With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Protect your 1983 Honda VF750F V45 Interceptor from the unexpected.
When the American Motorcyclist Association changed the Superbike rules in 1983, to limit 4-cylinder bikes to 750 cc, Honda was ready. The company had already signaled a sea change the year before, moving away from air-cooled SOHC engines to liquid-cooled DOHC V-4s with the 750 cc Magna and Sabre. Those bikes were cruisers with shaft drive, but Honda saw a way to put the engine in a race-ready frame.
The result was the 748 cc VF750F V-4 Interceptor, which was launched in 1983. The Sabre engine was tilted back to shorten the wheelbase, and the six-speed was reduced to five-speed to make room for chain drive. The 77 bhp V-4 engine’s redline was 10,000 rpm, and the street bike’s top speed was 132 mph. The anti-dive front forks were 39 mm, with a rear mono-shock. Triple disc brakes provided stopping power. The perimeter steel frame unbolted in sections so the motor could be removed. The bike also had a racing “slipper clutch”, which disconnected under hard braking to prevent rear wheel hop.
The Interceptor’s partial fairing was reasonably effective. Air was forced over the driver’s head by the cowl, and an intake in the front forced air into the engine while the chin spoiler held the 16-inch front wheel on the ground at speed. Colors were red, white and dark blue, and the locations of the different colors varied over the four-year production run of the VF series. Options included a single-seat cowl, luggage rack and crash bars.
For 1984, the VF750F Interceptor was accompanied by a 700 cc model to defeat the 45 percent import tariff, and there was also a 998 cc VF1000F model, with 113 bhp for those wanting even more oomph. A smaller VF500F was also introduced.
The VF1000F disappeared in 1985, to be replaced by the fully-faired 998 cc VF1000R, which used race-derived, gear-driven camshafts. It was really the descendant of the hefty CBR1100R endurance racer, which had never been sold in the U.S. The liquid-cooled V-4 monster combined a 10,500 rpm redline with 124 bhp and 152 mph – albeit with a beefy 562 lbs of weight.
The 1985-86 VF1000R did, however, lead the way to to the alloy-framed gear-driven cam VFR750F2, which weighed 130 lbs less and would evolve into the pre-eminent sports tourer through the 1990s. The final year for the VF Interceptors saw a VF500F, VF700F and VF750F offered. All would be replaced by the four-valve VFR750F2 model in 1987.
The VF interceptors were plagued with camshaft problems that surfaced in the first year and took several years to solve. Honda changed oil lines and drilled holes in the camshaft lobes, but the problem was never really solved until it was discovered that the camshaft bearing tolerances were too large. Honda replaced the faulty valve trains, but a number of bikes had already failed.
Because of those engine problems, surviving VF interceptors are fairly rare. Provided the seller can prove the valve train was upgraded, they should give good service. Handling is quick, but the small 16-inch front wheel is inclined to tuck under on tight corners, and care should be taken on twisty roads.