Posts by tag: Z1RTC

Kawasaki November 21, 2019 posted by

Featured Listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC

Update 2.4.2020: This bike has SOLD at Bonhams Las Vegas. Congratulations to all parties! -dc

Update 11.20.2019: Joe’s bikes are being sold at Bonhams 2020 Las Vegas Auction. The auction is scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 23rd 2020 at Caesar’s Entertainment Studios, beginning at 12 noon. For information about the bikes and the auction itself, please visit – You can also contact Michael Caimano directly at 929-666-2243 or

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!!


Featured Listing: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC
Kawasaki September 19, 2012 posted by

First Turbo Missile: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo

For Sale: 1978 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo

While not necessarily as hot as a WSB-spec GSXR motor, this ’78 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo was pertty hot stuff before liquid cooling became a performance requirement. So hot was this particular model that it was not even a true factory Kawasaki, but rather a tuner bike sold in Kawi showrooms. Think of this as the Saleen of the motorcycle world.

We have posted a few of these bikes both on RSBFS as well as CSBFS, and they always gather a bit of a crowd. To modern readers, this is a dinosaur; a brutal “more is always better” approach to motorcycling. Those that lived through the experimental era of the 80s see this as the grandfather of the factory turbos. Both are right – and more. These early Z1R TC bikes have become serious collectables along the way.

From the seller:
this a american turbo pac z1r tc.this one of the 250 built and sold through kawasaki dealer shipsthis bike has 14836 miles on her.the frame and all black parts are fresh powder coated,everything on this bike is new or rebuilt,many many $ for NOS parts.the orignal paint is ok the body does have a few scratches on it.the engine is fresh 1075 weisco.this bike comes with a spare body[fairing side panel are off of onther z1r tc,the rest is painted z1r parts],the seat is a reprodution,the extra strip set is from reprodution decals,every thing works very well.I will have a atp turbo kit for kz for sale later this week,with the spare body and turbo kit you can have an orignal and a clone,I might be able to help with delivery? meet 1/2 waywhat ever it takes.the extra chain gard shone is near mint condition,the 130/90 tire has rubbed the chain gard on bike[bikes came with a 120/80 not much tire]the last pic shows a copy of the orignal disclaimer from tcc and the date at which he bought the bike,he was 1/2 owner of the dealer ship,the other signer was the other 1/2 owner.Glenn is alive and well at 74 years of age and remebers the bike well.

There are few who would think that a normally aspirated Z1R is underpowered given the late ’70s chassis and brake tech – but thankfully a few folks disagreed. Preceding the “factory” turbo bikes by a few years, the Z1RTC started life as a basic Z1R. From there, Turbo Cycle Corporation (TCC for short, founded by ex-Kawasaki Marketing Director, Alan Masek) bolted on a ATP turbo kit. These bikes were then sold through a limited number of Kawasaki dealerships sans warranty. It was an effective arrangement for Kawasaki – who recieved the press and performance accolades without incurring any of the warranty headaches.

These bikes are fast, rare (about 500 units made), and not cheap. We have seen BIN numbers exceeding $30k on some examples, making these true collectables. This particular bike is available via auction, and the current bid has just crossed $12,000 (with reserve) at the time of writing. Bidding has been moderate, and I expect it to pick up as the auction goes on. For more info and to peek at the frenzy, click the link and jump over to the action. Good luck!


Classic Sport Bikes For Sale May 8, 2011 posted by

What’s New at

Here are the latest bikes posted over at our sister site,, where we feature 25+ year old sporting motorcycles. Got an interesting classic for sale? Email me!