Sunday, 9 January 2011
Meguro may well be the first "manufacturer" of motorcycles in Japan, tracing its roots back as far as 1909, to a small ironworks in Shibuya-cho, Tokyo prefecture. During this period in the early 1900s, there was a burgeoning cottage-industry of small-scale garage builders within Japan, cobbling together motorcycles from odd bits and pieces. By 1922, the early incarnations of the "Meguro" brand were now produced by a man named Osamu Murata, who founded the Murata Iron Works of Tokyo Prefecture, Japan. Murata's first motorcycles were either single-cylinder models based on the British singles of the era, or knock-offs of the Harley-Davidson Model J big twins. At some point around 1928, Murata Works adopted the name "Meguro Works," which was possibly chosen in honor of the Meguro racetrack located in the Tokyo ward of Meguro from 1907 to 1933. The Meguro racetrack was relocated to the west in Fuchu-Shi as Tokyo expanded outward. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Meguro was facing competition from Europe and America, and by the mid 1930s Harley Davidson was gaining in popularity throughout Japan. In 1935, the head of HD's Japanese sales division, Alfred Rich Child, urged the Milwaukee company to built a factory in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The new venture was called 'HD Company of Japan,' and the first model produced at the new facility was the 'Model VFE,' with the 'V' indicating its Far East origin. By the mid 1930s the Meguro Works was back to building European-type singles, as was the case with the 1937 Meguro Z97, which utilized a 500cc rocker-valve motor that may have been based on the Motosacoche Jubilée Sport's 498cc OHV engine made in Switzerland.
1958 Meguro S3 250cc single
Meguro K1 500cc 1960
The Meguro Z97 was the first Japanese motorcycle that was built entirely in-house, from-the-ground-up. Harley-Davidson's stake in its Tokyo factory was short-lived, and in 1937, their Shinagawa factory was nationalized by the Japanese government during a rising tide of nationalism brought on by a global economic depression. The Harley-Davidson factory was taken over by Sankyo Co., Ltd, adopting the Japanese name "Rikuo," meaning "King of the Road." The first Rikuo model was the 'Rikuo Model 97' 74ci v-twin.
Rikuo RQ750 1957
In 1963, Meguro Works merged with Kawasaki Aircraft Co.,Ltd., forming Kawasaki Motor Sales Co., which was the forerunner to Kawasaki Motorcycle Co., Ltd. The first Kawasaki motorcycles were the Kawasaki SG which had a 250cc single-cylinder OHV motor, and the 496cc ohv twin Kawasaki K1 which was based on its predecessor, the Meguro K1.
and the japanese are playing with them still.....
and a Chicara built Meguro....