It certainly isn’t every day that you see a new-old stock 1981 Honda GL500 engine still in its crate. If you’re lucky, though, you can find one and strange things can happen—and even better, they might take you on an unexpected journey. That seems to be what happened here, when BJ of Brickhouse Builds first got his hands on this particular crate of Japanese iron wonder. He runs a custom shop and a YouTube channel, so of course he made some videos about the process.
It all started right after the New Year. On January 3, 2022, BJ proudly introduced the GL500 crate that he said he’d bought off a dealer friend. The theme of that first video was “oh, we can’t open this, it should be in a museum or something.” BJ then took a boroscope and shared some careful (albeit grainy, though that’s totally understandable) footage from inside the crate, without disturbing or prying the wood in any way.
Then, he ended up throwing the crated engine up for auction over at Iconic Motorbike Auctions. It achieved a high bid of $650, although the listing says that the reserve price was not met. Further information in the listing added the detail that this crate just sat in a shop for 20 years, untouched. Now, despite what this listing says, BJ reported in the very next video that this crated mill did, in fact, find a new home—and the new owner wanted it out of the crate. Not only that, but he wanted BJ to take it out and build him a display stand for it. What do you do if you’re already posting videos about your bike builds on YouTube? You make a special unboxing video, of course!
After carefully prying out the nails and managing to keep the wood planks intact, we get our first unobstructed view of a new-old stock 1981 GL500 Silver Wing engine. Inside the crate, it’s still in its plastic bag from the factory. Gently removing the bag, the full glory of this pristine engine is revealed. It’s so fresh and clean, you guys! As BJ observes, the bolts aren’t even rounded off! Amazingly, the intake boots feel surprisingly supple, but if you’re a crated engine that’s living in a climate-controlled shop for decades, that probably helps.
This second video ends after the uncrating...but the final video covers much more than just a simple display stand. As you’ll see when you watch, BJ takes parts of the crate and incorporates them into an incredibly unique coffee table build. There’s a cool little storage area on casters at the bottom, built from welded brackets that hold planks from the crate on display. The GL500 engine is then mounted on top, and a perfectly sized piece of glass sits up above, so the engine is proudly displayed for all to see. But wait, there’s even more!
You see, the coffee table build is definitely cool in its own right, especially since it incorporates pieces from the original crate. BJ is a bike builder, though—and he wants to see this engine run. Wouldn’t it be cool if the coffee table housed a running engine? While you probably wouldn’t fire it up every day (and if you did, we’d hope you’d have some good ventilation), just knowing it has the potential to run is pretty exciting, in and of itself.
So, the third video gives an overview/time lapse of the coffee table’s construction, as well as getting the engine up and running for real—and more importantly, for the first time ever. Spoiler alert: It runs like a champ, especially once the newly sourced carbs are synced.
You can watch the whole series on the Brickhouse Builds YouTube channel. Since this build is apparently for a friend of BJ’s, he also says there may be more in the future about it—but it’s not clear just yet.