2021 Shannons '40th Anniversary' Timed Online Auction
1974 Kawasaki Z1 900 Motorcycle
|Engine||903cc DOHC in-line four-cylinder|
This lot is no longer available
A pioneering industrialist, Shozo Kawasaki’s company was founded in Tokyo (Japan) and manufactured everything from locomotives to steel components, diversifying into aircraft in 1937 and, from the end of the Second World War, motorcycle engines. In 1960 Kawasaki merged with Japan’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, Meguro Works, and the company’s first foray into four-stroke design combined the resources of both, with Meguro’s engineers taking charge of the chassis design while Kawasaki developed the engine. Kawasaki engineers had been well underway with a prototype 750cc 4-stroke engine in the late ‘60s when Honda burst on the scene with its now-legendary CB750. Work then stopped on the project initially, but Kawasaki picked it up again in 1970 with an increased engine capacity to 903cc (so it could sit in the 1000cc class) and created the Z1 for 1972. At the time it was the most powerful Japanese four-cylinder four-stroke motorcycle ever made. Along with typical sports bike styling of the period, lots of chrome and bright metallic tank colours, the Z1 had full instrumentation and electric start (as well as kick start), while the 903cc four produced 82 bhp which pushed it to a maximum speed of 210 km/h. The basic design of the Z1 remained relatively unchanged until 1975, when the Z1-B was introduced, with changes which included increased power output, improved suspension, and a stiffer frame. The automatic chain oiler was also deleted, paint and graphics updated, and braking improved. In 1976 the Z1 was replaced by the Kawasaki Z900.