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Flying the Flag, Sort Of: 1967 Harley-Davidson 350cc Racer for Sale

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike L Front

Today’s Harley-Davidson isn’t exactly a Harley. Looking for a quick way into the sporty middleweight market, Harley purchased 50% of Aermacchi’s motorcycle production operation in the early 1960’s. Rebranded as Harley-Davidsons, they clearly didn’t have much in common with the big v-twins from The Motor Company, other than that classic logo. Aermacchis were mechanically simple, but lightweight and nimble, with a history of racing successes in various forms of competition.

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike R Rear

In fact, I’m sure it was a pain for shops and dealers, since they now had to have complete sets of both English and Metric tools! And historically, we know how that usually goes for outsiders who come into conflict with Harley’s entrenched mindset both inside the company and among their legions of dedicated fans: by 1978, they’d sold off Aermacchi.

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike R Cockpit

Over at eBay, you can read a bit more about Aermacchi’s history in the very detailed original listing: 1967 Aermacchi 350cc Racer for Sale

With so much intermingling of parts and specifications, a race bike is often made up of from the best components for the job. So it is with the unquestionably beautiful bike offered here. It consists of a 350cc dry clutch motor in a 1967 Sprint H style frame, an Ala Verde style peanut-shape tank, and a twin-leading shoe front brake. Built to race, the bike was then subject to a comprehensive and complete restoration and since has been meticulously stored and displayed in a prominent Southern California collection. With only shake down miles on the rebuild, the bike will need re-commissioning before returning to the track. I would suggest tires in that.

Although he never rode the bike, it was signed by Mert Lawwill’s, who saw it at a concours event and expressed his appreciation for the quality of the build. Beautiful as it unquestionably is, the bike is ready to start and run or to take pride of place as a museum exhibit, such is the quality of the restoration and build.

 1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike Numberplate

These make excellent vintage race bikes, with good parts availability and plenty of tunability. They may lack the manic excitement and outright performance of a two-stroke, but they’re much more durable, meaning less time wrenching and more time riding. So if you’re looking to dip your feet into the vintage racing scene, and a Honda CB is just too pedestrian, this might make a great choice: the Buy It Now price is $9,900 which, while far from cheap, represents a pretty good price, considering the preparation that’s gone into this bike.

-tad

1967 Aermacchi 350 Race Bike L Side

1

Low-Mileage Italian: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Front Fairing

Designed as a follow up to Moto Guzzi’s V7 Sport, the 850 Le Mans was much more evolutionary than a brand-new machine. It still used the famous Lino Tonti frame, as would many Guzzis up into the modern era. The engine too used simple changes to net more performance, including bigger slugs with higher compression, larger valves, and a set of 36mm Dell’Orto carbs. These changes gave 71hp at the wheel and a top speed of 130.

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Side Engine

Interestingly, comparison tests pitting the Ducati 900SS against the Le Mans suggest that the Guzzi actually had the revvier engine of the two, in spite of the pushrod architecture and generally low-tech design.

To slow things down, the bike used triple disc brakes that included Guzzi’s linked braking system: the foot lever operated the rear and one of the front brake calipers, with a proportioning valve to prevent premature lock up of one or the other, and the bar lever operated the other front disc. The system was simple, but worked surprisingly well, although many Guzzi owners have removed the system and replaced it with a more conventional set up.

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans Dash

Today’s bike is a very original, low-mileage example of the first-generation Le Mans. These early bikes are often referred to as “Mark I” bikes, but this is a later edition to the name since, at the time, Guzzi obviously didn’t know they’d be making a Mark II version!

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans L Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 Le Mans for Sale

This is a completely original and unmolested 1977 Moto Guzzi Lemans 1. This bike has only 10,206 miles on the clock. There have been no modifications to this bike and all parts on this bike are as it was delivered to the dealer in 1977. Every part and piece is as delivered from Italy, right down to the footpeg rubbers.

The turn signals have been removed and are still with the bike and will be provided to the new owner. This bike was owned by an ex Guzzi dealer who rode the bike for a few years and then stored it early in its life as he moved on to other bikes throughout his time as a Guzzi / Ducati dealer in Texas. He was very active in the Moto Guzzi club and treated and maintained all his bikes very well.

