Kawasaki’s legendary Z1 was a fast and hugely popular bike made for the U.S. market. Everyone knows it displaced 903cc. What many of you may not know is the original design work on the Z1 was for a 750cc version to be released in 1970, which, due to the Honda 750’s introduction, was then changed to the larger 903cc displacement and brought out in 1972.
This photo of the appearance prototype, done in 1968 or 1969 by a small design firm in California, McFarlane Design, later Bartlett Design Associates, shows styling cues that would later appear on Kawasaki’s other legendary bikes, the 2 stroke triples.
As our source suggests, this could mean, “the styling of Kawasaki’s whole lineup of bikes through the 70s was actually developed right here in the good-old USA, not Japan AND that the Z1 was always intended to be DOHC, even in 1968 or 1969 when this photo was taken at Mcfarlane’s in Santa Barbara.”
This bike is also NOT related to the later 750cc Z2 sold only in Japan.
Thanks to Jeff for the photo and inside scoop.