Update 2.4.2020: This bike has SOLD at Bonhams Las Vegas. Congratulations to all parties! -dc
Check out all Joe’s bikes that are being offered at Bonhams. Good luck to bidders and seller! -dc
In the wonderful world of Turbo motorcycles, there are the “make your own” types, and the factory turbo offerings. But this special model, the mighty Kawasaki Z1R TC, not only blurs the lines between the two camps, it is also the very first in the factory turbo column. You see, the Z1R TC was sold through Kawasaki dealerships as a new model. However it was not (technically) a factory effort. The offspring of a mixed marriage, ex-Kawi exec Alan Masek convinced the Big K brass to ship bikes to his Turbo Cycle Company (TCC). Given the sluggish sales of the warmed over Z1R, this was no big feat. TCC applied an American Turbo Pak kit to the stock machines, and shipped the resultant mutants to select dealerships with a $1,400 premium tacked on to the sticker price. Appearing to be a factory effort – but devoid of the factory warranty – the Z1R TC went on to gain an incredible reputation for speed, on/off switch turbo boost behavior (Jeckyl & Hyde anyone?), and questionable longevity. For Kawasaki it was a huge win with very little risk. Today, these rare bikes are coveted by collectors world wide.
Featured Listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC!
The original Z1R TC bikes went out the door in stock Kawasaki colors; they were literally converted by TCC and kicked out of the shop. As the operation matured, several changes occurred. The first was a change to the exhaust plumbing and collector – in an effort to tame the boost. The next change was a new wastegate that limited boost to 6 PSI (the Gen I bikes had a fully adjustable wastegate). And finally the classic 1970s paint scheme emerged. These are all Gen II bikes, and can be identified by the “Molly Designs” logo on the tail section. With the new graphics the Z1R TC finally had the appearance to show off the induction upgrades. Today these Molly graphic bikes are the most desired of the Z1R TC set.
From the seller:
You should know that I am a serious collector, with a large motorcycle collection. I decided to sell some of the most valuable motorcycles in the collection. These motorcycles represent some of the most iconic motorcycles 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Those motorcycles are now being offered up for sale one by one. Many years ago when the best of the best was available, and that is what I was buying, these motorcycles were targeted for my collection by me.
In general, I do believe super rare Italian motorcycle of the 1970s and 1980s are the future Ferrari of motorcycle collecting. We all know what has happened with the Ferrari market.
An exception is the Kawasaki Z1RTC.
More from the seller:
The rare bike in this ad is the 1978 Kawasaki Z1RTC. To me it is one of the greatest and rare motorcycle you can collect. It is a very limited production motorcycle especially in the Molly Graphics configuration. It is unbelievably fast and has an exhaust that is a thrill to listen to as it winds up through the gears. I purchased this Z1RTC from the original owner and it has not been taken apart or restored or manipulated. The original owner explained to me that this ZR1TC turbo is a Stage 3 which is the best of the best for Z1RTC turbos. The original owner told me he took the bike to a drag strip only once and turned 9.9 seconds in the quarter mile and described the feeling by saying, “it felt like his eyeballs were pinned to the back of his head”
The Z1RTC is all original except for the upgraded pressure gauge. Always kept on a trickle charger and ready to fly down the road.
They are only original once.
I would suggest that you check out the other rare cycles that I am offering for sale.
Thanks for looking at one of the best!
While the Z1R TC put Kawasaki on the map, not all was tea and roses. This was a serious motorcycle that demanded the best riders. Boost was not easily manipulated and the remainder of the stock Z1R pieces were not engineered for the upgrade. The complete lack of engine controls that we take for granted (computer controlled fuel injection, programmable ignition modules, rev limiters) made for a very fragile existence. There was actually recommendations in the manual that new owners upgrade to stronger valve springs, weld the crank and upgrade the clutch if the bike were to be used aggressively. When was the last time your owners manual made those types of modification suggestions? But given that there was no factory warranty, there was apparently little to lose.
These are mean, aggressive yet beautiful motorcycles. They chronicle an era where experimentation and entrepreneurship could coexist with a larger factory effort. And the epic bikes that resulted from these strange bedfellows strike awe and wonder in the hearts and minds of viewers – and riders. To find a totally stock Z1-R TC is an amazingly rare sight. This bike is very, very close to perfectly original, and has a very limited list of owners. It looks absolutely pristine and clean enough to eat off of – should you dare to commit such sacrilege. For those in the market for something unique and special, few bikes can compete with this beautiful 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC. If previous listings of this model are any example, this one will go quickly. Boost on, and good luck!!