This is a rare chance to own an original, unmolested Lemans 1 with such low miles. I would doubt there are but a small handful of Lemans 1’s with 10k miles out there as most of these bikes accumulated serious mileage on them as they were and are a very robust motor.

This bike will make a fine rider as is, or a great bike for a full restoration. Paint is in decent shape for its age.

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Side Rear

The original listing indicates that the bike, while in excellent running condition, hasn’t been used much and will require basic maintenance to the brakes to make sure they’re up to snuff. The seller also mentions that the clutch does drag a bit, and a new clutch will be included, along with a set of stainless brake lines.

The seat foam, a notoriously short-lived material, is original and in decent, although not perfect condition. What you see on these bikes is not a vinyl cover over padding, but a molded material meant to simplify production. Unfortunately, the foam quickly developed splits and very few bikes survive with their original seats intact…

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans Front Wheel

Overall, this a solid, unrestored example of the classic Le Mans and has the lowest mileage I can remember seeing on a bike that wasn’t a display piece. These bikes were extremely durable, long-legged sportbikes and many have accumulated the mileage you’d expect from such a useable machine, so this is a rare opportunity, if low-mileage is your thing. Bidding is up north of $10,000 with the reserve not met and several days left on the auction.

-tad

1977 Moto Guzzi LeMans R Side

2

Barn-Find Racer: 1975 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

1975 Yamaha TZ750 L Side

A combination of big-bore, two-stroke power and rapidly evolving handling made the Yamaha TZ750 the bike to beat during the 1970’s on racetracks in the US and abroad. Early bikes shredded tires and scared the bejesus out of even experienced riders, and twin-shock rear suspensions gave way to mono-shock setus as power increased from “plentiful” to “terrifying.”

1975 Yamaha TZ750 Gauges

The original bikes actually displaced 700cc’s, exactly like a lashed-up pair of 350 twins might and, although the four used much of what Yamaha had learned racing their 350, it shared no parts with its little brother, and appears to have been based on a bored-out version of their 500GP machine, making it very exotic indeed, although handling on the first bikes was fairly suspect.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Front

This early example uses a more conventional twin-shock rear suspension: later bikes featured thicker tubing and a much improved monoshock suspension that redirected suspension forces to the steering head and created a much more stable platform for the four-cylinder, two-stroke animal lurking under the bodywork. That liquid-cooled lump featured reed-valves for a wider powerband, likely around 90hp here, although later bikes put a slightly terrifying 140hp through the bikes six-speed box. Combined with decent handling from the later monoshock frames, it made the TZ750 the bike to beat during this era.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Side Engine Detail

The story behind this bike is included over at the original eBay listing. It rambles a bit, but makes for an interesting read: 1975 Yamaha TZ750 for Sale

Now I really had to think about how far down do we take this project, we could do a frame off complete restoration or just clean?

Well the answer is; They Are Only Original Once! We just cleaned it and got it running. Now the old guy told me that even though it was in storage in his garage that he would once a year spray WD40 in the cylinder and after inspecting the lower end I believe him. We removed the head and cylinders to inspect the lower end, we also scoped as much as we could. The crank looked perfect and clean. So we cleaned the piston rings and wrist pins and put back together.

Please note that we have only run this bike a couple of times so we are mixing the fuel very rich, that is why there is so much smoke in the video. Also the video was shot on May 6 of this year and it was the first and only ride on this bike. My tech is the rider and it stalled on his first run because he was trying to find first gear. The video (we will be posting soon) and pics speak for themselves.

As you review the pictures note that the bike still has most if not all of the original safety wire from its race days. Also note that is bike has most if not all of the original factory cable and hose clips or clamps. These items are usually missing on most of the TZ bikes I have seen.

I did not try to mount the fairing as it seemed to fragile from sitting in the garage but is mostly complete.

Some Notes:

The frame number is 409-000327

The Engine number is 409-000327

Bike has a clean green Michigan Title

Original paint bike (I would say about 98% original as I did repaint the head, exhaust and some misc bracket).

