Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Honda Pan-European 1st generation (German design)

Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby David W » 26 Aug 2013, 00:14

Subtitle: Translating between Two Terminologies of Time

This is a technical thread but is not about repair or servicing. It is about the labeling, describing and/or identifying of any Pan/ST1100. (This is not about your bike, nor about my bike - unless one of us wants to report here on how his ST1100/A/P is labeled, so that it can be discussed here as an example.)

Specifically, this is where we post some words about the words we use to describe the Vintage, or age, of an ST1100. We can talk here about how we talk about an ST's Vintage. Thus, this is where we Vocalize or Verbalize about what we can call our Vocabulary of Vintage (or VV, for short).

There are Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage (VV). The Version of VV that one uses reVolves around where one is located on this reVolving globe.

Here in North America, our VV consists mainly of the term model year. The Vintage of an ST is described by a calendar year called its model year. That model year was assigned by Honda and appears in large print on the STeering STem. For example, my older ST1100 is labeled "1991 Model" to indicate its model year is '91. As a second example, in order to better understand STs such as my '91 ST, I am trying to locate an owner or PO of a 1990 Canadian ST1100, one with model year '90. (Because in North America, we refer to a year to indicate an ST's vintage, an alternate name for our VV here is the Terminology of Time.)

Crossing the equator, things seem to be a bit inverted Down Under. In New Zealand, I am told it is the government that assigned a calendar year to an ST, its year of first registration. So a Honda assigned model year printed on an ST would only cause confusion in NZ. Aussies use inSTead what our Haynes ST manual calls a model code. The possible model codes for the ST1100 Family consist of eleven of the letters from L through Y, plus the digits 1, 2, 3. (For example, we are lucky to have here an owner or PO of the earlieST Aussie model, an ST1100L; its model code is L; its owner, member AB.)

In Europe, Pan Vintage is mainly described as it is down under, using a model code, but there is an added twiST. Europeans are used to having to translate everything into another language, so it is not unusual to hear them translate a model code into a model year. In effect, they might assign a model year to a Pan even though Honda never assigned a model year to that Pan. For example, they know that code L translates into model year 1990. So for example, the first STs built were officially called Pan European ST1100L, but a Pan rider might describe one such as a 1990 Pan ST1100L, or even simply as a '90 ST1100. (Sample owner here: member Wm. G.)

How do Europeans know how to translate a model code of L into a model year of 1990? There is a translation table in most threads that deal with the Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN). I will put such a table in my next post unless someone else posts one before I do. Or, the European might have had a look at that 1990 Canadian ST1100 model that I am trying to locate an owner of. That ST is labeled with not only a model year of 1990 but also with a model code of L, found on the paint sticker and also in the VIN. It shows that a code of L goes with a year of 1990. (Thus, Canadian and also American STs can serve as "rosetta stones" which verify our translations of codes into years, and vice versa.)

Are we done with general statements about our VV, as it is applied throughout our ST1100 World? We touched on the main two terms of our VV, and on how they are used on all three continents that imported ST1100s. But we've yet to talk about the following, less used, vintage related terminology:

Production year: Mr. Haynes' version of model year, used when he was describing USA models. But the term model year seems to be Honda speak and is preferred, IMO.

Month of Manufacture (or MoM for short): found mainly on North American STs, in small print.

Build year: the calendar year when the ST was built. (If MoM is available, she will tell us the build year directly. If she is not available, it seems that the build year can be estimated as one year less than the model year.*

Year code, or Model Year code: these are my preferred, alternate versions for the term model code; the latter one could be abbreviated as "MY code".
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* except sometimes for these two earliest models: 1990 ST1100L and 1992 ST1100AN. [And we will discover below that in Australia, the build year equals the model year.]
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby Pieter Huizinga » 26 Aug 2013, 17:55

I don't know anything about Honda model codes but I happen to know that BMW (and Mercedes too, for that matter) assign a model code when a new (version of a) model is released to market. That model code can remain the same for all vehicles produced over several years. Until a newer version of that model is released to market.

Here is an example of what I mean, for the BMW 3-series cars, of which I have owned several.
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby David W » 28 Aug 2013, 02:55

Dave W II wrote:... Aussies use inSTead what our Haynes ST manual calls a model code. The possible model codes for the ST1100 Family consist of eleven of the letters from L through Y, plus the digits 1, 2, 3....
In Europe, Pan Vintage is mainly described as it is down under, using a model code, ....
... There is a translation table in most threads that deal with the Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN). I will put such a table in my next post unless someone else posts one before I do.

