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Road-Going Ducati Special: 1978 Ducati 900 NCR for Sale

1978 Ducati 900 NCR R Side

NCR has been building Ducati specials and tuning parts since their inception in 1967, although today their complete bikes are more high-end exotic lifestyle accessories for one-upping your Bimota Tesi-mounted buddies: their M16 is actually a massively-lightened Desmosedici that weighs in at 319lbs before you gas it up and is worth about as much as a nice suburban house. Because that’s just what the Desmo needed: a better power-to-weight ratio. Or, if your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the M16, their air-cooled M4 weighs 286lbs with oil but without gas…

1978 Ducati 900 NCR L Side Front

But NCR also built the Isle of Man Ducati raced by Mike Hailwood, so their vintage credentials are bona fide: they’re far more than another titanium moto-jewelry manufacturer.

This massively-faired bike from 1978 includes an aftermarket but very cool “gear-gazer” clear cam cover that displays the gear-drive for the overhead camshaft on the rear cylinder in all its glory. And NCR’s signature one-piece tank-and-tail bodywork also features a distinctive unpainted strip on the side of the tank so the fuel level is clearly visible through the translucent fiberglass.

1978 Ducati 900 NCR R Side Tank

That enormous fairing looks like it will provide plenty of protection for high-speed runs, and the bike appears to be in excellent condition. The seller’s description of this road-biased bike is very spare, but luckily very clear photos are included. From the original eBay listing: 1978 Ducati 900 NCR for Sale

Incredible opportunity to own a real NCR. Stumbled on this bike, along with a 1974 Ducati 750 SS, while at a Mostra Scambio, in Rimini, Italy December 2001. Extensive top end work by one of the best bevel drive mechanics in North America

1978 Ducati 900 NCR L Side Engine

This would really be an excellent moment for the seller to do a bit of name-dropping: vintage performance circles are relatively small, and I’m sure buyers would love to know who had their hands on this one. And what does “extensive top end work” entail? Are we talking maintenance or performance work?

1978 Ducati 900 NCR Cockpit

While in many cases, a spare description of a motorcycle simply implies that the seller assumes prospective buyers will know what they’re getting into, that isn’t necessarily true of NCR bikes: to my knowledge, none of them are really “stock.” NCR was always a race bike and parts manufacturer, the very antithesis of standardization, making valuation of this machine difficult. Although assuming the parts are the real-deal, anything genuine NCR is valuable, on top of the already desirable bevel-drive, desmo-head Ducati drivetrain.

Bidding north of $15,000 with plenty of time left on the auction, so we’ll see where this ends up.

-tad

1978 Ducati 900 NCR Shop

3

Brains and Brawn: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale

1978 Rickman Kawasaki L Side Front

Vintage bikes often appeal to riders of “a certain age” who grew up with these bikes and have a nostalgic soft-spot for them: vintage bikers naturally relate to vintage bikes. Some are just riders who love to tinker, while others just love the quirky looks and accessible performance of the machines from a simpler times and want the feel of a vintage motorcycle without all the “leaking oil on the floor” and “having to adjust the carburetors while idling at a stoplight” malarkey that sometimes goes along with vintage Triumphs and Nortons, making something like this Kawasaki-powered Rickman the perfect solution.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki R Side Fairing

Don and Derek Rickman created a line of dirt-racing motorcycles in the 1950’s and 1960’s, packaging bespoke frames and suspension packages around engines and transmissions from other manufacturers. Their line eventually expanded to include roadcourse and street machines, and they’re most famous these days for their line of big-displacement four cylinder bikes built around engines from Honda and Kawasaki.