Original safety wire still intact from the track

All original cable clamps and clips

All parts that had to be replaced are OEM Yamaha (even the hose clamps)

Rebuilt Stator from Rick Shaw, the owner at Rick’s Electrics

Rebuilt CDI Box in original case from England

New exact duplicate radiator from England

New grips and shift rubber

Rebuilt all brake calipers w/ OEM Yamaha parts

Removed head & cylinders, cleaned rings and wrist pins, scoped and inspected crank. Crank and lower end was perfect.

Cleaned carbs

New tires, however they are road tires not track tires.

Race fairing with new replacement wind shield (this windscreen will need some alteration however was the only replacement available). 

1975 Yamaha TZ750 Tank Detail

And no, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you: that is a rear-view mirror, tail light, and a headlight on there: one of the previous owners set the up for road use! Kids, don’t try this in California… And yes, although it is a big rough around the edges, it does run, as can be seen in this video here. I love how hard-edged that two-stroke crackle is here, sounding pretty far-removed from the typically agricultural sound of an idling smoker.

1975 Yamaha TZ750 Engine Detail

Just 111 TZ750’s were built during 1975, making each and every one a highly-desirable collector’s item. Bidding is very active on this bike, and is currently up around the $25,000 mark with plenty of time left on the auction. I’d expect the buyer to return this to track-only specification and hopefully take it vintage racing, but I can imagine the temptation to take it out on the road might be very hard to resist…

-tad

1975 Yamaha TZ750 R Side

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Racing Heritage on the Cheap: 1975 MV Agusta Ipotesi Racebike

1975 MV Agusta Iptotesi Race Bike L Front

Considering how rare MV Agustas are in general, it’s been positively raining them for the past month, and this Ipotesi [“hypothesis” in Italian] race bike is certainly new to me: we’ve featured several of the roadgoing Ipotesis recently, but this is the first race version I’ve seen. The MV Agusta Ipotesi was produced between 1975 and 1977 and was available in faired and unfaired flavors. It was powered by a relatively unexciting 350cc pushrod, air-cooled parallel-twin engine but did use an innovative electronic ignition system that should remove the headache of points… Unless you need to get parts for it.

1975 MV Agusta Iptotesi Race Bike R Front

The bike was styled by famed designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. I’m a huge fan of his car designs, especially the Maserati Ghibli, Alfa Romeo GTV, and Lotus Esprit. His bikes? Not so much. In fact, bikes like his Ducati 860GT and Kamen Rider-styled Suzuki Re5 were notable failures that were quickly toned-down by the manufacturers after disappointing initial sales. I’m okay with both of those bikes, but they’re hardly styling triumphs. The Ipotesi, on the other hand, is a great-looking machine, especially in traditional MV Agusta colors and tricked out with race bodywork and a bum-stop seat.

1975 MV Agusta Iptotesi Race Bike Cockpit

The original eBay listing can be found here: 1975 MV Agusta Ipotesi Racebike for Sale

The fragile fairing plastics look to be in perfect condition in the photos, a genuine concern on a bike this rare. Much as I prefer the function of disc brakes, that front drum does look pretty great, and those slightly curved Magni pipes [thanks for pointing those out last time Daniel!] apparently have the qualities you’d expect from Magni, including lighter weight and better sound.

1975 MV Agusta Iptotesi Race Bike L Detail

So far, this Ipotesi has generated no real interest, with just two days left on the auction. That may be because the seller includes basically no history of this particular bike, although some nice photos help to make up for that somewhat. $12,000 seems like a pretty reasonable price for an authentic racing MV Agusta, but some history would be appreciated. Has the bike had any famous riders or notable successes? Does the bike have any mechanical issues? That might go some way to justifying the price, as previous Ipotesis have been listed with starting bids several thousand less.

But whether you plan to run it or just display it in your living room, it seems like a relative bargain, even at that price.

-tad

1975 MV Agusta Iptotesi Race Bike R Front 2

 

 

1

Sand-Cast Classic: 1969 Honda CB750 for Sale

1969 Honda CB750 R Side Front

When the Honda CB750 came onto the scene in 1969, beating Kawasaki’s own four-cylinder bike to market by the narrowest of margins, it was a revelation: four-cylinder motorcycles were previously the domain of luxury or high-end sporting manufacturers like Ariel or MV Agusta. But the CB750, while certainly not cheap, was an affordable alternative to the established large displacement bikes from the European manufacturers, offering refinement and reliability previously unheard of at that price-point. The specifications seem so unexciting now, but that’s because every other manufacturer needed to produce similar machines, or be left in the dust.

