Tagged: 1973

Origin of the Species: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype Road Racer #001

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Front

The second of three very rare Yamaha TZ750 race bikes available this past week, this 1973 model is claimed to be a rare prototype machine. Fans of both ClassicSportBikesforSale.com and RareSportBikesforSale.com have proclaimed all three of these machines to be overpriced, but you can’t argue that they are very cool and very valuable motorcycles regardless of their asking prices. Yamaha’s TZ750 was all brawn and no brains, a power-mad beast of a bike that packed 140hp into a sub-400lb package good for 185mph, with basically terrifying handling when it was introduced. But that power came with reliability, and the TZ dominated AMA racing for years in spite of its lethally bad manners.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine3

This example is supposedly a “prototype” numbered #001, although I’d definitely want to consult with a TZ750 expert before plunking down my hard-earned cash. It’s certainly in impressive cosmetic condition and will undoubtedly look amazing on display. Early TZ’s used a twin-shock rear suspension as seen here, although later bikes moved on to a more modern monoshock set up that vastly improved handling from “scary” to “less scary” as the bike struggled to cope with increased power from the significantly revised powerplant that went from 700cc’s in early bikes to the full 750cc’s in the name.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 Bare Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Yamaha TZ750 Prototype #001 for Sale

This is the rare only one built by the Yamaha Race department. It was finished in 1973 for Kel Caruthers to inspect and make final changes for the completion of the production TZ700/750 for release in 1974 for Daytona and European distribution.

What you see are some of the salvaged parts that were intercepted on the way to the crusher and torch. The main part being the frame and swing-arm stamped 409-100001.

This bike remained in the hands of factory rider Sadeo Asami until it was returned to Yamaha USA in the late 70`s. 

I sat in storage until 2012 when I was able to purchase the parts. A good friend and I spent 3 years bringing it back to as last race condition and another year to where it is now.

This is the bike that changed racing history.

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side Engine2

I would be curious, and I’m sure the seller can tell you, whether or not it runs. From the description, it sounds as if it does. This would obviously make a beautiful display piece and centerpiece to a collection, but racing machines I feel should always be kept in running condition, even if it’s only for parade laps and demonstrations. The Buy It Now price is set at $78,000 which, as stated previously, is very high for a TZ750. They’re pretty rare, but 600 were made and, even accounting for the attrition that naturally occurs during racing, it’s possible to find these regularly circling tracks in vintage racing events.

Regardless, I’m happy to see the bike offered up for sale, so we can all drool over it and think about how many extra kidneys we’d need to grow in order to be able to afford it….

-tad

1973 Yamaha TZ750 L Side

Teutonic Trackday Terror: 1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer for Sale

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer L Front

BMW’s boxer twins have long been associated with old men, heated grips, and hard luggage. But there have been racing Beemers as long as there have been Beemers and the quirky, shaft-drive “air-head” bikes are durable and can be extremely quick when properly prepared. This particular R-Series bike includes a veritable who’s-who of German race and top-shelf performance parts, with Silent Hektik twin-plug points-less electronic ignition [they also do Guzzis!], a Werner Fallert deep oil sump, restoration work by Hinrich Hinck, and uprated Lockheed brakes to replace the reportedly unimpressive stock front stoppers.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer R Rear

The original listing also mentions Gus Kuhn, whose name is proudly displayed on the side of the bare-metal tank. Gus Kuhn was a British racer, tuner, and dealer during the 1950s and 1960s. Although he died in 1966, Gus Kuhn Motors successfully raced Nortons and BMWs, eventually becoming one of the top BMW dealers in the world. It’s not clear from the listing if this is an actual Gus Kuhn machine or one simply intended as a tribute.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer Tank

From the original eBay listing: 1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer for Sale

Gus Kuhn Endurance, Marzocchi Lockheed GP Kroeber, Silent Hektik ignition, short piston engine overhauled

We have bought this Endurance Racer in Great Britain. Together with our friend Hinrich Hinck we decided to restore this very nice classic racer. We wanted to get as possible a high degree of originality. But we also wanted to build a very good racing machine and together with the experienced Hinrich Hinck we have done it.

The result: engine overhauled by BMW engine specialist Israel with short piston, Fallert oil pan,  Lockheed GP brakes, Marzocchi front fork, 18 inch rim, Kröber rev counter, aluminium fuel tank, Silent Hektik ignition, double spark,

Now it is ready to race for classic events.

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer Engine Detail

Please note that the bike currently resides in Germany but, since it’s in no way road-legal, at least there’s no question as to whether or not it can be registered here in the US. There’s plenty of time left on the listing, with six days still to go, and bidding has not hit the reserve. At just over $3,000 that’s no surprise. Given the components, preparation, and that gorgeous bare-aluminum tank, this should be worth double that figure, assuming the right eclectic buyer can be found.