In the 60’s and 70’s, suspension tuning was something of a “black art”, and while Japanese motorcycles were famous for their refined engineering, their handling was generally not on par with the European brands. So companies like Rickman used took that existing engineering and improved it by creating a chassis that could handle the power effectively.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Front

Bikes were generally sold in kit form: Rickman supplied a new, lightweight nickel-plated frame and aerodynamic bodywork, the buyer supplied engine, electricals, and other assorted bits to put the whole thing together. The results speak for themselves and combine the best of old-world British craftsmanship and racing expertise with powerful, reliable engines from Japan.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Rickman Kawasaki for Sale

You maybe  looking at one of the rarest bikes on the planet.  This bike is titled as a Rickman and not as a Kawasaki. The  bike is titled as a 1978. The  I.D. plate fixed to the steering neck indicates September, 1977 chassis and is the correct id plate for this bike.  

Almost all of the  Rickman CR900’s, of which few were built, were finished in green This bike has the orgiinal gel coat in red. The bike is original in color and I know of no other with this color. This is an original machine in pristine condition and rides like a rocket ship with the responsive and light frames built by Rickman powered by the Kawaski 900 cc motor. This bike performs as good as any modern bike today. 

The  900 cc motor number is Z1E 238xx.

This Rickman chassis was purchased in England by the original owner while vacationing there. 

The milage on this bike is less than 9,000. Most of these miles were accumulated prior to the motor being installed into the Rickman.  Thus this Rickman frame has seen very limited use.  The original rear sprocket shows virtually no wear. The saddle looks near new. The instruments are from the original Kawasaki and show the mileage covered by both the kaw and the Rickman chassis. If you are looking for an original colectable motorcycle that is sure to increase in value look no further. Rickman motorcycles, are extremely rare and  have proven in the past to be highly desirable and with their limited production should continue to increase in value. I have the clear title in hand and can assist with shipping.

1978 Rickman Kawasaki Controls

Although I’d take issue with the seller’s statements that this is “one of the rarest bikes on the planet” and “this bike performs as good as any modern bike today” it is an unusual machine in superlative condition and will definitely handle better than the Z1 from which it borrows its powerplant. I’m not really sure exactly how many Rickman Kawasakis were actually produced: in many cases, these were sold as kits, not complete bikes, and a whole menu of upgrades were available, making history a bit hard to verify. These are very cool and desirable bikes, but I think the seller may be aiming a bit high with this one: there is plenty of time left on the listing with a Buy it Now price of $25,000.

-tad

1978 Rickman Kawasaki R Side

1

Sleek in Silver: 1979 Bimota SB3 in the UK

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side

Early Bimotas really straddle the “classic” and “modern” sporbike eras and helped set the stage for the mass-produced machines that followed. Prior to bikes like the SB3, monoshock suspensions and fully-faired bodywork were really only seen on factory racebikes, and it’s hard to comprehend just how exotic the SB3 was at the time. Although the price was steep, it was virtually the only game in town, until the advent of the GSX-R750.

1979 Bimota SB3 Front

I’m a big fan of red frames on bikes, assuming the frame is actually worth emphasizing and on these early Bimotas, the frame is basically the whole show. Not that the aerodynamic, quick-release bodywork isn’t worth a look, but it’s just the icing on the cake. The integrated signals are another nice touch, something that didn’t really find its way into widespread use until the past couple decades.

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side Rear Naked

But that frame was the only game in town if you wanted top-shelf race technology for the road. Wrapped so tightly around the virtually stock Suzuki GS1000 engine and transmission that powered the bike, it was designed to separate into halves to allow the powertrain to be removed for servicing. And the very trick concentric swingarm pivot and countershaft sprocket kept geometry and chain tension constant throughout the swingarm’s entire range of movement.

1979 Bimota SB3 Engine

At 483 pounds wet, the bike’s main advantage in terms of straight-line performance came from a massively reduced weight compared to the original Suzuki. While suspension was compromised for the road by being far too stiff, according to contemporary tests, it’s easy to argue that wasn’t really the point, and anyone able to afford a Bimota could certainly pay to have the forks and shock retuned to allow for road use.

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Bimota SB3 for Sale

 The SB3 has always been a very rare bike: just 402 were built worldwide.

This one is Number 9 (frame number 0009) and was the first SB3 in the UK.