And Honda didn’t stop with their 750: that initial CB gave birth to a whole range of four-cylinder, five-speed bikes, including a 350, a 400, a 500, and a 550. The fours were often heavy, compared to their twin-cylinder or two-stroke competition. But they offered an unmatched level of sophistication compared to those relatively crude machines.1969 Honda CB750 L Side

For a long time, four-cylinder bikes from Honda, Kawasaki, and Suzuki were being regularly chopped into bits as part of the burgeoning cafe racer scene, owing to their low prices, power, and solid construction. This one will not be subjected to that sort of treatment. It’s an early model CB750, with the sand-cast engine cases that are so desirable among fans of this bike.

1969 Honda CB750 R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1969 Honda CB750

In their 100th anniversary issue, Motorcyclist magazine named the 1969 Honda CB750 as the “Bike of the Century,” and this one may be the bike of this century! I bought it 30 years ago from the original owner, a schoolteacher in Chicago, who had kept it as immaculately as I have ever since. I’ll try to keep this text short as you true lovers of vintage Hondas know the story very well by now, but the term “sandcast” is abused so much on eBay it bears re-telling. 

Soichiro Honda was a wise businessman and when he developed this breakthrough machine in the 1960s era that was dominated by British twins & triples, and he wasn’t sure it would sell with its daring 4 cylinders, 4 exhaust pipes, 4 carbs and front disk brake. To play it safe, Honda cast the engine blocks in rough sand molds rather than investing in much smoother (and more costly) metal molds. When the bike started selling well, they invested in the metal casts and all models after VIN # 7,414 have a smooth engine block finish, making these early bikes with a rough “sandcast” finish very rare. 

How rare is this one? Chassis VIN # = 374 and engine = #379, only five digits apart! Why are they apart? Hondas were shipped from Japan in separate crates of engines & chassis, and then assembled in California in random fashion. Many sandcasts have frame & engine numbers that are hundreds of digits apart, so this one’s close numbers are rare indeed. If you check the Sandcast web site (www.cb750sandcastonly.com) and scan the registry, you’ll see this one listed as #18 and with its very close #s for the chassis & engine. 

What’s also special about this bike is it is a rider, not a “trailer queen.” It had 18,000 miles on it when I bought it, and I’ve put another 6,000 miles on it since, generally short trips every month in the summer to keep it mechanically sound. It runs like a “dream” (forgive the Honda pun!) and has been maintained by some of the best vintage Honda mechanics whose identity I’ll only reveal to the buyer to not drive them nuts with too many phone calls early on.

1969 Honda CB750 L Side Engine

There are plenty of additional details over at the listing, so take a gander if you’re a fan of this bike. There are four days left on the auction, with bidding up to $27,000 and the reserve not yet met. That might seem to be a princely sum, but the really rare, early CB’s do command all that and more.

1969 Honda CB750 Headlamp

For a long time, the very reliability and ubiquity of the UJM was their downfall: people treated them like the appliances they were designed to be. A vintage Triumph is going to require regular fiddling and adjustment, and will likely leak at least a bit of oil. They’re full of character, fully capable of cutting a rug and they look great doing it. But vintage European bikes ownership is more like a relationship: you’re invested, an enthusiast. Japanese bikes of the period were notable because they generally flat worked. Just add gas and tires.

But that also means that, when Honda or Kawasaki introduced their latest and greatest model, old bikes were just that: old bikes. And often left to decay, or sold on to less sympathetic owners more concerned with cheap transportation than maintaining an heirloom motorcycle. But considering what early Z1’s and Honda CB750’s are going for these days, the joke’s on them.