Here is that table for translating our fourteen ST1100 year codes into Honda model years, and vice versa:

Y
e
a
r

C
o
d
e ,, Honda model year
L = 1990 The STart of the Earlier Era
M = 1991
N = 1992
P = 1993
R = 1994
S = 1995 Transition Year for ending the Earlier Era.

T = 1996 Transition Year for STarting the Later Era
V = 1997
W = 1998
X = 1999
Y = 2000
1 = 2001
2 = 2002
3 = 2003 The End of the Later Era

For example, a year code of L translates into a Honda model year of 1990.
And a Honda model year of 2003 translates back into a year code of 3.

Edit: For definitions of "year code" and "Honda model year", please see page 4 below in this thread; see the post there dated 29 Apr 2014. (This post has been edited to be compatible with that later post.)
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby alans1100 » 28 Aug 2013, 08:27

I think you'll find that what Dave is trying say for different regions does apply globally to all vehicles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_Id ... ion_Number

Pieter hinted at BMW model codes which is an automotive standard but used at a company level for the manufacturing process and in some cases on the sales side as well.

JH2SC26U4XM****** This is mine stamped on to the frame and on the VIN plate as well.

The JH tells me it's made in Japan by Honda, 2 is the the type of vehicle, SC26U describes the vehicle with U for Australia, 4 is a check digit (?), X is year code (1999), M is plant code,****** (hidden)
sequence number

I don't have month/year stamped on the bike anywhere. We have different rules in different states, in South Australia we only have year of manufacture for registration regardless of the year it was first registered. Some states show only year of first registration, some states show both. In an extreme case in Western Australia we can have a ST1100PT (1996 Police) first registered in 1998, sold by auction in 2000 to a private owner who believes their bike to be a 1998 1100P (regardless of model code under seat) because of its first year of registration.
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby Pieter Huizinga » 28 Aug 2013, 18:14

alans1100 wrote:Pieter hinted at BMW model codes which is an automotive standard but used at a company level for the manufacturing process and in some cases on the sales side as well.

Well Alan it only got noticed by me when the car needed service. In the workshop they only talked about the E numbers. Not strange if you consider that e.g. the 320 has a lifespan of tens of years but there are several model generations of it.
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby David W » 31 Aug 2013, 02:57

Pieter Huizinga wrote:... I happen to know that BMW (and Mercedes too, for that matter) assign a model code when a new (version of a) model is released to market. That model code can remain the same for all vehicles produced over several years. Until a newer version of that model is released to market.
Here is an example of what I mean, for the BMW 3-series cars, of which I have owned several.

Pieter, in your link, those codes like E23 seem to be called "chassis codes", not model codes.
Here in the USA, we seem to have a different BMW system which uses "model numbers". I will attempt an example although I know little about Bimmers:
This is about the four-door "sedan" called the 325i here:,,It does not appear for model year 1986.
For model years 1987 (or year code H) through 1991 (year code M), it had a model number of AD23.
From 1992 (year code N) through 1995 (year code S) at least, its model number appears to have been CB43.
I do not see BMW using the term "model code" often, so we can continue using it to describe ST1100 Vintage here.
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alans1100 wrote:I think you'll find that what Dave is trying say for different regions does apply globally to all vehicles.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_Id ... ion_Number

Dave W II wrote: How do Europeans know how to translate a model code of L into a model year of 1990? There is a translation table in most threads that deal with the Vehicle Identification Number (or VIN). I will put such a table in my next post ....

The "model codes" we are using here for Vintage apply to other vehicles and also apply to model years other than the 14 ST1100 model years we are talking about here. I put the table for translating our 14 ST model codes in my post above. Alan's link is about VINs and has some useful information which I will now copy over here:
The 10th to 17th positions are used as the Vehicle Identifier Section or VIS....
One consistent element of the VIS is the 10th digit, which is required worldwide to encode the model year of the vehicle. Besides the three letters that are not allowed in the VIN itself (I, O and Q), the letters U and Z and the digit 0 are not used for the model year code. Note that the year code is the model year for the vehicle.
... Subsequent years increment through the allowed letters, so that "Y" represents the year 2000. {Then] 2001 to 2009 are encoded as the digits 1 to 9 ...
. [There follows a table of codes and years; part of that table is shown here:]

Code = Year ; Code = Year
L = 1990 ; Y = 2000
M = 1991 ; 1 = 2001
N = 1992 ; 2 = 2002
P = 1993 ; 3 = 2003
R = 1994
S = 1995
T = 1996
V = 1997
W = 1998
X = 1999

[Source: wikipedia.org ]
Thus, articles about VINs have some useful info about vintage, but VINs are not universal with ST1100s. What is universal are our 14 model codes (even though there is no great agreement as to what those codes are called.)
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby David W » 10 Sep 2013, 01:27

It is time to look at specific examples like the one Alan gave us above. But first, let's take a bird's-eye view of the ST1100 World and our Vocabulary of Vintage.