Its history & provenance is fully documented – it’s a very special bike, with just 4 owners from new; two of those from the same family (Bought new, sold to son-in-law, then sold on to its third owner, then repurchased by the original owner before being bought by my father in law).

It comes with the original bill of sale (see photos) and a letter to the DVLA – when it was returned to its original number plate after having had a private plate – which describes its history very clearly. A photo of this letter also attached.

It has covered just 6,332 miles from new, with a documented change of speedo under warranty at the first service, hence only 5,045 miles showing on the clock today.

This very bike was the one displayed at the Earls Court bike show in 1979, and then road-tested by Motorcycle News.

(We have a copy of the issue of MCN in which it was reviewed – see pictures)

This SB3 was already in lovely original condition when my father-in-law bought it in 5 years ago, but he still carefully stripped it down and treated it to a full cosmetic restoration – having the frame and fairing professionally resprayed, and the Marchesini wheels re-painted in the original gold.

It has always been garaged, and is in outstanding original condition as you can see from the photos. There are a few marks on it here and there, so am not going to describe it as being in concours condition, but it’s pretty close!

I could go on an on about this bike, but no doubt if you’re looking at this advert, you’ll already be aware of what it is, and the fact that its likely to be many years before another SB3 comes up for sale.

A truly unique opportunity to own a rare piece of superbike history.

Viewing can be arranged in Colchester, Essex.

Collection only. Payment by BACS or cash on collection.

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side Naked

Well, that last bit could present a problem. I assume that, by “collection only” he means he won’t arrange shipping, but you could just see it as an opportunity to head to Colchester on vacation! One of my favorite color schemes is silver and red, so it’s no surprise that I really like this bike. Although at £19,995.00 [approximately $30,787.00] it is far out of reach for me for the time being.

-tad

1979 Bimota SB3 R Side

 

 

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The Turbo Kid: 1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo for Sale

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo R Side Front

Getting away from the race bike theme today, we’re headed back to the wild and wooly 1980’s with a nice Suzuki XN85 Turbo. Built for just one year in very limited quantities, with only about 1200 produced, the XN85 was an odd, developmental dead-end for Suzuki, and a very strange bike to produce with the iconic GSX-R750 likely already on the drawing board…

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Side Rear

But it gave Suzuki a player in the very weird Turbo Wars of the 1980’s, where every manufacturer needed a boosted model to remain relevant, and the word “turbo” became a byword for “cool,” even when you weren’t talking about cars or motorcycles. At least I’m assuming that the character named “Turbo” in the movie Breakin’ didn’t actually have a Mitsubishi TD04HL-19T in place of a heart…

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Side Engine

In any event, unlike what Kawasaki’s did with their Z1R-TC, Suzuki didn’t simply slap an aftermarket kit on a very dated platform, and the XN85 was very much state of the art, with clip-on bars, rearset pegs, 16″ front wheel, and a monoshock “Full Floater” rear suspension. The engine was a 673cc four cylinder that gave the bike the 85hp for which it was named…

And check out those 80’s-riffic LCD boost, fuel, and oil temp gauges!

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1983 Suzuki XN85 for Sale

This is a one owner bike that was found in a barn.

Please Google Suzuki NX85 to read all about the bike.

We had gone completely through the bike and everything works like it should. It starts up with a push of the button and purrs like new.

Brand new tires with zero miles.

Inside of the tank is brand new.

The miles are correct and was never raced on a track which is what it was intended for. If you are competing in the vintage road course races this is a must have and you will not see another one.

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo R Side Rear Suspension

Although it is a little bit disconcerting that the seller calls it an “NX85″ in the listing and talks about some non-existent racing heritage, this does look like a very nice example of a pretty rare motorcycle. In spite of their eminent usability and practicality, the prices for many early 1980’s Japanese sportbikes remain relatively low, and, assuming you’re okay with the so sharp you might cut yourself styling, these are very cool. Although “relatively low” ain’t what it used to be, with this example apparently bidding up to $8,500 at a recent Mecum auction.