-tad

1973 BMW R-Series Endurance Racer L Side

Tonti-Framed Masterpiece: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side

The current café racer and “brat-style” bike craze works hard to create a low, street-racer silhouette, often at the expense of suspension travel. But Moto Guzzi’s V7 Sport had low-and-lean included, with no additional charge. With the cylinders of the big, longitudinally-mounted v-twin jutting out to the sides, the frame and tank could sit in the valley of the vee, instead of having to take the long route over the top, for a low center-of-gravity and sleek good looks as standard.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Detail

Earlier “loop-framed” Guzzis like the V700 handled well enough and were great touring machines, but they weren’t light enough or low enough to really cut it on track. So Lino Tonti created a brand new frame to wrap around the slightly smaller, sportified twin that had 52hp measured at the back wheel. Detachable frame rails allowed the engine to be easily serviced, and that same design was used in one form or another well into the modern era.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport Clocks

Surprisingly, shaft-drive was retained and has become something of a signature for Guzzi. While shaft-drive is great for touring bikes and require less maintenance than a chain and set of sprockets, it’s generally not used on sportier bikes as it can add significant weight, and the torque-reaction can cause unfavorable handling characteristics. But while the rotational mass of the engine and driveshaft can be felt when rolling on or off the throttle in corners, the effects are generally very mild and riders quickly adapt.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport for Sale

This is a 1974 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport. It has dual front disk brakes from the factory, superior stopping power, so this is probably one of the last before they changed to the Lemans sport model. I have owned it for over 12 years. during which time I upgraded the electrical system to a much more dependable one. I changed the ignition system to an electronic one with the matching Dynatek coils. It has a solid state voltage regulator. The front brakes lines has been replaced with stainless steel brake lines. The front fork cartridges have been replaced with the much more consistent FAC cartridges and progressive springs. The old cartridge type steering damper has been replaced with a newer, more solid version. The mirrors are Napoleon Baren TT. Other than that the motorcycle is pretty much stock. It has 41,000 miles on the clock which in Guzzi time frame, it is still a baby. I have done a major fluid change and valve adjust recently. This bike has been cared for and serviced on time all of its life, I am its third owner and I can say that it has never slept outside, always garaged and cared for. This is one of the 152 V7 sports brought to the US in 1974. The bike runs great and handles even better. I love this bike but I am parting with some bikes now and this one has to go.

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport R Side Rear

Interestingly, this is one of two nice V7 Sports for sale at the moment, and although the other features the very classic drum-braked front, this example has better photographs. It’s also the less expensive of the two, although with a Buy It Now price of $17,840.00 it’s not cheap. It is, however, in very nice original condition and those dual front discs should probably work better in real-world riding than the more stylish drum. Mileage isn’t particularly low but this, as the seller mentions, is no concern for a Guzzi.

All-in-all, a worthy addition to anyone’s real or fantasy garage.

-tad

1973 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport L Side

Orange Twin: Low-Mileage 1973 Laverda 750 SF1 for Sale

1973 Laverda SF1 R Side Front

The biggest challenge for Laverda lovers isn’t finding a nice bike, it’s finding any bike. Basket case and project Triumphs are all over eBay, hiding out on Craigslist and in garages and basements all over the place. But Laverda was never really a big name here, and bikes as nice as this drum-braked SF1 are hard to come by. And that’s a shame because Laverdas are fundamentally very solid machines. Overbuilt and rugged, with quality parts sourced from the very best period sources.

Honestly, it’s probably much easier to import one from the UK, although registration might prove difficult, depending on where you live.

1973 Laverda SF1 L Side Front

You might think of Laverda as “The Lamborghini of Motorcycles”: both companies got their start manufacturing heavy machinery and branched out into performance machinery. Although, unlike Lamborghini, Laverda didn’t jump in with both feet to start making high-powered exotica. Their first bikes were designed to capitalize on the postwar mobilization of the workforce, and were smaller-displacement machines. But they had their sights set on the likes of Triumph, and they knew they needed something bigger.

1973 Laverda SF1 Dash

That “something” was their 650 parallel-twin that quickly grew into the 750 seen here that was stable, fast, and extremely well-built. The “SF” in the name stood for “Super Freni” or “super braking” and referred to that huge front drum brake. Later bikes switched to a twin-disc front set up that offered improved performance, but the look of the early drum-braked bikes is hard to beat.

