I learned two things today:
1.) Yamaha Motor USA has their own Tumblr account
2.) Before the Seca Turbo, Yamaha dabbled with a factory-supported turbocharged machine. Meet the “Turbo 1”.
Point #1 is relevant because it’s the only way I was able to verify point #2. On Tumblr, Yamaha describes this new-to-me machine: (they also featured it on Instagram, if you prefer)
“…a lot of seasoned motorcycle fans and Yamaha aficionados remember the Seca 650 Turbo, which was part of Yamaha’s U.S. streetbike lineup in 1982 and 1983, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who remembers the 1981 Turbo 1. Based on the 1980 XJ650G Maxim-I, the Turbo I was created by American Turbo Pak, with the newly developed Borg-Warner Mini Turbo as its centerpiece. Fully supported by Yamaha and available only at select Yamaha dealers, the Turbo 1 featured a special paint scheme by Molly Designs (creators of Yamaha’s yellow-and-black “strobe-effect” racing livery), patented “Spyder” 4-into-1 exhaust header, bar-end café mirrors, and a turbo boost gauge mounted right on top of the bike’s triple clamps.”
This example has a interesting story. Years ago, the seller bought out the NOS inventory from a shop called Popp’s Cycle Center on Route 208 in Walden, New York. They were an authorized dealer for BSA, Moto GUzzi, Ducati, Beta, Norton, and (obviously) Yamaha. I’ll let the seller take it from here: “When going through the inventory I noticed a NOS Gas tank In its factory box. The factory paint job looked like nothing I’ve seen before. When I had searched the part number it lead to a picture of a factory prototype machine, the Turbo I that was made in 1980/81…Along with the gas tank in a box I noticed a set of Grey Side covers that looked unusual, a set of low Black bars, Set a black cafe mirrors, a full ATP Turbo kit with exhaust. So it then became clear, that Popp’s Cycle must of received this kit to make a kit bike out of a 1981 XJ650 maxim.”
The seller decided to make it happen, so he found a donor XJ650 from the original owner with 9,500 miles and had the kit installed. He also had the wheels painted orange to match what he had seen in promotional images. Everything is said to work though the decals on the tank have not aged perfectly. There’s also some minor pitting in the chrome and some corrosion on one of the headers. It’s not a dealer-prepped Turbo 1, but it’s as close as I’ve ever seen!
Find this Turbo 1 tribute for sale in Fayetteville, New York with an unmet opening bid of $2,999
This bike-uriousity brought to you by John K!