It’s a Hirano, Pop.
Thank you once again for another excellent read in OBA 75. I read with much interest Kent Stewart’s article on the Japanese speedway. I can confirm that the mystery engine on page 66 with the “H” inside the diamond logo is in fact a “Hirano” brand engine. My small research shows that Hirano manufactured between 1955 and up to 1959. They were one of the numerous smaller Japanese manufacturers that existed during the 1946 to 1950 era. They were famous for their “Pop” models – the 100 cc Pop scooter of 1955 and the 125 cc Pop scooter of 1959. They also manufactured 60 cc scooters “Pop Manlee” and 125 cc street models with either single saddle or two seat options. The Kawasaki (K)Z750 Big Twin article brought back many memories for me. The (K)Z750B1 was released in 1976 in Diamond Red colour, with the
fuel tank stripes similar in colours and shape to the 1976 (K)Z900A4. The giveaway is the tight curve on the stripes at the seat end on each side of the tank. The front brake caliper is in front of the fork leg, and the front master cylinder is a round shape. The designation of “KZ” was mostly for models for the USA market. The designation “Z” was mostly for the rest of the world including General Export and European models. Back in early 1978 when I lived in New Zealand, the Kawasaki importer (Laurie Summers Ltd), purchased what we thought was an unwanted/ unloved/batch of 1977 Z750B2 models. These were in either Diamond Navy Blue or Diamond Brown. The fuel tank stripes were thinner than the earlier model, and the tank stripes featured a sharp corner at the seat end of each side of the tank. Again, the front master cylinder shape, and front brake caliper position were identical to the B1 model. These New Zealand Z750B2 models were hotly priced at NZ$2,800 and they sold reasonably well. I purchased a brand new one in Diamond Brown colour in May 1978. The NZ batch featured a yellow headlamp bulb which indicated that they were originally destined for a market with some form of fog or daytime light regulation. They all featured the very ugly long rear fender (the USA model had a much more attractive shorter rear fender). The mufflers were over restrictive, and they were so quiet that the whirring sound of that large twin with balancers was pronounced. We took to protruding a hole through the muffler baffles in order to make the big twin sound a bit like a motorcycle. None of my mates with 1,000 cc open class motorcycles could touch me in a top gear roll on between 70 kph and 140 kph; then the big twin simply started to run out of breath, peaking at 180 kph if all your stars aligned. There was so much torque that hills were the Z750’s best friend. The next year, the Z750B3 arrived, with Luminous Dark Green (my favourite colour) or Luminous Dark Red paintwork. The front master cylinder changed to a square shape and the front brake caliper was now behind the fork leg. Pricing went up to around NZ$3,600 before dropping back to shift the stock. The big twin lived on in 1979 as the Z750B4, and then the sedate big twin spawned a series of CSR and custom cruiser models during the early to mid 1980’s, with either wire spoke wheels (low cost range) or solid cast wheels (premium range). Tony Sculpher, Melbourne, Vic.