1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special  Frame no. 2V0-003536 Engine no. 2V0-003536

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Lot 129
1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special
Frame no. 2V0-003536 Engine no. 2V0-003536

US$ 15,000 - 17,000
£ 11,000 - 13,000
1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special
Frame no. 2V0-003536
Engine no. 2V0-003536
• Unrestored, showroom-stock condition
• Showing just 63 miles from new
• Last of the air-cooled RD two-strokes

To find any Yamaha RD in virtually intact, showroom-stock condition is a rarity, let alone one like this RD400F that shows just 63 miles! Yamaha's 1970s 'pocket rocket' two-strokes were invariably ridden hard, their modus operandi usually including wheelie-popping getaways and heeled-over cornering, sparks aflying.

The Yamaha two-stroke's deserved reputation as a giant-killer took wing in 1970 with the 350cc R5, instantly hailed by the press and its owners as an ideal middleweight sportster with lively power and excellent handling. In 1973 the RD350 was introduced, with six-speed gearbox, reed-valve induction and front disc brake. In 1976 the engine was enlarged, giving us the RD400, a machine to be reckoned with on any stretch of twisty tarmac. Among the 400's detail changes was a more forward-mounted engine, intended to reduce the tendency to wheelie. Yamaha's effort to keep the front wheel down came to naught, however, which didn't seem to bother prospective clients one bit. Cult status followed, and RD400s in fine condition today have become sought-after collectibles.

The 1979 RD400F was the last of the line, a one-year-only model, before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency forever put the kibosh an air-cooled two-stroke street bikes. To everyone's surprise, the 400F sneaked past the EPA's increasingly stringent anti-pollution regulations via a clever system of vacuum-activated butterfly valves within the exhaust system to reduce hydrocarbon emissions under deceleration. One color scheme was available, white with a red stripe, Yamaha's international racing colors, echoed by a new model name, Daytona Special.

Other changes only enhanced the Daytona Special's backroad prowess, in particular 1mm thicker fork tubes, larger brake rotors and footpeg mounts that no longer looped beneath the mufflers, dramatically increasing cornering clearance. Cycle had nothing but praise for the bike, even if it was the RD's last hurrah. "If it turns out that the buck stops with F," they wrote, "that Yamaha will be satisfied with this one great last thumb in the eye of the EPA and hereafter call it quits, then at least the RD series will have ended gloriously, with a bang, a hoot and an irreverent four-gear wheelie right across the bow of the establishment. As a raffish partner in crime, it is absolutely damn dead-center perfect."

It is indeed fortunate then that this RD400F was barely ridden and tucked away in storage for most of its 40 years. All original equipment remains in place with the exception of the age-checked Yokohama tires, replaced with new classic-pattern Heidenaus, through the originals are included in the sale. In the current owner's care, the Yamaha was ridden a couple of times on short jaunts and then put on static display. Refreshing the battery and a simple recommissioning would be all that is required if the new owner should want to add any more miles to the RD's odometer.

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.
Contacts
1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special  Frame no. 2V0-003536 Engine no. 2V0-003536
1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special  Frame no. 2V0-003536 Engine no. 2V0-003536
1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special  Frame no. 2V0-003536 Engine no. 2V0-003536
1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special  Frame no. 2V0-003536 Engine no. 2V0-003536
Auction information

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PLEASE NOTE: THE BUYER'S PREMIUM FOR THIS AUCTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

For MOTORCYCLE property (Lots 101-211) the premium is 15% on the first $100,000 of the bid price and 10% on any amount of the hammer price exceeding $100,000. Buyers are required to pay any applicable import duty, sales or use tax, as the case may be.

For MEMORABILIA property (Lots 1-16) the premium is 27.5% on the first $3,000 of the bid price, 25% on the amount above $3,000 up to and including $400,000, 20% on the amount above $400,000 up to and including $4,000,000, and 13.9% of any amount which exceeds $4,000,000.

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