Pick this up and you will likely generate lots of attention, although it will probably be from 50-year-old dudes coming up to you at bike nights, telling you, “I used to have one of those…”

-tad

1983 Suzuki XN85 Turbo L Side

2

Baby Sport: 1971 Ducati 450 MK3 Desmo for Sale

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo R Side

For fans of Ducati’s sports singles, this Mark 3 450 Desmo is the top of the heap, and shares that gorgeous orange-yellow paint with the bigger 750 Sport. But, unlike that model, the 450 Desmo features Ducati’s desmodromic system.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo L Tank

While “Ducati” and “desmodromic” have become synonymous today, the system didn’t feature on all of their models until the Pantah motor of the 1980’s, when that motor was used in both large and small displacement applications. The system was mostly used on range-topping sports models like the Super Sport twins and Desmo singles. Other manufacturers, including Mercedes, have used similar systems, but Ducati’s design was created by the revered Fabio Taglioni and first applied to their 1956 125cc race bike.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo R Side Engine

Ironically, the system probably had more practical benefits when it was introduced on Ducati racebikes in the late 1950’s, although the precision tuning does still have some benefits. If you’re not familiar, a desmodromic system uses cams that both open and close the valves to eliminate valve float and allow for very precise tuning. The fact that the valves are being closed in a controlled manner, instead of just being slammed closed as fast as a spring can manage, permits steep cam profiles that wouldn’t normally be practical.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo Dash

In 1968, Desmo performance was introduced to Ducati’s roadbikes on the Mark 3 250 and 350 bikes, with the 450 available in 1969. Interestingly, the 250 and 450 models were far more flexible on the street: the 350 had a much more highly-strung demeanor and was ready to go racing, nearly right out of the box.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo Front

From the original eBay listing: 1971 Ducati 450 MK3 Desmo for Sale

VIN 700287  Engine DM450 S/D 456907

The most desirable of the single Ducati’s in very good straight conditions, restored about 20years ago and rarely used since. Italian historic register and still with its first original Italian registration documents.

Ride and collect!

Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano (Pordenone) but i can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.

We can supply US contact as reference.

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo R Tank

This same seller has had a number of really nice bikes up for sale on eBay of late that we’ve featured, including that very, very cool Guzzi racer from last week. I’m not sure if he’s liquidating a collection, but his bikes are amazing, and he’s popped into the comments to answer questions from time to time, so don’t hesitate to ask questions at the original listing or in the comments section.

-tad

1971 Ducati 450 Mk3 Desmo L Side

0

On Rails: 1976 Honda CB750 Bonneville Salt Flat Record Holder

1976 Honda CB750 Salt Flat L Side

Well, this Honda CB750 probably doesn’t fall under our usual parameters for “sport bike” but it is most definitely a “race bike” and how could we possibly exclude a machine that has successfully

Even if it doesn’t have a front brake. Or rear shocks…

1976 Honda CB750 Salt Flat Tank Detail

During the 1970’s and 1980’s the undisputed kings of the street and strip were the big four-cylinder bikes from Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Honda. Sure, Kawi’s two-stroke triples were entertainingly wild and punched well above their weight, but were hamstrung by typically peaky two-stroke powerbands, and the idle-to-redline shove of a no-replacement-for-displacement four made bikes like the CB750 the go-to choice for straight-line performance.

1976 Honda CB750 Salt Flat R Side Front

From the original eBay listing: 1976 Honda CB750 Bonneville Salt Flat Record Holder for Sale

Recently restored vintage record holder

Original built by Hollister & Cunningham

Drag raced in northern Nevada and northern Cali in the late 70’s

Restoration was done by me, mostly cosmetic. New aluminum “Excel” rims and stainless steel spokes laced to original hubs Paint on tank is original restored and re painted the tail section New cables, new chain, new tires. Restored and re painted the front fender Clean, rebuilt, and synchronized the carbs Flushed fluids from engine New fluids Hand build Mallory magneto RC Engineering 4 into 1 header No stater or rotor on left side of crank shaft After Boneville bike was drag raced in Northern Cal and Northern Nev Comes with the wheelie bar and stack of sprockets All documentation from Boneville Salt Flat records Bike starts and runs fine. Seriously fast!