-tad

1969 Honda CB750 R Side

1

A Deeper Shade of Orange: 1977 Laverda Jota for Sale

1977 Laverda Jota R Side

I’m not generally a purist when it comes to colors: I actually prefer my Ferraris in subtle hues like greys and earthy metallics. I’m not a huge fan of British Racing Green. And silver is a great color for daily-driver Mercedes, it’s a bit bland if you’re spending over $100,000 on a car or bike. But when it comes to Laverda, there’s only one color for me: orange. That’s not to say bikes like this Laverda Jota don’t look amazing in red, or silver, or green. It’s just that, if you have a good excuse to own a bike slathered in screaming tangerine paint, it seems like you should fully take advantage.

1977 Laverda Jota L Side Detail

The original Jota is a bit of a hot-rod, built up by Slater Laverda, a dealer and tuning shop based out of the UK. Laverda’s 981cc triple in the 3CL was clearly understressed, and Slater saw the performance potential just waiting to be unleashed. They took the basic, rugged package and upgraded it with high-compression pistons, higher-lift camshafts, and a free-flowing exhaust.

1977 Laverda Jota R Tank

The modifications resulted in 90hp and a top speed of 146mph. For a time, it was the fastest bike in the land. And even after it was superseded by faster machines, it was still the manliest bike in the land: early machines used a 180° camshaft that had the outside pistons rising and falling at the same time, which made for wild power and a raw feel that has been likened to an inline four with a miss… Controls were heavy, seat height tall, and they were generally unruly, but characterful beasts.

1977 Laverda Jota Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1977 Laverda Jota for Sale

This Laverda Jota was built in July 1977. This particular bike was originally sold in Southern California. I bought it a couple years ago and thought I would ride it here it Texas however things have changed and I am now offering it for sale. I have owned three previous Laverda’s: a 1976 3cl with Jota cams etc., and a 1978 3cl, and a coveted 1974 SFC (the last new one on the planet in 1978). However this Jota is special and has super low miles.

This bike was set up to race at Riverside in the 80’s but never got the chance (AMA changed the requirements) so I am told by the previous owner. The bike was completely disassembled and modified slightly. If you look closely on the pictures you will notice the frame was reinforced in the air filter area.  If you look close at the exhaust down tubes you will see another reinforced cross tube installed. These frame modifications stabilize the bike at higher speeds.  There are custom made foot levers for the gear shifting and the brake assemblies.  You can see that the rear disc brake was also modified in an upside down configuration. One off parts to accommodate the mounting. All the modifications are done with forethought and implementation. The powder coating on the frame, wheels, and fork sliders is very thick and shiny.

This bike sounds incredible, idles perfectly, and runs like a Jota should. Handles beautifully. It is robust and throaty. The paint is excellent. One imperfection on the back tail piece is a hairline crack near the mounting screw. Probably overtightened at one point. Tires are in good shape.

I located new Vox bell horns and they will be included along with a mirror, purchased from Wolfgang. I forgot to take a picture of under the seat area and battery. It is as nice as the rest of the bike. Any questions shoot me an email.

1977 Laverda Jota R Rear Detail

So while I’d prefer my Laverdas to be orange, this looks to be a really great, although not completely original example. But really, the Jota wasn’t a factory model anyway, and varied from region to region in terms of specification, so what are a few more performance updates between friends? The work looks to be a very high standard and, color aside, this is one of the nicest Laverdas I’ve seen in a while.

-tad

1977 Laverda Jota L Side

 

3

The Very Definition of Exotic: 1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport 4C75 for Sale

1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport L Front

MV Agusta’s racing heritage is at the heart of their fame and, for a long time, their exotic, multi-cylinder engines were available only to factory racers. So when they finally produced a roadgoing four-cylinder motorcycle, expectations were pretty high. Unfortunately, the 600 that was released was hideously ugly, massively underpowered, and hobbled by a heavy shaft in place of the usual chain-drive.

1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport R Rear

The later 750 corrected two of the three problems, keeping the shaft drive that was supposedly a measure to prevent privateers from simply buying a bike off the showroom floor and racing against the factory machines. None of MV Agusta’s four-cylinder roadbikes can really be considered serious sportbikes: they’re just too heavy. But they’re gorgeous, make expensive shrieking noises from the four-into-four exhaust and cam gears, are extremely rare, and handle well enough for owners to take them out for the occasional canyon ride.

