Series 1700 Phantom... the Woodstock Generation Fairing

I began work on the Series 1700 August 12, 1969, while I was still designing the Triumph Hurricane. It was the day some my friends were leaving for Woodstock. I was more interested in finishing up the Vetter Rocket 3 and getting this new fairing made.

In the 1960s, I heard people say,

"Well, the Japanese can build nice little cameras and nice little motorcycles. but they will never be able to build a big motorcycle"

Boy, were they wrong!

Dates sold: Oct. 21, 1969 thru Sep. 1971
Bikes fit: Honda 750cc Four
Number made: Approx. 600-700
Retail price range: Retail $187 (‘69), $194 (‘71)
First seen: April 1970 Cycle World
Notes:
Fibreglass, black or white, Hand scratched in serial # under foam tape right side from front
The Vetter Series 1700 Phantom Fairing
We were stunned by the Honda four cylinder 750 when it was released in January of 1969. Not only was it the most exotic 750 ever built, the engine was so wide that none of my fairings would fit it. I loved this because it meant I could design another one. As it turned out, the Phantom IV would become the most popular of the Phantom series fairings.
First Series 1700 ad, April, 1970 Cycle World
The Series 1700 Phantom fairing was the most popular Vetter Fairing before the Windjammer. But pictures are rare. Stories are rare. Where are all the Series 1700 Phantoms fairings?

Series 1700 owners are beginning to send stories:
I just got an email from my son who’s an industrial designer living in Germany.

He sent me your website link that he got from a friend, and that got me scrounging around for this picture. The CB750 was new when this was taken, and did I ever love this fairing. The Honda was a monster compared to what I’d been riding and I commuted on it every day from west Marin out near Pt. Reyes to San Francisco. Aside from just looking beautiful your fairing kept me warm and dry...well drier during those early morning, late night and rainy commutes.

For a year I had a job in Fresno but my family stayed in Marin. I came home on the weekends and I remember those late Sunday night high speed rides from San Francisco down the valley back to Fresno. You made a great fairing.

This bike and your fairing have a warm place in our family legends. My oldest son Josh was just two when I bought the Honda, and Noah is two years younger. The three of us travelled up and down the entire California coast many times on the Honda belted together with one of my father-in-law’s belts...he was a seriously large guy, with the boys wedged between me and the back rest. It was the belt that served as the catcher when Noah would fall asleep. Not too bright I know, but it was the 70’s and the boys turned out okay either in spite of, or because of, our adventures.

Everyone remembers those great rides...especially the times that Josh would pull on my jacket and holler in my ear that Noah was falling asleep...and when I looked in the rear view mirror I could see him with his eyes closed starting to seriously lean over!

Thanks again for the nice memories.

Best regards, Steve, Vashon Island, WA


Hi Craig, It was cool to see your website.  Thanks.
 
I am reconditioning a couple of my old bikes a 1971 Honda 750 four and a 1974 BMW R90/6 Airhead.  I decided to google the Vetter Phantom.  I was surprised to see this model on your website.  

I was a senior in high school 1972, saved some money and bought a gorgeous low mileage dark green used 1971 Honda 750 four from Honda mechanic at the local Ithaca New York dealer.  My Dad helped me by inspecting and negotiating the bike and I think maybe He even threw in a few bucks.  It also came with this piece of black fiberglass, some hardware and  a windshield.   Being a kid I didn't really want to put it on the bike, since it didn't have the "rebel without a cause" look.  But living in Upstate New York (mostly cool and rainy), and being my only form of transportation at the time and since my Dad said he'd help me "put it on and take it off if I didn't like it", we put it on the bike.
 
I was a little bit of a struggle to install the fairing.  We had no instructions.  We dropped the forks and unplugged a bunch of wiring and installed the Phantom with hose clamps.  The electrical wires were a little short and didn't quite make the headlight bucket.  So out came the soldering gum and crimping tools and the wiring diagram.   I also remember grinding the key down so I could get my hand in under the tank to turn it.  Later we moved it to the handle bar.  The inside of the fairing was a little rough on the knuckles.
 
The look of the Phantom on the 750 four was really different to me it wasn't quite cafe but it wasn't stogy old man windshield stuff either. I stood back and looked at it for a long time. Was kinda like the Bat bike.  It came with a short and tall windshield and I installed the tall windshield with the metal posts.  I still wasn't sure about the look or feel.  I sat on the bike tucking my knees inside the fairing wondering if I could get out quickly in an emergency if I had too.  Would I get enough cooling to the engine?  Would I get too much heat to my legs?  Would my friends think it was too weird?  Hummm?
 
It only took me a couple days to fall in love with the function.  At 60 mph my chin strap stuck straight out in front of me from the airflow.   I could even have a smoke at 60mph (I quit since).   And I could drive in almost a pouring rain with the rain nicely exiting over my helmet.  In those days, it also had perfect storage for a six pack a beer up front.  I also found out I could draught large tractor trailers if I got close enough.  My friends all got to respect the bike and the fairing, they all had 350's and the 750 was the bike of the day.  None of them could catch the Bat bike and they all recognized that black flash that passed them.  Also was noticed by the local traffic control as a few tickets can attest.  It wasn't really radar friendly.
 
Well, I never took it off the bike since 1972.  I've made a couple windshields for it since and it's been a little scrapped in a couple drops. and that has been  over 40,000 miles ago.  It helped me stay warm and dry when I needed it and I was able to drive long distances without that wind fatigue.  It's needs a little repair and touch up and another windshield.  I thought about taking it off as I was restoring it but it is part of the bike and has to stay with the bike.   I love to put one on the BMW now.
 
I just wanted to share my story and say, Thanks
 
Jim

Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Thank you, too, Jim.


As far as I know, the only source for these old Phantom windshields is:

Leif Gustafsson

Gustafsson Plastics sales@bikescreen.com
www.bikescreen.com

A brand new Series 1700 fairing is on display at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio
Posted Dec 28, 2009

Updated Feb 26, 2012

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