1976 Honda CB750 Salt Flat Plaque

I’m not sure what a buyer would do with this machine, since it’s not a practical day-to-day machine. While the Excel rims weren’t on the bike at the time of its record run, they look great, although I always get creeped out at the thought of riding a bike with no front brakes on the street…

But with a Buy It Now price of only $6,500 I’d bet you won’t find a world record holder machine for any cheaper!

-tad

1976 Honda CB750 Salt Flat Engine1976 Honda CB750 Salt Flat Certificate

0

Budget Italian Racer: 1982 Moto Morini 250

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike L Side

Another unusual racebike up for sale this week, this time a very funky Moto Morini 250 with an enormous, wind-blocking fairing. I’m not sure if this would increase or decrease the bike’s top speed, but it should make it easy to relax on long straights, tucked into the bubble of still air behind it. You could maybe read a magazine…

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike Dash

With no real modern presence, at least in the US, Moto Morini is still the forgotten Italian marque, although they survived well into the 1980’s in Europe. Part of the reason for their relative obscurity here is their insistence on small-displacement bikes: they never got bigger than 500 until they were resurrected in 2004.

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike Front Drum

But Morini, in spite of modest top speed performance, always built sophisticated bikes with impressive handling. The 72º v-twin was designed to be compact and smooth, and put power though a six-speed gearbox. This innovative engine utilized traditional pushrods to operate the valves, but used a toothed belt to drive the camshaft instead of a heavy, noisy chain and the engines famously featured Heron-style heads that gave excellent fuel economy and simplified manufacturing.

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Moto Morini 250 race bike for Sale

Dunstall tank, Grimeca hub, Akront front rim, Takasago rear rim, Paioli forks, Adj Progressive shocks
Fitted with Moto Morini 3½ top end.
Reportedly raced at
Sears Point in the early 80’s, and clearly set up for racing, with wired nuts and bolts, and engine breathers connected to overflow bottles. No battery, lighting, or brake lights, etc, (Bike runs without battery)
Appears to have been in good shape when stored with gas removed from tank and carbs. Engine sounded good upon start up (see video below from last summer) After this run it was drained of fuel and back into storage
Bike will need work to make it roadworthy, tank sealing, paint, tires, mechanical work, tuning etc.
This bike is not a show bike. It was set up purely for functionality, not looks.
I’m not an expert in this field so use your own judgment and research before bidding.
Clear title in my name (secured by bond)
Mileage listed for ref only, actual miles not known
Stand not included in sale
Bike must be picked up within 30 days

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike Rear Hub

While this is very cool, it is obviously modified from stock, with heads from a 3½ [350cc] bike, so be careful to read the rules of whatever race series you plan to enter this in. Conveniently Morinis came with both electric and kick start, so this bike simply ditches the heavy, unreliable electric system and goes with the lighter kick that eliminates the need for a battery.

-tad

1982 Moto Morini 250 Race Bike R Front

0

Café Done Right: 1975 Honda CB750 for Sale

1975 Honda CB750 Cafe R Side

I try to stay away from posting up too many café-styled machines here, especially of the home-brewed variety. There’s nothing wrong with them necessarily, but the do-it-yourself vibe also leads to some half-cocked ideas and questionable engineering: take a half-decent Honda CB750, slap on a fresh coat of paint on the tank, flip the bars, fit a set of individual pod-filters and, voila! You now have a bike with probably less performance than the original and likely far less comfort as well…

