The ex-works prototype, Kurt Nicoll,1983 Kawasaki KX500 Moto-Crosser Frame no. 012

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Lot 245
The ex-works prototype, Kurt Nicoll,1983 Kawasaki KX500 Moto-Crosser
Frame no. 012

€ 20,000 - 26,000
US$ 22,000 - 29,000
Amended
The ex-works prototype, Kurt Nicoll
1983 Kawasaki KX500 Moto-Crosser
Frame no. 012
Kawasaki's legendary KX500 moto-crosser was first introduced, in air-cooled form, in 1983. Water-cooling arrived in 1985 and the KX500 became the fastest machine in its class, an honour it would contest for several years with Honda's even more aggressive CR500. The Honda challenge eventually faded, as did that of KTM, leaving the big Kwacker as the only 500cc two-stroke moto-crosser in production by the Century's end. When manufacture finally ceased at the end of 2004, this exceptional competition motorcycle had been in production for more than 20 years. But in all that time a KX500 never won a World Championship, although GB's Kurt Nicoll managed a 2nd place in 1988 and won the British Championship that same year. In the USA the KX500 won several AMA National Moto-Cross Championships but it was as a desert racer that the big Kawasaki really excelled, dominating a sport where its combination of unmatched power and amazing high-speed stability made it all but unbeatable.

Dating from 1983, this KX500 is a very rare factory prototype and unlike the contemporary customer version has a water-cooled engine, making it Kawasaki's first 500cc moto-crosser with this feature. Boasting magnesium crankcases and a works-only piston, it shares few features with the air-cooled model. Only four of these works 500s were built for the 1983 season, two going to the USA and two to Europe for 'Team Green' factory riders Dave Watson and Kurt Nicoll. They were true 'tool-room specials', incorporating lightweight materials and a host of hand-fabricated parts not found on the production versions that followed in 1985. Noteworthy features include works Kayaba suspension front/rear, and special frame, swingarm, Uni-Track links, radiators, air box, exhaust system, bodywork, etc. The current owner purchased the ex-Nicoll KX500 from an Italian motorcycle dealer in November 2011. That same year the machine featured in VMX magazine (issue 48, copy available) together with Kurt's 1987 and 1989 works Kawasakis.

Footnotes

  • Prototype ex usine de Kurt Nicoll
    Kawasaki KX500 de cross 1983
    Cadre n° 012

    La légendaire machine de cross KX500 de Kawasaki fut introduite initialement en version refroidie par air en 1983. Le refroidissement liquide arriva en 1985 et la KX500 devint la machine la plus rapide dans sa catégorie, réputation qu'elle disputa pendant des années à la CR500 encore plus agressive de Honda. Le défi Honda finit par disparaître, comme celui de KTM, laissant à la fin du siècle la grosse « Kwacker » comme seule machine de cross deux-temps 500 cm3 de production. Lorsque la fabrication cessa à la fin de 2004, cette exceptionnelle machine de compétition était restée en production pendant plus de 20 ans. Mais pendant toute cette période, la KX500 ne remporta jamais de Championnat du Monde, bien que le Britannique Kurt Nicoll ait réussi à se classer deuxième en 1988 et à remporter le championnat britannique la même année. Aux Etats-Unis, la KX500 gagna plusieurs championnats nationaux de motocross AMA, mais c'est dans la course dans le désert que la KX500 brilla vraiment en dominant dans un sport où combinant puissance absolue et exceptionnelle stabilité à grande vitesse, elle fut proprement imbattable.

    Datant de 1981, cette KX500 est un très rare prototype d'usine qui, contrairement à la version client contemporaine, a un moteur à refroidissement liquide qui en fait la première moto de cross Kawasaki 500 cm3 dotée de cette caractéristique. Bénéficiant de carters en magnésium et d'un piston « maison », elle partage quelques spécifications avec le modèle à air. Seules, quatre de ces 500 d'usine furent construites pour la saison 1983, deux allant aux Etats-Unis et deux en Europe pour les pilotes officiels du « Team Green », Dave Watson et Kurt Nicoll. Il s'agissait de véritables « spéciales d'atelier » intégrant des matériaux très légers et de nombreuses pièces réalisées manuellement et introuvables sur les machines de production qui suivirent en 1985. Parmi les éléments notables, citons les suspensions avant/arrière Kayaba d'usine et le cadre spécial, le bras oscillant, les liaisons Uni-Track, les radiateurs, la boîte à air, les échappements, la carrosserie, etc. Le propriétaire actuel a acheté cette KX500 ex Nicoll à un négociant motos italien en novembre 2011. La même année, la machine figura dans le magazine VMX (n° 48, exemplaire disponible) aux côtés des Kawaski d'usine 1987 et 1989 de Kurt Nicoll.

Saleroom notices

  • The Engine Number is KH12058. The Frame Number is 0012
Contacts
The ex-works prototype, Kurt Nicoll,1983 Kawasaki KX500 Moto-Crosser Frame no. 012
The ex-works prototype, Kurt Nicoll,1983 Kawasaki KX500 Moto-Crosser Frame no. 012
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