c.1963 Kawasaki 125cc B8 Frame no. B8-3791 Engine no. FE2427
Lot 287
c.1963 Kawasaki 125cc B8
Frame no. B8-3791 Engine no. FE2427
Sold for £402 (US$ 667) inc. premium
Lot Details
c.1963 Kawasaki 125cc B8
Frame no. B8-3791
Engine no. FE2427
Although other branches of its industrial empire were occupied full time with reconstruction, in the immediate aftermath of WW2 Kawasaki's aircraft division stood idle. Seeking an outlet for its engineering expertise, the latter turned to the manufacture of motorcycle gearboxes and then complete engines. In 1960 Kawasaki Heavy Industries signalled its intent to expend its motorcycle empire with the acquisition of Meguro. Kawasaki was already a supplier of proprietary engines and a manufacturer of complete machines under the Meihatsu name, having set up that company as a subsidiary in 1953. Following the acquisition of Meguro and the resulting corporate reorganisation, the first motorcycle to be badged as a Kawasaki arrived in 1962. This was the 125cc B8, an air-cooled, piston-ported, single-cylinder two-stroke producing 11bhp, which was closely related to the B7 that Kawasaki had sold previously as a Meihatsu. To remind customers of the company's heritage, the tank badge carried the words 'Kawasaki Aircraft'. Inherently durable and competitively priced, the B8 was a popular model in Japan. It was superseded in 1965 by the B1, broadly similar but equipped with disc-valve induction, which in various forms lasted until 1980. Originally registered in Thailand, this ultra-rare Kawasaki B8 has been preserved in remarkably original condition. A total of 24,441 kilometres (approximately 15,186 miles) is currently displayed on the odometer. The engine turns over without any ominous noises and the machine should require relatively little effort to bring back to near concours standard. Offered with its original Thai import documents, it represents a possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the serious Kawasaki collector to acquire the model that founded the marque. No reserve.
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