It may only be the first month of 2023, but in-person motorcycle auction season is already off and running. At Mecum Las Vegas 2023, which started on January 24 and will run through January 28, a fully-restored 1973 Kawasaki Z1 900 surprised everyone—even the owner—when it crossed the block for $55,000.
This bike had a comprehensive restoration from the ground up, and is in good, running condition if the new owner wants to take it out for a spin. The engine was completely overhauled, including a cylinder rebore and total rebuild of the cylinder head, along with fitment of new gaskets and seals. The carburetors were rebuilt, and this Z1 also had a Dynatek Dyna S electronic ignition, coil, and plug wire upgrade.
Once the engine was rebuilt, the owner had it ceramic-coated in black as the finishing touch. It also received a new four-into-one exhaust from Z1 Parts, new chain and sprockets, and a refresh of all the necessaries for the controls and cables.
Seemingly no stone was left unturned in the restoration of this bike, from replacement swingarm roller bearings to the installation of new tapered bearings in the steering head. The fork tubes were rebuilt, the frame was stripped and powder-coated in black, and a set of reproduction wheels from the U.K. were sourced and outfitted with new spokes and new tube tires, in keeping with the time period.
Naturally, it was finished off in that inimitable candy brown and orange color scheme, and new badges were also sourced from Japan’s Doremi Collection to finish off the period look. All chromed and polished bits were given special attention, and a new seat, wiring harness, and rebuilt gauges were all fitted to ensure that no part of this magnificent machine went unattended.
While Mecum Las Vegas isn’t over yet, this bike currently sits at number 10 on the auction house’s list of its Top 10 sellers at this event. The remainder of the list is mostly taken up by bikes that you would expect, from a 1940 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead that went for $71,500 to the current top-seller of the event, a 1931 Indian Inline Four that commanded $143,000. Interestingly, a 1972 Honda CL350 K4 Blue Flying Dragon also went for $71,500 at this event, and is one of very few examples of a NOS Blue Flying Dragon factory custom tank and side cover set known to still exist in 2023.