1975 Honda CB750 Cafe L Side Rear

Introduced in 1969 as part of Japan’s opening salvo in the war for big-bike domination, the CB750 combined the sophistication and exotic wail of a four-cylinder with the durability of an appliance. Along with Kawasaki’s Z1, the CB brought sophisticated engineering to the masses. In recent years, these workhorse UJM’s [Universal Japanese Motorcycles] have become the darlings of a custom-bike scene tired of overpriced, fat-tired choppers with ubiquitous S&S twins and Baker non-unit gearboxes. Cheap to buy, with a wealth of parts to maintain and customize, cast-off Japanese bikes democratized the custom movement, although prices of even poor examples have been driven out of the basement, leading bourgeoning bike builders to search for less-expensive alternatives…

1975 Honda CB750 Cafe Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Honda CB750 Cafe for Sale

Honda CB750 cafe racer w/ new black paint/gold racing accent stripes. Clear California title – runs and shifts with no issues – Front and rear drilled racing rotors, new handle bars, new mirrors, new seat pan, new upholstered seat, new gas tank emblems, new front & rear turn signals, new brake light, new oil & filter, new brake fluid, rebuilt (2) front and (1) rear calipers, rebuilt master cylinder, new speedo cable, new clutch cable, (2) new throttle cables, new reflectors and much more – feel free to contact me with any questions or to set up a time to inspect – thank you!

1975 Honda CB750 Cafe L Side Engine

This particular example caught my eye for the dual-disc conversion up front, an nod to performance and safety. Looking very much like a modern Triumph Thruxton, this is a pretty nice, rideable classic, although the seller wants a pretty penny for it, with an asking price of $6,500. There are three days left, so maybe make him an offer.

It isn’t perfect, but the CB750 is a terrific platform and this should give you Brit-bike looks and style without the headaches and leaked oil in the garage…

-tad

1975 Honda CB750 Cafe L Side

5

Big Green Race Bike: 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Racer

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Race Bike R Side

Up today is a very beautiful and functional Moto Guzzi V7 Sport race bike that’s seen some success on track in recent years. There’ve been quite a few vintage racers coming up for sale recently, but none that had me as excited as this one. I’m surprised I’ve never actually seen a vintage race Guzzi at the events I’ve attended, considering the variety of marques generally represented. Maybe they just make such good roadbikes, owners can’t bear to convert them for track use…

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Race Bike L Side Front

In spite of the shaft drive, Guzzis are relatively light and handle very well, make good power, and are fundamentally very durable. This example features a wealth of race goodies, including a big-bore motor, straight-cut gearbox, and flat-slide carbs. It’s also safety wired up and is about as green as it’s possible for a bike to be, with hints of the red, Telaio Rosso-styled frame peeking out from underneath the vivid bodywork.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Race Bike Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Racer for Sale

model year 1973
This is a bike very well known in Italy, it costed a fortune to build and was on podium, 2nd, at the 1997 Daytona classic series with a max speed of 256 kms/h!
Specs are massive: 980cc Scola engine, straight cut gearbox, Kehin CR carbs, ultrarare 38mm Marzocchi magnesium forks, steering head modifided to adjust the rake, etc.
Race and collect!
Bulletproof investment.
Bike is currently located in Italy, 33080 Roveredo in Piano (Pordenone) but i can get them delivered all around the World at cost, no problem.
We can supply US contact as reference.

If you don’t feel like doing the math on this one, 256kph is just a whisker under 160mph, a pretty serious turn of speed for an air-cooled, pushrod v-twin with a design from the 1960’s and barn-door aerodynamics, albeit updated with a bigger displacement.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Race Bike Engine

There is plenty of time left on the auction, and the reserve has not yet been met. No surprise, considering how rare and nicely prepared this is. Obviously, the originality of the V7 Sport has been sort of destroyed, but it’s been transformed into something truly one-of-a-kind and would make a really cool vintage race bike if you’re not afraid to wreck something this singular, a great attention-grabber for shows, or the coolest living room decoration of all time.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Race Bike Rear Wheel

