1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211

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Lot 68
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2
Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211

Sold for US$ 16,100 inc. premium
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2
Frame no. KZT00D007204
Engine no. KZT00DE007211
• 'This turbocharged motorcycle should be operated only by a skilled rider...'
• 130 horsepower in 1978!
• One of only 500 Z1R-TCs made over two years (only)
• A 1978 Z1R-TC accurately upgraded throughout to '79 TC2 specification in period

'WARNING! This turbocharged motorcycle should be operated only by a skilled rider as the performance of the Z1R-TC may exceed the control skills of most motorcyclists...' so said the Kawasaki Motor Corp., USA, at the Z1R-TC's launch in 1978. Its reason for being? By 1977 Kawasaki's flagship 1000cc Z1R four was falling behind the competition. What to do? 'If your first thought was "give it a shedload more power" then congrats, you are just as insane as circa-1978 Kawasaki USA.'

The opening salvo in the Turbo Bike Wars of the mid-1980s was actually fired in 1978 by Kawasaki with this bike, an outrageously hot-rodded Z1-R that jumped the bike's horsepower output by 40bhp to a whopping 130 and was capable of scorching 10-second quarter-miles. Sold for two years only, just 500 of the TCs were built. It would be another few years before all four Japanese bike-makers entered the turbocharged ring with their Honda CX650, Yamaha XJ650 Turbo Seca, Suzuki XN-85 and Kawasaki GPz750 Turbo models.

That quartet of turbo bikes benefitted from factory development, but the TC came into being the good old-fashioned way: Kawasaki took a Z1-R to a California aftermarket performance shop and said have at it. That shop was Turbo Cycle Corporation, which sold bolt-on turbocharger kits for a number of different bikes. TCC fitted an American Turbo Pak compressor and its attendant plumbing to the Z1-R, including an adjustable wastegate that could be dialed up to a frightening 10psi. Sold exclusively at Kawasaki dealerships but without the usual warranty, 250 TCs were produced in '78, all in the stock ice blue paint with discreet TC decals.

In 1979, another 250 TCs were made, known as the TC2, ironically in a slightly more refined engine tune but with a blatant designer paint job. In deference to crankshafts and clutch packs, maximum boost was now set at 6psi and new 4-into-1 'snake' header pipes lessened turbo lag. But to make sure the TC didn't go unnoticed Molly Designs was hired to come up with the sinister black paint scheme highlighted by neon stripes. The late Rollin 'Molly' Sanders was in high demand among manufacturers for his graphics skills, coming up with Yamaha's memorable yellow/black/white 'bumblebee' scheme, the Toyota race team's longtime livery and later in his career the Lexus logo, among many others.

This Z1R-TC was originally ice blue. Its previous owner liked the year-later TC2 'Molly' black edition better, so he installed original '79 black bodywork and all the factory mechanical parts of the TC2 making this bike a 'completely accurate' stock specification TC2, bar the engine and frame numbers. It stands today as a TC2. The vendor advises us that it's in mechanically excellent condition, having been recently fully serviced, starting and running well.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this motorcycle is titled under the model year 1979.
Contacts
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
1978 Kawasaki Z1R-TC/TC2 Frame no. KZT00D007204 Engine no. KZT00DE007211
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