This PC800 was up for auction on eBay in June 2013. Located on Merseyside, it had been stripped of its bodywork, exhaust and clocks – not by scallys but by the owner, who had sold them off after discovering the cost of getting the panels professionally re-sprayed. I was the only bidder.
Having listened over the phone to it running, I took a chance, buying it unseen. When it arrived I tried starting – it fired up on the first attempt, sounding like a Harley with open pipes due to the missing silencer. That was promising – it meant the battery was good so the charging system probably was too, the carbs were not gummed up and the fuel pump worked. The tyres were good but the rear slowly lost pressure.
My intention was to build a lightweight Gold Wing substitute. Lightweight being relative, as a standard PC800 weighs over 250kg. I had already acquired a Vetter Windjammer fairing as fitted to some early Gold Wings. Although the windscreen was broken, the rest was in fair condition.
Some essential missing parts of the bike would have to be replaced – the instruments, the silencer and lower part of the front exhaust downpipe and the seat. An original silencer would be useful as they incorporate the collector box. I kept an eye on eBay motorcycle spares section and to my surprise, soon found four incomplete and rough-looking bikes for sale from a dealer near Chester. Two of them had the required parts; one of these had a front fairing but poor tyres, the other had decent looking tyres but no fairing. I was very tempted to buy both, with a view to taking the parts I wanted and using the rest to make a rat bike to sell, but some remnant of good sense told me this was a step too far. I bought the faired one, a 1994 M-reg, with thoughts of using the inner part of the PC800 fairing with the outer from the Vetter, solving the problem of attaching the Vetter.
It was soon apparent that the two fairings were completely incompatible, but the exhaust, front seat and clocks would be OK, and easily worth the £200 cost of the bike plus delivery. The exhaust was a bit of a pig to remove, needing a large hammer applied to various parts to separate them, but I found it to be solid and the chrome trim polished up quite well.
A trip to the A47 Autojumble near Leicester rewarded me with a fibreglass rear mudguard for £5 that would do nicely for the PC800, and a Ford dashboard clock for £2 that might be fitted later.
A final bit of eBay shopping obtained a pair of fibreglass Craven panniers which, from research with Craven, appear to be one-offs used by Warwickshire police on a BMW K-series, presumably before going with another manufacturer. They would need some suitable brackets and a bit of tidying-up, but I liked their unusual design.
All I had to do was put the bits together – or so I thought.