Motorcycle Classics

Heavyweight Honda: 1975 Japauto 1000VX

1975 JapAuto 1000VX

  • Engine: 969.8cc air-cooled SOHC inline Honda 4-cylinder, 70mm x 63mm bore and stroke, 8.6:1 compression ratio, 83hp @ 8,000rpm (at rear wheel)
  • Top speed: 136.7mph (as tested)
  • Carburetion: Four 28mm Keihin PW
  • Transmission: 5-speed, chain final drive
  • Electrics: 12v, coil and breaker points ignition
  • Frame/wheelbase: Dual downtube tubular steel double cradle frame/58in (1,475mm)
  • Suspension: 35mm Showa telescopic fork front, dual Koni shocks w/adjustable preload rear
  • Brakes: Dual 11.65in (296mm) discs front, SLS drum rear
  • Tires: 100/90 x 19in front, 110/90 x 18in rear
  • Weight (dry): 455.4lb (207kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 6gal (23ltr)
  • Price then/now: $8,460 (488,000 pesetas)/NA

It’s now exactly 50 years since Honda changed the face of motorcycling forever with the October 1968 unveiling at the Tokyo Show of its 4-cylinder CB750, the first such volume production street bike to be produced anywhere in the world.

The arrival four years later of the bigger, faster, 4-cylinder 903cc Kawasaki Z1 meant Honda dealers around the world would have to work a little harder to keep moving the huge number of such bikes they’d become accustomed to selling once CB750 deliveries got properly underway. And nobody tried harder than France’s largest Honda dealer, Paris-based Japauto.

Japauto patron Christian Vilaséca was an entrepreneur who, after taking control of his family’s large GM car dealership in 1961, founded Japauto in 1966 to import Honda motor cars. But Vilaséca also planned to cash in on what he was convinced would be Honda’s domination of the motorcycle market that would grow exponentially as they developed new models. History tells us he wasn’t wrong — and the debut of the CB750 was the first step in Japauto’s explosive growth, which would quickly see it become Europe’s largest motorcycle dealership, selling more than 2,000 new bikes each year.

Going racing

Once the first examples of the CB750 reached the Japauto showroom, supply was initially much more problematic than sales. But still, Vilaséca was eager to demonstrate that the new bike was reliable as well as fast, so he decided to go endurance racing with it. To that end, Japauto prepared a CB750 to compete in the 1969 Bol d’Or 24-hour race to be held at Montlhéry, just outside Paris. Japauto manager Robert Assante recruited two 19-year-olds — racer Daniel Urdich and an apprentice mechanic in the Japauto workshop, Michel Rougerie! Future GP star Rougerie and Urdich scored a fairytale win to deliver the Honda CB750’s first-ever victory in its debut race, finishing 10 laps ahead of a trio of 500cc H1 Kawasaki 2-stroke triples. It was the first time that any 24-hour endurance race had been won by a 4-cylinder motorcycle.

Order the September/October 2018 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 1975 Japauto 1000VX. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.

  • Published on Aug 8, 2018
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