It’s very easy to make fake V7 Sports, so if you’re looking at this as a collectable, make sure you do some homework before bidding. Fakes may look, feel, and perform like the originals, but don’t offer quite the same investment potential…

-tad

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Race Bike L Side

2

Collectible Racer: 1973 Yamaha TZ350A for Sale

1973 Yamaha TZ350 L Side

Jeez, as often as these TZ’s have been popping up of late, you’d think they were common or something… Yamaha’s TZ350’s were pure racing motorcycles and had no roadgoing derivatives directly related to them. Which is a shame: “race bikes for the road,” while often very narrowly-focused, lousy for roadtrips, and entirely lacking in passenger accommodations for that cute girl you met at the bar last night, can be terrific Sunday morning canyon-dance partners, allowing owners to get more use out of them than they otherwise might when restricted to track-only riding.

1973 Yamaha TZ350 R Front

The affordable TZ350A introduced water-cooling to Yamaha’s over-the-counter two-stroke parallel twin GP machine, and the bike evolved progressively through to the final TZ350H model. “A” versions like the one for sale this week featured a dual-shock rear end, although later versions changed to a monoshock rear suspension.

1973 Yamaha TZ350 Dash

The twin made a smoking 64bhp and at under 300lbs dry, these were competitive right out of the box, although they were bikes without a class here in the USA and generally were forced to run against larger machines.

1973 Yamaha TZ350 Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Yamaha TZ350 for Sale

Up for auction is a piece of Yamaha, Daytona, and AMA racing history! This 1973 Yamaha TZ350A was ridden by rookie expert Jim Evans to third place in the 1973 Daytona 200 for sponsor/owner/tuner/dealer Mel Dinesen. (Don Emde had won the 200 outright for Dinesen the year prior aboard a Yamaha TR3.) This privateer TZ350 finished the 1973 200 behind World Champions Jarno Saarinen and Kel Carruthers on Yamaha factory team TZ350s in what was the first major race for Yamaha’s new water cooled TZ family of GP series production racing bikes. The new TZ350s outpaced and/or outlasted both four and two-stroke machines of up to 750cc in that year’s contest.

The late Stephen Wright found and restored this bike in the early-90s, before selling it into two successive private collections. Wright is well known as having been curator/chief restorer for Steve McQueen’s motorcycle collection, starting with work for McQueen’s Solar Productions in the 1960s, as well as for his excellent books on motorcycles and motorcycle racing in the United States. His restorations are extremely well-regarded. 

Condition:

This TZ350A has been in two private (climate controlled) collections since being found and restored by Stephen Wright in the early 1990s. In the interest of full disclosure, there is some minor shelf wear (a few paint chips and a scrape along the primary side of the fairing from a tie down buckle during shipping), the rubber band mount for the oil temp gauge is split, and the Goodyear racing slicks show some dry cracking on the sidewalls, as you would expect from age. That said, the bike remains very clean. The paint finish is excellent and the colors are sharp. Take a look at the photos to see for yourself. The nice thing about the bike is that the 20+ years since the restoration have given the bike just the right amount of patina. Overall, this bike is stunning and beautiful; people gravitate to it.

The bike was mechanically and cosmetically restored to full working order and correct appearance, then prepared for collector ownership (i.e. all fluids were drained and the engine was fogged). Any attempt to run the machine should follow a full recommissioning. The brakes, clutch, and throttle all operate as they should.  

1973 Yamaha TZ350 L Rear

There are four days left on the auction, with bidding north of $15,000 and the Reserve Not Met. This is in absolutely gorgeous condition, considering it’s basically an ex-race bike. There are a few minor scrapes that, to me, don’t detract at all. And while discs are generally better and more reliable means for stopping, that huge front drum and drilled rear hub are beautifully sculptural.

It’s obviously not in ready-to-run shape, so if you’re looking for a bike to ride in AHRMA events, you’re better off looking elsewhere. If you’re looking for a beautiful collector’s item that has been properly prepared for a life on display, this could be your bike.

-tad

1973 Yamaha TZ350 R Side

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