1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport Dash

While the red, white, and blue colors might be garish and tacky on another bike, they work really well here. The simple metal dash is very elegant, with just a central ignition key and I also love that the clocks have such similar markings: the tach reads to 120 and the speedo to 150, which probably looks pretty cool when you’re winding it out in top gear…

1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport 4C75 for Sale

FRAME: MV4C75214054

ENGINE: 214-047

EXTREMELY RARE, HISTORIC, IMMACULATE.

Motorcycle is located in a temperature controlled facility in Port Huron, MI.

Purchase includes Factory Sealed Promotional poster. 

1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport L Rear

While I fully respect that sellers of rare and exotic machinery expect that buyers already know the general history a bike before they drop more than $115,000 on a motorcycle, a bit more history about this particular example might be in order here. Maintenance, updates, personal experiences? Has the owner ridden it? It’s an old motorcycle, so does it have any quirks or interesting characteristics? And what’s the story with that fairing? Is it original?

There’s less than a day left on this auction, so you’d better move quickly if you happen to have an extra $100k or so burning a hole in your pocket and an MV-sized hole in your collection, your bike is waiting!

-tad

1971 MV Agusta 750 Sport L Front Fairing

2

Practical Classic: 1982 Ducati 600SL Pantah for Sale

1982 Ducati 600SL Pantah R Side

After the humiliating failure of the parallel-twin 500GTL project, Ducati was quick to introduce the v-twin Pantah that had been developed in secret by Fabio Taglioni, who was convinced that the parallel-twin wasn’t the right direction for the company to pursue. It kept the iconic, smooth 90° “L-twin” configuration, but replaced the bevel-drive and tower-shafts of the earlier motor and substituted cheap and quiet toothed rubber belts. The upside was greatly reduced production costs, the downside was relatively short service intervals, although belt-changes are a pretty simple operation and many owners do the work themselves.

1982 Ducati 600SL Pantah Dash

The new bike had impressive specs, with a claimed 50hp from its 500cc engine and a five-speed gearbox. Unlike the earlier bevel-drive bikes, all of Ducati’s twins now featured their Desmodromic valve actuation. Wet weight was 443 lbs. and the bike could reach a top speed of 115mph. The 500 was superseded by the 600 in 1981 that, thanks to revised gearing, had an almost identical top speed but better midrange punch, with power increased to 57hp from the 583cc engine.

1982 Ducati 600SL Pantah Speedo

From the original eBay listing: 1982 Ducati 600 SL Pantah for Sale

I bought it in 5/12/2006 from a collector and I kept it the in garage all this time without riding it. The previous owner did ride it and the motorcycle has normal wear on it. It is otherwise in great condition.

Also included are two original Italian helmets.  Buyer is responsible for pick-up.

Obviously, a couple old helmets are best for display, but still pretty cool to have. Keep in mind that, if this has been mostly sitting since 2006, it may need some attention before being ridden: hoses dry out and crack, tires get hard, electrical connections can corrode, and gaskets can leak. That being said, the bike does run, and the seller includes this video of the bike running.

For a long time, these were very inexpensive to buy, although not all that easy to find. Considering the relatively high miles, I think the seller might be aiming a bit high with a $6,700 Buy It Now price. But these are ground zero for Ducati’s modern bikes, and provided the foundation for virtually every two and four-valve twin produced, making them historically significant and the ideal practical classic, with good parts availability and real-world ability.

-tad

1982 Ducati 600SL Pantah L Side

 

0

Cheap Speed: 1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 R Side Rear

Although “Mach III” is a pretty ambitious name for a motorcycle that can only just top 115mph, it probably felt much faster to test riders of Kawasaki’s two-stroke three-cylinder rocket, given the questionable brakes and less-than-secure handling. 60hp might not sound like a big deal today, but it came on in a frantic, two-stroke rush that invoked unintended wheelies, all accompanied by a chainsaw-snarl soundtrack.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 L Side Rear

The Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III was actually pretty par for the course for big-bore Japanese roadbikes of the 1970’s, a formula that generally included a powerful, sophisticated powerplant suspended in a chassis just barely able to contain the engine’s fury, with brakes added almost as an afterthought. Spindly forks and frame flex led to a reputation for wayward and even lethal handling, in a case like this one.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Cockpit