1973 Laverda SF1 R Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Laverda 750 SF1 for Sale

Here we have a low mileage original paint 1973 750 SF1 euro market in extremely nice condition. Matching numbers VIN #13120. This bike was owned by the late Wes Cooley Sr. since 1980 and it only has 1243 Kilometers which is around 770 miles. I believe the miles to be original considering the condition the bike is in.  The 73′ SF1 is the 750 most sought after by collectors and enthusiast and is quite different than the SF2, for starters it has a chrome CEV headlight bucket and Lucas switches.  The SF1 also have bigger PHF 36mm Dellorto carbs instead of the 30mm found on the SF2 or SF3 and a bigger cylinder head as well,  This one still has the original expansion chamber between the headers and Conti mufflers.  This expansion chamber also known as the banana and the Conti mufflers are only found on the 73 SF1 as well. This bike is a true collectors piece and a beautiful time capsule and it will make a great addition to your collection  The tank and sidecovers still have the original orange paint from 1973 and it’s never been repainted.  Frame is also the original black from factory. 

When I took possession of the bike I gave it a good cleaning and removed the half inch layer of dust that covered most of the bike.  The tank and carbs had been properly drained many years ago and they didn’t take much to rebuild.  I was relieved to see how clean the inside of the carbs were.  They received new seals and O-rings by the way.  The seat is the original cover and it starting to come apart at the seams.  Also added a new battery and replaced the rubber intake boots they were cracked. It also received an oil change and new air filter from Wolfgang Too my knowledge I don’t believe the handlebars are original factory bars, however they are period correct and probably dealer installed when new. 

This bike runs very strong and idles like a clock.  I can provide a video of it running if seriously interested.  I also have more pictures that I was not able to include in the listing.  As far as the chrome goes it’s in very good condition.  Mufflers do not have any dings or dents.  I think there is a small ding or two under the “banana” pipe which is common since it’s the closest part to the ground.  Please keep in mind this is a euro market bike with right side shift and left side brake.  Just to recap on the good and bad. Bad; Seat cover needs attention. a ding or two on bottom side of expansion chamber (banana).  A small ding on left side of tank. The good,  ONLY HAS 1243 ORIGINAL KILOMETERS.

1973 Laverda SF1 Engine

I assume that by “expansion chamber” the seller means “crossover pipe.” I remember when I first discovered these selling, if you could find one, for $4,500. Now they’re double or even triple that. This example features the traditional Laverda orange paint and is claimed to be original. The bike generally looks to be in very good condition, other than the split seat seam, something that could be easily fixed if the new owner wants.

It’s not perfect, but is a pretty darn nice example of a more than forty year old motorcycle, and I’d love to have this in my garage.

-tad

1973 Laverda SF1 R Side

More Patina Than You Can Handle: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75

1973 Triumph X75 R SideI’ve gotten into the habit of occasionally posting these Triumph X75 Hurricanes, although they’re actually proto-choppers more than they are actual sportbikes. But I think they’re pretty cool, and since they’re powered by the Triumph/BSA three-cylinder engine, I think most of our readers probably like them too. 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Tank DetailStyled by icon Craig Vetter, the X75 Hurricane was intended for the US market, and the bosses at BSA felt that the original look planned for the bike was far too vanilla for the riders on this side of the pond. He might have gone a bit overboard with the Hurricane, but the result sure is distinctive and features Vetter’s signature one-piece tank-and-bodywork, along with that fan of tailpipes along the right side of the bodywork.

Just 1200 were made, using engines set aside when BSA went under and the bike was rebranded as a Triumph. 1973 Triumph X75 R Side EngineThe 741cc overhead-valve three-cylinder engine was fairly traditional in terms of design and construction, but put out a healthy 58hp and could push the bike well over 100mph and would have been perfect for blasting away from stoplights in a storm of noise. It should also turn left pretty well, but fast right turns could prove to be a bit of a problem… 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Exhaust DetailFrom the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph X75 Hurricane 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 please feel free to ask any questions.

Well I have a question: “Does it run?” While it’s nice to have a bit of the model’s history, I think most buyers would appreciate a bit more information about this specific example, especially considering the $32,000 Buy It Now price. I’m pretty sure anyone even remotely interested in dropping that kind of money on a bike probably already knows a bit about the bike’s general background. 1973 Triumph X75 R FrontThis particular example is positively dripping with patina. For many folks, originality is absolutely key, and this one’s got more originality than you might be able to deal with. To be honest, it looks like it’s in need of a complete, ground-up restoration. Mechanically, at least: many collectors want to keep that original paint intact as much as possible. Me? I’m all for resto-mods and restorations: many vintage vehicles were never intended to be collectors items or last though the ages, and were built to a price, with ugly wiring, parts-bin switches, and low-quality paint on frame and bodywork.

Is this Hurricane really worth $32,000? We’ll just have to wait ’till the end of this auction and see if someone ponies up the cash for this iconic motorcycle.

