. Scranton originaly purchased 20 bikes and we used their first car as a test mule.

The vehicles described below are the only cars built by myself at Bede Design, and I can positively identify any of them if they are found.

The #1 factory prototype is the BD-200. This car shares no parts with any other car.

The #2 factory prototype (Chicago auto show car) had a TIG welded round tube chassis attached to the front and rear of the main aluminum tube. It used one of the first two hand laid fiberglas bodies made from new molds. It also had custom seats, no exposed outrigger link, motorcycle forks and wheels, 450 automatic, small outrigger wheels, and an aluminum dash. It was white in color with a three color stripe.

There was a 3rd car (chassis only) I built that used round tubing, and a GPZ 1100 donor bike. It belonged to a dealer (Dave Scwartz), and it was later fitted with the spare set of hand lay-up body parts that we got to build the show car with. I don't know if it was ever completed.

There was also a test car that used the very first Scranton built chassis. It started with a red paint job, but was later painted silver. This was the car that we used to develop the new suspension and car wheels/brakes right before I left Bede Design. It had the first prototype larger outrigger wheels, and I believe it was used after we left, for outrigger testing by Bruce Emmons. I dont know if that car was ever titled or sold. It can be identified by a nicer quality TIG welded front suspension, and volkswagen wheels and tires.


Luke brought both of his autocycles to the 2001 National Pulse Rally at Owosso, MI

Litestar #004....White............Owosso Pulse #106.....Blue

Neither vehicle was ever titled until Luke got them, and so he got the Certificate of Origin with them. For those unfamiliar with these, they are like a "birth certificate" issued by the factory and usually turned in by the dealer to the state to obtain a title.

They show the factory serial numbers and the "Model Year" for the vehicle, along with the "release date" from the factory, company name, official signatures, etc.

The Litestar is:
1LSECGBES000102, dated 11/13/83 as a 1984 model.

The Pulse is:
17JW12J1FM000106, dated 9/26/85 as a 1985 model.

The original invoice for the vehicle lists it as "PREPRODUCTION", and a Litestar purchase agreement listing four engine choices and accessories (anybody got the factory CB radio?).

Maybe they used "PREPRODUCTION" for all Scranton Litestars. That's why it's nice to get the owners comparing information. Maybe we'll get to the bottom of it someday!

The Litestar has a Honda 450 "Hondamatic" which is a two speed manually shift transmission with torque converter and was titled as a 1984. Scranton Mfg., Scranton, Iowa had built 18? Litestars in 1982.

Below.....The dash board consists of the original motorcycle instruments mounted on a fiberglass panel (black wrinkle finish) with the heater outlets on the sides. There are small stub "handlebars" above the steering to mount the original motorcycle control switches.

Owosso Pulse on left.......Scranton Litestar on right

There is an AM-FM cassette radio. The headlight low beams are wired to a toggle switch under the dash so that they can be on or off but the high beams are seperate and always on when engine runnning. It can be left parked with the engine running and lights out. There is also a toggle switch that bypasses the accessory position of the ignition switch.

The front tire is a 145SR13 and the rear is a 145SR15 (try to find it!) on Dodge wheels. The brake calipers are the "aircraft" style used on some of the other "Scranton" Litestars.

The small outriggers are used with the five inch tires.

Since you cannot put it in gear to park with the Hondamatic, it is equipped with a drag racing hold-off valve on the front brake line to "park". This feature is specifically forbidden by Maryland Motor Vehicle Laws which says that there must be an independant parking brake (a modification that the Pulse will need).

The windshield and canopy are plexiglass (lexan?), and the rear "tailcone" seems to have some slight differences from the production version. There is no windshield wiper.

The canopy slides are electronic rack slides, and there is a hand operated piece of metal with hand filed teeth which comes up and presses against the bottom of the canopy to keep it from sliding (virtually useless).

There is no lock on the vehicle other than the ignition.

The vehicle is white gelcoat, no paint. Steering is a very fast 1/2 turn lock to lock, a mere quarter turn in each direction.


Certificates of Origin and Titles

This vehicle was originally sold to Coates Litestar in Corydon, Iowa. One of the two brothers (Bob or Mike) came to my area with the vehicle and traded it to a local auto detailing shop in exchange for some detail work. I found out about it and purchased it with the trailer that they built for hauling it around to shows. When I got it, it still had the dealers ads painted on it, which is how I traced it.

The second Certificate of Origin is for the Litestar. It is dated 3 days later, appears more "official" and is made out to Litestar of Iowa, Inc. Notice that "Tomorrow Corporation" is very prominant on this one. Invoice numbers on #1 and #2 match.

Notice also the Maryland Heights address for the Corp on #1 and #2. This is the one that I turned in for the title.

Certificate of Origin #3 is for the Pulse. It looks like the same form with "Tomorrow Corporation" removed from the top.

The model year is 1985 and it's still Maryland Heights. Notice the order date and ship date.

Look at the price! I don't know what the D/D NBR is, but notice cust. order nbr. is "PREPRODUCTION".

I also had a business card from Coates (lost?) that gave their name as "Coates Litestar". Chris told me that he specifically asked Bede for one of the prototype units.

They received two, at the time he still had the other one. He still lives in Corydon, Iowa. His brother Mike is the one who moved east and traded away the one that I have.

On the Purchase agreement, notice the four engine choices and the accessory list! And the Chesterfield, MO address. Chris sent this to me and says that it was the one for his Litestar. Notice the 1-83 form date at the bottom (earlier than mine). Notice the light weight listed! The information that was checked off was:

Litestar 750
Deluxe Interior
Safety Glass Windshield
Windshield Wiper
Heater
Reverse Gear
Air Conditioner
Radio AM/FM Stereo
Heavy Duty Alternator

The total price was $8277.00, and the deposit was $827.

Certificate of Origin for #2 is the first CO for the Litestar. It appears to be a generic form and is dated 11/10/83, and lists it as a 1984 model. Notice that it is for Coates Harley Davidson, Inc. Notice that "Tommorrow Corporation" is filled in at the bottom.

More About VIN Numbers


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