The Kawasaki Z1 Story
By Dave Sheehan ISBN: 9-781845-848071 Published by Veloce 256 pages soft cover RRP: $39.99 Available from: Available from Pitstop (1800 622422) and Autobook World (02) 9231 6713 Another Z1 book? Yes, but with slight differences. Subtitles, “The death and birth of a legend”, this book tells how the “New York Steak” project, which was Kawasaki’s code name for the secret development of their big four, almost ended up on the scrap heap when Honda zapped the world by introducing the CB750 first. Sheehan details the secret testing program in the US where a team of riders including Paul Smart rode Z1s disguised as Hondas across the continent. This is a book steeped in nostalgia, to the point that the author gives us a US-focussed retro trip through what else was happening in 1972 (the Z1 launch year), such as a Rolling Stones tour and various blockbuster movies. More than half the book is devoted to the process of actually getting the Z1 to the showroom floor, which is a nice change from the usual intricate model change detail of other books. The reviews supplied to us all praise the detail of this book by well known historic racing buff Terry Wright, who splits his time between Australia and UK. John Medley, author of the acclaimed Bathurst; Cradle of Australian Motor Racing said, “This is a marvellous book. You should buy it. It is filled with fascinating detail, a clear story line, broad and deep in its history and humanity, astonishing in its memorabilia and automobiliana, the author’s research and footnoting a model for other writers, the author’s hands-on experience in the field impeccably unmatched … The book is well produced, thoughtfully designed, and too heavy to read in bed.” From a motorcycling perspective, the book is also a solid insight into the V-twin JAP and Vincent powerplants, many of which were plucked from two or three wheelers. “Loose Fillings” is the name of a quarterly newsletter published by Wright and Garry Simkin dealing primarily with motorcycle-engined historic racing cars in Australia.