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Lot 174: 1969 Kawasaki 500cc H1 3-cylinder 2-stroke, a.k.a. Mach III 500

Motorcycles featuring Michael Corbin Collection, Bonhams & Butterfields (3 May 2008)

Despite that with the benefit of Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) they were possessed of the most substantial parent their motorcycle division still managed to arrive on the international scene several years after Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha. But, following the late �Sixties disappearance of Tohatsu and Bridgestone [whose tire side was noted to be making useful progress], Kawasaki very soon qualified for full membership of Japan�s Big Four�sometimes called The Fraternal Four by journalists! Kawasaki had already ruffled a few feathers overseas by continuing to produce BSA look-a-like 500 & 650cc twins after Meguro, the copycat producer, had been absorbed by KHI. Serious litigation was somehow deflected, most probably by confining the duplicated Beeza�s main promotion to Japan�s domestic market. [This bike, a.k.a. the W1, was released in USA for a couple of seasons, but it didn�t prosper. Today, however, such a bike is arguably more interesting than any of Japan�s �clean-sheet-of-paper� machines, dating from the same era.] Kawasaki needed a spectacular entr�e for USA and Europe, which was accomplished by creating a quartet of ultra quick 3-cylinder 2-strokes, in sizes 250/350/500/750cc.

Once on the market, where it was immediately renowned for its stunning acceleration, the low weight 500cc H1 rapidly gained a devoted following, never mind that the engine was too quick for the handling�s capability. Sports riders back then were possibly more forgiving, perhaps, or maybe its outrageous performance simply muffled any criticisms that should have been directed at the chassis and suspension? Whatever riders may have thought, having sampled an H1, or to whichever degree they had frightened themselves, the majority would usually smile, and say something like, �That�s some rocket-ship, man!� Kawasaki had created their first cult machine!

The odometer displaying 10,408 miles, the Mach III is stated by the vendor to be in an excellent and fully restored condition.

Without reserve

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycles featuring Michael Corbin Collection
Bonhams & Butterfields, The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number174
Estimate$8000-$12000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$5500
Hammer Price (inc premium)$6435
Year1969
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberKAFO1624
Engine numberKAEO1632
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors