Al Unser Connection? 1971 Kawasaki MT1

Shaquille O’Neal is six inches taller than I am and over twice as heavy and I can’t see him riding this 1971 Kawasaki MT1, but I sure would. I subscribe to the theory that if you’re embarrassed about your vehicle not being impressive enough for your friends, you need different friends. This tiny two-wheeler is listed here on eBay in Colorado Springs, Colorado, there is no reserve, and the current bid price is just over $1,500.

As was usually the case, Honda had a headstart on tiny motorcycles by the time the MT1 was introduced, but with 75cc compared to 50cc, and being two-stroke bikes, the little Kawasaki was a bit of a barn-burner compared to the monkey bike Honda. Although, they both had about the same horsepower. The MT1 was made from 1971 to 1975 and evolved into the KV75 after that.

The seller tells an interesting story about this MT1. They bought this bike from a famous drag bike racer who was friends with Al Unser and this was supposedly Al Unser Jr’s bike when he was young. They can’t say with 100% certainty that this was an Unser-owned motorcycle, however. You can see that the right rear spring is in need of some help and this bike isn’t currently in running condition.

There are stickers on it that the seller left there not knowing if they were put on by a certain famous person’s son, thinking that it’s better to keep it as they got it rather than totally restoring it. But, they did put on a few NOS and reproduction parts like cables, a tail light lens, tires, and tubes, etc. Overall, this one looks great to me just as it is although I’d want to try to remove that big sticker on the gas tank, I don’t care who may or may not have put it on there.

The super clean engine is a Kawasaki 75 cc two-stroke single-cylinder which had around 4.2 horsepower. The seller hasn’t tried to start this one but it turns over and shifts through the gears just fine. I have two tiny motorcycles that I have never had gas in and haven’t tried to start them, a 1983 Honda Motra and a 1971 Suzuki MT50 Trailhopper. This Kawasaki would be a fun addition but I need to work on getting all of my toys running first. Are there any fans of these small bikes out there?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Ralph

    yeah. Alice Cooper used to own my 71 Pinto wagon too. And my neighbors daughter once dated Newman from Seinfeld…
    nice looking fun toy though.

    Like 5
  2. Rik

    Oh my this brings back memories…back in the early 80’s, I was a Paddock Marshall at Road America, and we had to bring little Al and Michael Andretti both back to their fathers when they were caught zipping around the paddock area on scooters like this…I wonder if this was the one…

    Like 4
  3. Dave

    This is the bike you got when your dad rode a H2 to work.

    Like 2
  4. 433jeff

    Al Unser , Shaquille O’Neal that changes everything. This is now a horse of different color.

  5. Pappy

    Wow does this bring back memories!! Almost 50 years ago next week, my dad bought me this same model bike as a present when my first sibling was born. I was eight years old at the time and I can remember him bringing this out of a storage room at his work location… a store in the Antler’s Plaza in downtown Colorado Springs! What a coincidence, right? I didn’t have the bike very long, maybe only a month or two and I was given a larger bike (Honda Trail 70 if I remember correctly) and I am not sure what happened to the little Kawi. Additionally, my father was involved with the Pikes Peak Hill Climb in those days (held on July 4th) and worked the timing equipment at the summit. The Unser family was always in attendance and we attended Ma Unser’s chile dinner every year before the race. So… you never know if this bike hadn’t ended up going home with them and ended up now back in the ‘Springs. Great memories in any event so thanks for posting!

    Like 2
  6. Colin Smeltzer

    The 71 MT1’s were actually endorsed by Parnelli “Kawasaki” Jones. They were call the Dyna mite! Apparently his Indy car team used them for pit bikes. I have copays of ads and a poster but dont onow how to post them here.
    I just sold 3 not running, 2 ,71’s and a 74 all needing full restorations. The 71’s are quite collectable.

    Like 1
  7. Howard A Member

    Oh, we, as an age group, had a lot of fun on these. They really didn’t go fast enough to kill oneself, and even though they may have been street legal, not many were used as such. Instead, vacant lots turned into MX courses, and any injuries were strictly self imposed. We’d brush ourselves off, straighten the bent foot peg, and off we’d go. They could only take so much and were discarded like empty soda cans. The one thing about these small bikes, as we grew older, they paved the way for motorcycling for years to come. Great find.

    Like 1
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $1,851.

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