Absurd 48-Cylinder Two-Stroke Kawasaki Goes to Auction

A wild two-stroke, 48-cylinder custom Kawasaki is set to be auctioned later this year and is expected to fetch up to £60,000

Whitelock Tinker Toy, 48 Cylinder Kawasaki

In the automotive world, the phrase “there’s no replacement for displacement” is fairly popular, and this philosophy has also been applied to this 48-cylinder Kawasaki motorcycle that’s set to be auctioned in April.

Part of the Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale, the Whitelock Tinker Toy is something of a cult hero by now, having initially been built way back in 2003 and done the rounds a few times already, including when it was previously sold in 2011, for example. 

We’re sorry to inform you that its date of production makes the Whitelock over 20-years-old by now, even though it might not seem like that long has passed since then. But time has not diminished the uniquity of this custom Kawasaki.

With its 48 cylinders arranged in a formation of six banks of eight, the engine is operated via a six-way split throttle. Making it fit in a motorcycle frame, and making it run, also took a fair bit of graft, with a whole host of custom parts across the bike, including the full exhaust system, and the whole front end of a Honda Gold Wing. 

Further, the bike’s fuel tank was moved to the bottom of the bike and now lives in between the cylinder banks, which allowed the original tank to take on a new purpose: by stretching and widening it, it was able to become a cover for the bike’s many electronics systems.

However, it’s not just the capacity of the Whitelock that makes it stand out. Not only does it have a displacement you’d normally associate with a V8 car engine, but it’s also a two-stoke, meaning that, whatever power it does produce, it does so within a rev range of about 250rpm. So, to ride, it’s going to be…interesting.

That said, even though the Whitelock runs, it’s not really the sort of bike to rack up the miles on, given its radical and experimental engineering.

So, if you’re headed to Stafford on 21 April and are considering digging out the £40,000-£60,000 the Whitelock is estimated at, it’s probably worth considering you’ll spend far more time looking at this thing than actually riding it.

But, if you’re after something you can ride pretty regularly, there are some decent classic options for you at the same auction, too, such as a Norton Vincent, an AJS Model 8, and a Triumph Bonneville T140E.

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