-tad 1973 Triumph X75 R Side Front

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

Tasteful Custom: 1973 Ducati 750GT Café Racer

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe R Side

Built around an early, very desirable “round-case” L-twin Ducati engine, this bike is based on a 750GT. As such, it does not use Ducati’s desmodromic valvetrain and makes do with simple springs instead. While that may not be as sexy to say as “Desmo”, it means that maintenance will be simplified, although the bevel-drive and tower-shaft arrangement still requires some expertise to set up correctly.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Engine Detail

Although it’s obviously of questionable wisdom to modify such a valuable classic, most of the cosmetic modifications look like they could be easily reversed, if the new owner decides to sell, or decides that they prefer a more original style. It’s also nice to see that the engine build includes VeeTwo parts: they disappeared for a while, but it looks like this Australian company is back in business, making hot-rod parts for bevel and belt-drive Ducatis.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Dash

It’s so easy to screw something like this up, just by adding a splash too much color, or the wrong color. But the builder of this bike went simple silver. Period-correct style or not, I’m not a fan of the “750” decal on the side panels, but that’s easy enough to fix. And that Grimeca front drum looks great, although no Ducati twin I know of ever used a front drum… Otherwise, it’s a very nicely turned-out special.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe Front Brake

From the original eBay listing: Custom 1973 Ducati 750GT  

Custom café racer in the spirit of the prototype

I bought this Ducati in 2005 in the current condition with 20,609 miles on the odometer. Previous owner started with a standard 750 GT and had it extensively customized. Here is his description of the work done:

With custom paint, seat, linkage, front brake, clip-ons, side covers, and seat back, this is a one of a kind bike inspired by the prototype. The engine is completely rebuilt with improvements throughout, giving it more power and better response without jeopardizing reliability. The pistons are short skirt sport pistons from V-Two to raise the compression. The heads got lighter 7mm valves with better springs, new seats and guides. From the Carillo rods to the 36mm carbs, to the polished crank to the billet cams to the smaller stem valves, all things were considered with this project.

The bike is one of several classic bikes in my collection and it got regularly used on short trips. Bike runs extremely strong, starts with one or two kicks and is ready to ride. Nice chrome and paint with very few minor scratches.

No manual or tool kit. GA registration in my name. GA did not issue titles for bikes over 25 years old. Also have ex California title assigned to my name.

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe L Rear

The seller also includes a more comprehensive list of modifications over on eBay, worth a look if you’re curious about this bike. The internal modifications sound like they’ve been well thought-out and the bike is ready to run, no matter what it looks like. Bidding is pretty active on this one, and up to $12,500 with the Reserve Not Met.

-tad

1973 Ducati 750GT Cafe R Side Detail

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

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

Rebadged Racer: 1975 Harley Davidson RR250

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 r side front

When is a Harley not a Harley? When it’s an Aermacchi, like this RR250. At different times during its history, American manufacturer Harley Davidson seemed to recall the perceived benefits of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and attempted to rectify a lack of road-racing product by absorbing an outside manufacturer, using the truckloads of cash generated selling leather chaps and vests and protective bandanas.

While they’ve been active and successful in dirt-track racing, they’ve only rarely been competitive in road racing, and a purchase of Aermacchi in the 1960’s attempted to fill that role. Most Aermacchi Harleys you’re likely to come across were Sprints, bikes that handled well and were powered by their outdated, but extremely reliable four-stroke singles, distinctively laid-over for a low center of gravity. But the writing was on the wall and, by the late 1960’s, it was clear that anyone who wanted to compete in smaller classes needed a two-stroke if they wanted to compete in smaller categories of racing or on the street.

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 dash

In 1973, Aermacchi’s two-stroke twins were also rebadged as Harleys and the bikes won three 250cc championships in a row. Variations were raced as late as 1978. Aermacchi’s original two-stroke was based on a pair of dirt bike engines, siamesed together. It shared many internal parts with the Yamaha single on which it was based, keeping running costs for the high-performance machine under control. The bike was lighter than the Yamaha TZ available at the time, and proved to be very competitive.

Water-cooling was added for 1973 and power jumped from about 50hp to 58hp, and the Harley-badged bikes won three 250cc championships in a row.

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Harley Davidson RR250 Daytona Road Race Bike

Motor turns nicely. Overall bike shows little use.
2-stroke water cooled 2 cylinder
No race damage, excellent over all condition
#1F100xxH4
Race #53 raced at Daytona in 1970s, some history.
Has not been run since 1970s.
Dealer owned since new

There are five days left on this auction with a starting bid of $30,000 and no takers so far. The Buy It Now is listed as $35,000 so it’s pretty clear what the seller believes this is worth. It’s unrestored and a bit rough around the edges, but that’s the nature of true racing machines: ten-foot paint jobs and scuffed paint are the norm when the goal is speed.

A cool bike from another, slightly forgotten period of Harley’s racing history. I still hold out hope that they’ll shock me speechless and actually “build” something like this again. Plenty of custom shops are assembling Harley café racers and sporty retros are all the rage. I can’t imagine that a stylish, agile bike based on their new 750 wouldn’t find buyers.

-tad

1975 Harley Davidson RR250 L side