In a world of constant internet auctions, where everything is available for sale, where rarity itself is, well, rare, a few motorcycles still hide away, known to a few, but rarely if ever seen and certainly never offered for sale, then, out of the blue, one pops up, a 1980 Egli 1MRD Turbo Kawasaki.
Eleven years ago I wrote about one of these, referring to a Cycle magazine article from 1988. It was a beast. As I wrote then:
… (it is) based on a Kawasaki GPz1100 engine. The engine was built with a lot of new components, a Hoeckle chrome moly crankshaft, Mahle pistons set up for 7.05:1 compression and a Mr Turbo RayJay turbocharger. A single 38mm Mikuni feeds the 106 octane race gas. A 50/50 mix of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol is injected for cooling. There’s nitrous, too.
How did it perform?
Gearing is pretty tall to take advantage of the engine, first gear is good for 90mph, second gets you 129mph and there’s three more left after that in the stock GPz gearbox. When Ken Vreeke of Cycle magazine tested this for their August 1988 issue, the bike had a few problems with the clutch and a malfunctioning wastegate that limited the turbo to “only” 12 pounds instead of the designed 15, plus a high altitude track and 100 degree heat. Still, it pulled 10.33 seconds at 151mph in the quarter.
The one offered here seems somewhat different than the one reviewed in the magazine, primarily in the tail section, with a tandem seat instead of the single seat version in Cycle, which contained a readily apparent nitrous bottle. A better photo of the rear would be necessary to see how this one is configured. Full fairing, too. The engine is also described as a Z1 which differs from the GPz in the review bike. How similar is the rest of the bike? Hard to say, but it appears Egli followed the same general template. Readers more familiar with Egli bikes may be able to fill in the details.
A note I received from France gives the particulars:
Built in 1980 by Fritz Egli in Switzerland, this bike is one of some 7 or 8 originals produced.
Serial Number is EVK-9CT-950JK
Kawasaki Z1 engine, 1250cc, turbo, 180 horse power.
Two owners from new in France 1980-2007 and 2007-2017 original 10.343 kms.
All original and excellent running order with fresh rebuild engine.
Estimate value at Auction : 45.000 / 55.000 €
However, the description on the auction website gives a better feel of what we’re dealing with here:
The motorcycle presented is one of the very first, among only eight copies produced. It was sold in 1980 by Fritz Egli who came to deliver it to a French friend who had ordered it. Legend has it that it is for a price equivalent to that of a Rolls-Royce. Like a rare perfume with a forgotten formula that one drunk by admiring the bottle, used regularly but sparingly by its owner, the motorcycle today has only 10.343 km since new. The mechanics were nevertheless totally dismantled, carefully inspected and refurbished with great care, just recently, in order to give back to this fabulous machine a second youth. This legendary bike is now in perfect working order.
This really is a very rare opportunity to acquire one of these and I have no idea how many of the few that were built still exist and when, or if, another will become available. There are probably more than a few collectors that would love to squirrel it away so we’ll see what happens.