But in a strange way, this was exactly what the US market really called for: in the quarter mile and stop light drag races, power was king, and fuel consumption below 20mpg was no big deal in an era of cheap gas. Buyers wanted cheap speed and the H1 delivered. Brakes? Those are just so you can stop and pick up your winnings after a race, or pull up to the pumps to refuel, right? Handling? Well as long as you can stay in your lane for 1,320 feet at a time, the handling’s just fine, thanks.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 L Bar Detail

At the time, a lack of refinement in the package might have been considered a distinct disadvantage. Instead, the straight-line speed, combined with a low price point to create a cult bike that was a legend even in its own lifetime.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 R Side Rear Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III for Sale

This is my 75  Kawasaki H1. I purchased this motorcycle many years ago. It is not stock but it’s very retro. It has had motor work, 0.50 pistons, rings, bearings and new gaskets. It also has pods, reconditioned and re jetted carburetors to go with the nice set of chrome Denco chambers. New tires and tubes. The front caliper was also rebuilt with new pads. New sprockets and chain. The tank, side covers and cowl were painted back in the late 70’s and are retro to that time period. The decals were added on and clear coated recently. I don’t think you can get a paint job like this now and if you could I bet it would be very expensive. The large metal flake really stands out. Inside the tank is clean. The chrome is in very nice original condition. I replaced the fork ears with NOS ones a few years back. All the electrical works and it starts up in 1 or 2 sometimes 3 kicks. It runs well and has that snappy two stroke sound . Smooth acceleration and quick braking. I have kept it stored in a warm dry area in my house and has been well taken care of. It’s a very noticeable motorcycle and does attract quite a bit of attention when I do take it out. Frame # H1F-39057  Engine # KAE 109069 mid year production model.

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 Side Panel

As the seller points out, this bike features a gorgeous, period-look metal-flake paint job that may not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re buying a 70’s Kawasaki, you might as well go all-in. Those Denco expansion chambers are gorgeous as well, and this bike looks to be really well put together. Bidding is very active on this bike, with less than 24 hours to go and bidding just north of $6,000 as I write this, although I expect that to go up significantly before the auction is all over. But if you’re looking for a nice H1, it might be worth keeping an eye on this auction to see if you can snipe yourself a good deal…

-tad

1975 Kawasaki H1 500 R Side

0

It’s Only Original Once: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 for Sale

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side Rear

The Hurricane X75 looks like a funky, custom chopper-styled bike, but those looks came straight from the factory, by way of styling guru Craig Vetter, who was called in to redesign the bike when the original machine was deemed way too conservative for the target audience in the USA.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane Dash

The distinctive integrated one-piece tank cover and side-panels came in a vivid, “look at me” orange and then there’s that wild three-into-three exhaust: on the left side of the bike, there’s nothing but a bare swingarm. Then you walk around to the right side of the bike and bam, there it is, like a giant sonic pitchfork.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side Engine

That burly triple was actually built by BSA: when they went out of business, 1,200 of the engines were put aside for use in the new Triumph although, at Craig’s suggestion, the cylinder head did feature extended cooling fins for a beefier look. Displacing 741cc, the OHV triple put out 58hp and could push the bike over 110mph.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane Fork

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 for Sale

We are thrilled to offer such a unique and rare piece of motorcycle history. If you’ve got a Triumph-sized hole in your collection and want something pretty wild and very cool, this might fit the bill. To the best of our knowledge this amazing Triumph Hurricane X75 is all original and untouched. Please review pictures for overall condition and feel free to ask any questions.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane Rear Suspension

Like most cruisers, the X75 isn’t really the most practical machine, with minimal cornering clearance, at least in right-hand turns, and very limited range from the sub-3 gallon fuel tank. But that was hardly the point: the Hurricane was a glorious posing machine, with ample stoplight performance and killer looks. In fact, one Triumph executive is reported to have said, upon seeing the bike for the first time, “My God, it’s a bloody phallus!”

So basically: mission accomplished.

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side Carbs

This isn’t the shiny, well-maintained or restored bike we like to feature, but it does look to be all original. This Hurricane is obviously going to need a full restoration to make it roadworthy, but that gives the new owner the opportunity to do it right.

-tad

1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane L Side

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