What is universal is the paint STicker under the seat and the code (letter or digit) at the end of the first line of that STicker. That code might be called a model year code, a model code (Haynes), or a year code. Whatever it is called, it can always be translated into what is called a model year for the ST1100. (Maybe Alan can tell us if his code, X, is on his paint sticker.)

Circling down, all ST1100s except pre-1996 Pans have a VIN that also contains the model code. (Pre-1996 Spanish Pans are labeled with something that looks like a VIN but only contains a zero where the model code would go. Other pre-1996 Pans have frame numbers instead of VINs.)

Circling down some more, only North American and early Aussie ST1100s are labeled with a Month of Manufacture; Alan's 1999 model does not have that, but my 1991 model, mentioned above, does. [Alan later finds a month of manufacture on his ST; it thus appears that all Aussie STs have that labeling.]

We are still looking for an example of a 1990 Canadian ST1100 because it is time to look at specific examples, and Canadian STs are loaded with labels that indicate vintage.
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby alans1100 » 10 Sep 2013, 02:52

Dave W II wrote: (Maybe Alan can tell us if his code, X, is on his paint sticker.)



Sure does:- ST1100AX which is what I would call the model code.

Dave W II wrote:Circling down, all ST1100s except pre-1996 Pans have a VIN that also contains the model code. Other pre-1996 Pans have frame numbers instead of VINs.)



Beg to differ here.

All vehicles made from or on the 1st January 1989 in Australia have VINs as mandated in our Australian Design Rules (ADR)
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I now beg to differ with Haynes, and to show I agree w/ Alan

Postby David W » 14 Sep 2013, 20:22

Dave W II wrote:... Maybe Alan can tell us if his [year] code, X, is on his paint sticker....
alans1100 wrote:Sure does:- ST1100AX which is what I would call the model code.

Mr. Haynes calls just the X character a "model code". (I prefer calling that X a "year code".) Alan seems to call the longer phrase "ST1100AX" a model code. I can live with that, but I think the Honda terminology for the phrase "ST1100AX" would be: the "official model designation" (for this ABS model).

I would call the X part a "model year code" or a "year code". (And I would call the "A" in ST1100AX a "model type code" or "type code". A separate thread is planned to discuss the terminology of ST1100 types, which are coded as A for ABS, P for Police, etc.)

It is fine with me if we start avoiding the shorter term "model code" used in the Haynes manual for a model year code like X. We have deferred to Haynes up to now in this thread; but Mr. Haynes, I now beg to differ. From now on, a code like X should be called something other than "model code" unless the context is clearly that of Vintage; we should probably substitute (for "model code") one of the following: "year code" or "Model Year code" (or "MY code" for short), or "Vintage code".
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alans1100 wrote:All vehicles made from or on the 1st January 1989 in Australia have VINs as mandated in our Australian Design Rules (ADR)

Close inspection of my above statement about VINs agrees with Alan's quoted statement that all Aussie ST1100s have VINs. (I am not calling any Aussie ST a "Pan". To me, "Pan" implies European ST.)

Dave W II wrote:What is universal is ....
Circling down, all ST1100s except pre-1996 Pans have a VIN that also contains the model code. (Pre-1996 Spanish Pans are labeled with something that looks like a VIN but only contains a zero where the model code would go. Other [European,] pre-1996 PANs have frame numbers instead of VINs.)

The rest of this post is some sample usage of our Vocabulary of Vintage, which was slightly modified in this post:
All Aussie ST1100s have both a paint sticker and a VIN, and both of those contain the model year code. That year code can be translated into a model year. (For example, Alan's year code X translates into model year 1999.)
The Month of Manufacture is only on earlier Aussie ST1100s such as the 1990 ST1100L. So the build year (which is generally not the model year) can only be estimated for later, Aussie ST1100s like Alan's (just as it can only be estimated for all European, Pan ST1100s). (Thus, we should avoid using "production year" in place of model year because "production year" sounds too much like "build year".)
[Alan later finds the month, and hence the year, of manufacture on his ST; his build year is 1999.]
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Re: Various Versions of our Vocabulary of Vintage

Postby Forest 1100 » 15 Sep 2013, 01:47

Does all this really make any difference on those moonlit nights? :?
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