Australia has a very long history with Japanese motorcycles being one of the first export markets in the world. Sixty years ago in 1957, South Australian motorcycle dealer W Frank Johns, owner of the Liberty Motor Company, was appointed a Yamaha agent with Adelaide having Yamaha motorcycles plying its streets a year before the USA and five years before the UK. Frank designed a motorcycle for the “man on the land” and convinced Yamaha to manufacture it. Amazingly Frank had world-wide marketing rights for the Liberty Yamaha Ranch Model with the first one being sold to a farmer just down the road in Lobethal.
To celebrate the achievements of Frank Johns and early Adelaide Japanese motorcycle importers, the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club has an exhibition of iconic Japanese motorcycles.
A Frank Johns designed1960 Liberty Yamaha Ranch Modelrestored to show room condition. The Australian Ranch Model was Yamaha’s first off road model.
See the first export model forSuzuki, the 1960 250cc Colledathat has linked front and rear hydraulic drum brakes and was sold new by Adelaide dealer Lenroc.
Yamaha were producing over the counter 250cc racing motorcycles in 1959. See the world’s oldest surviving export version, the1959 Yamaha 250cc Clubman Raceroriginally raced by Victorian Ken Dobson. This is accompanied by the verylast Yamaha 250cc GP racing motorcyclebuilt by the Yamaha race shop and has never been started.
No Japanese motorcycle exhibit would be complete without a1981Honda CBX 1000ccsix cylinder,1973and1975Kawasaki 900 Z1and a1975 Suzuki GT750triple cylinder liquid cooled two stroke.
Japanese manufacturers became successful producing small engine capacity motorcycles. Come and see the very unique1971Suzuki Stinger 125cctwin cylinder two stroke.
Specialised motorcycles called Cafe Racers were built in the 1960’s. In1985 Hondaproduced a nostalgia or retro version called aGB500 TTusing a 500cc single cylinder motor.
Restorers often have many useable parts left over. See what one enthusiast did with left over parts and how he created theTamani ADVR 550using a 1974 Suzuki 550cc triple engine and frame plus bits from a Yamaha Tenere off road motorcycle.