Vintage Kawasaki - 1978 KZ1000


1978 KZ1000 A2A

How I Got This Bike

  It's January 2002.  John Mishanec is nearly done with the KZ1000 custom he's rebuilding, and he wants to buy me out of the Jimi Hendirx drag bike that we share.  The 73 Z1 engine is in pieces in my basement.  If he gets the dragbike, he'll have two running bikes and I'll have nothing to show for all of this old bike stuff we've been working on for two years. 

  Scanning the ads in, I see a 78 KZ1000 for sale for $1,200.  No picture.  I email the owner and he sends me two 2mb jpegs.  The bike looks very original with just the seat, fairing and luggage added.  The photos are so detailed that I can see the rust spots on the front fender and the oxidation on the engine. 

  We exchange more emails and I find out that he's not ridden the bike much at all.   He says it has 7,000 miles on it, (almost unbelievable), comes with the fairing and hasn't been used in a few years.  His ad is from the previous fall and the picture seems to match that.  I figure he's had it for sale since then with no takers.  The bike's in Saco Maine.  I talk John into a 550 mile Saturday road trip.


Email from Saco




Fairing and luggage included

image02.jpg Saco, Maine

  When we get there, it turns out that the owner's friend, Bob, is a big fan of old Kawasakis.   It's clear he was the reason this guy bought the bike.  He'd owned it for 7 years but rode it less than 1,000 miles and not used it at all in the last 3 years.  The friend says he knows the previous two owners and vouches for the bike's original state.  He's charged the battery and got the bike started.  He rides up and down the lane in the picture, smiling and showing off.  I didn't expect the see the bike run or the battery to survive after sitting, unused in a barn in Maine for 3 winters.

  The bike looks even better than I expected.  Everything is there and original; the fairing is in great condition, the radio works, there are no dents or scrapes.  The side panels are perfect.   So is the seat.  The tires are good (the rear one looks new).  The rust will clean up easily, though the right muffler has a hole rusted out at the rear.  The condition matches the 6,987 miles showing on the odometer.

  While we're taking off the fairing and gauges to load it into John's minivan, he gets to talking with the friend who says he owns a few early 70's Z1s (below).  Bob then says he knows of some locals that have Z1R's that they might sell (cheap).  It's a strange, springlike January day in Maine, and there we are, talking about buying more old bikes.

2 Z1's

What we saw in the friend's garage

  Since there is no title or registration, I withhold $50 of the $950 price and tell the owner that once he sends me something official from Maine DMV, he'll get the rest.  I trust this guy.  He had called me first thing during the drive out to Maine to tell me about the missing paperwork and seemed concerned about this ruining the deal.

  When we take off the fairing, we find the original headlight still in place, 4 new, spare spark plugs, the owner's manual and the keys that fit the trunk and the fairing pocket.  All of the lights work, though the starter won't crank.  Just the weak battery, I hope.

Image01.jpg (310879 bytes)

Jim and bike


Ready to roll

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