- Chassis # Z1F-23433
- Engine # Z1E-23442
- An Extremely Original Example Showing Just Over 9,000 Miles From New
- Just 2 Owners From 1974 And Sold New At Don's Cycle In Lancaster, PA
- Well Kept And In Good Running And Riding Order
- Original Tool Kit Included In Sale
Kawasaki motorcycles were initially manufactured under the Meguro name as Kawasaki Aircraft purchased Meguro Manufacturing, a failing motorcycle company. In 1962, the company changed its name to Kawasaki-Meguro before eventually being entirely assimilated and becoming Kawasaki Motor Sales. Throughout the years, Kawasaki has become one of the biggest names in motorcycles, producing models for police forces, cruising, off-roading, and road racing among others. Kawasaki motorcycles are currently manufactured by the Motorcycle & Engine division of Kawasaki Heavy Industries at plants across the world.
The 1974 Kawasaki Z1 is powered by an air-cooled, four-cylinder DOHC engine with a Mikuni carburetor pushing 903cc (81 HP) through a five-speed transmission. The Z1 was originally meant to be a 750cc four-cylinder four-stroke sports motorcycle. When Honda released their CB750 at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, the Kawasaki team went back to the drawing board and came out with the 903cc version. These bikes were tested hard for the American market, with Bryon Farnsworth leading the US testing for Kawasaki. The bikes were reportedly run at full throttle until empty at which point they were filled up with gas and sent off again for multiple laps. Kawasaki even painted them in Honda colors and stuck Honda badges on the tank so the public didn’t know what the Japanese manufacturer had in the works.
Upon release, it helped popularize the “across-the-frame” placement of the four-cylinder engine which later became the Universal Japanese Motorcycle (UJM) format. The motorcycle press at the time praised the Z1, especially its smoothness, easy starting, and linear acceleration. The Z1 was also notable for being the first large-capacity four-cylinder Japanese motorcycle to use the DOHC system, which up until then was only used on the rare MV Agusta 750 S motorcycle.
On top of those accolades, the Z1 also held the crown for the fastest production motorcycle from 1972 to 1975 with a top speed of 130-132 mph (210 km/hr). In 1972, it set the world FIM and AMA record for 24-hour endurance at the Daytona racetrack, recording 2,631 miles at an average speed of 109.64 mph. French-Canadian professional motorcycle racer Yvon Duhamel set a one-lap record of 160.28 mph at Daytona while riding a Z1 that was tuned by Japanese motorcycle tuner Hideo “Pops” Yoshimura. It was even named the “Machine of the Year” each year from 1973 to 1976 by the British “Motorcycle News” magazine.
This specific example, frame #Z1F23433, is a Z1A model. The Z1A was largely the same as the regular Z1 but had several cosmetic and mechanical changes. The engine was no longer painted black and was instead left with a bare aluminum finish. Z1A models were painted in candy-tone green with yellow stripes and candy-tone brown with orange stripes. The mechanical changes include upgraded 10mm drive chain adjuster bolts instead of the original 8mm and a more efficient drive chain lubrication system.
Frame #Z1F23433 was sold new by Don’s Cycles in March of 1974 to P. Roberts Baker III of Columbia, PA. The motorcycle was bought back from Mr. Baker in January of 2002 by Don’s Cycles with a registered odometer reading of 8,928 miles. It was held by the dealership for many years in the same condition it was bought in. The body is adorned in a candy-tone green base color with yellow stripes extending across the gas tank and the tailpiece. All of the badging remains intact, including the Kawasaki badge on the gas tank and the “900 Double Overhead Camshaft” badges on both side panels. The original 4-into-4 upswept exhaust is in place and in good condition with no rot present. The tank is solid and clean with no issues, dents, or dings. At some point in time, the front brakes were changed to a dual-caliper setup, a sensible upgrade to aid in rideability and stopping power. The correct caliper and components were utilized and it really serves to help accentuate the sporting nature of this Z1.
As it is an all-original example, there are some imperfections present, including some scratches on the tailpiece and basic oxidation of some surfaces such as the lower portions of the forks. The factory tool kit is tucked away neatly underneath the seat with what appears to be most, if not all, of its correct tools in place. For the best idea of the current condition of this motorcycle, please reference the detailed photos located above. The odometer currently reads 9,016 miles, a mere 88 miles more than it read in 2002 when the original dealership bought the bike back. In preparation for sale, the bike had a once over with the only thing needing attention being the braking system which was disassembled, cleaned, and new fluid added. The clutch was also adjusted, and a new speedo cable was added. As it stands, frame #Z1F23433 is an all-stock, highly original example with low mileage, a truly rare find in the world of motorcycles.
This is a unique chance to buy a motorcycle that was never used to its fullest ability. Frame #Z1F23433 is a mine of untapped potential that is ready to be discovered and pushed to its limits. The Kawasaki Z1 left a mark on the motorcycle industry at the time, with journalists and riders often calling it the “king of motorcycles.” Who wouldn’t want to own a machine that once held that title?