1977 Kawasaki Top Fuel Drag Bike
Remember the 900cc Kawasaki Z-1 from the ’70s? It was the uncontested land-based cruise missile of its time.
Remember the big-bore kits that were available for the Z-1? They turned an already fast motorcycle into an absolute asphalt ripper.
But some people are never satisfied. Take Bob Davis, for instance. His idea of a good time was to take three Z-1 motors, each punched out to 1,200cc, bolt them into a custom-made 4130 chrome-moly frame, and see what it would do on a drag strip.
Davis single-handedly built the behemoth you see here, a nine-foot-five-inch, 1,045-pound, 650-horsepower, Top Fuel drag bike capable of launching a rider from 0 to 186 mph in 7.8 seconds over a quarter-mile.
At six-foot-five and 230 pounds, Davis built his creation to his scale. But even he had to lay flat out to reach the handlebars over the three engines.
The Z-3 weapon did, however, give him an advantage he’d lacked when riding Harley Top Gas bikes previously. There, his size was a penalty in running against smaller, lighter riders on bikes with equal horsepower. But with 12 cylinders and 3,600cc of Kawasaki motive force underneath him, Davis quickly proved the truth of the old adage: There’s no replacement for displacement. He won seven out of 15 races he entered in IDBA and Drag Bike competition.
He looked set to repeat that record in National Hot Rod Association racing, too, till a quick rules meeting stopped him cold. Apparently feeling that two’s company, three’s a crowd, the NHRA imposed a limit of two engines per entry.
To Davis, that decision meant 3,500 man-hours down the drain. So he spent the next couple of years building another Top Fuel bike that would meet the NHRA’s qualifications. Just as he completed it, the NHRA quit racing top-fuelers altogether.
“I felt they could change the rules a lot quicker than I could build motorcycles, so I quit racing,” says Davis.