Kawasaki celebrates 40 years of Z series

40th anniversary celebrations of Kawasaki's iconic Z1

KAWASAKI is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Z series and the Z1, the bike that launched the manufacturer into the large capacity four-stroke multi-cylinder market.

Unveiled at 1972 IFMA motorcycle show in Cologne, the Z1 became an icon for the green brand with its four-cylinder, across the frame four-stroke 903cc engine and the four pipe style exhaust layout - created by Kawasaki designer Gyoichi 'Ben' Inamura and his team of KHI engineers in the late 1960's/early 70's.

According to Kawasaki's advertising statement at the time, the Z1 was created for 'expert riders who want to move up to a bigger, stronger motorcycle.' Something the machine proved in its time, as it was speed tested at 132mph, with a Yoshimura-tuned version hitting 170mph at Daytona.

The original Zed went on to spawn many Kawasaki models within the same UJM mould, including the current Z750R and Z1000 from the Z line.

To celebrate 40 years of the iconic Z1 Kawasaki is planning a range of activities over the course of 2012, including a day dedicated to the bike at the Ace Café Kawasaki day on Sunday 22 April and culminating in a display of the Z machines at the German Intermot motorcycle show in October.

If you owned one tell us your favourite Zed memory in the comments below.