Off-Road-Spec – 1973 Honda QA50 K1

In Japan, Less than 5k, Off-Road, Small Displacement by Tim HuberLeave a Comment

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Released in 1970 on the heels of the wildly successful Z50A, Honda’s QA50 was an off-road version of the popular minibike with bigger tires, some different cosmetic elements, and none of the road-going bits. The first generation of the QA50 was dubbed the “K0”, followed by the second gen “K1” in ’73. In addition to being offered in different colors, the newer generation featured chromed tank accents in place of the gen one’s black plastic molding, and white fenders with colored stripes replaced the fully painted fenders from the first generation.

The QA50 featured a 49cc, OHV, four-stroke single paired with an automatic clutch and two-speed transmission that supposedly offered a top-speed of up to 30mph — though probably while being piloted by a small child. The mini also sported what Big Red referred to as a fully-enclosed exhaust system (with Krizman spark arrestor). With a dry weight of only 84lbs, the QA was incredibly fuel-efficient, with Honda’s advertising material claiming the 1.2-gallon tank was good for a 100-mile range.

The QA also had a telescopic fork up front with a rigid rear end, and some of the generations featured Honda’s patented “swivel-lock” handlebars that folded in, making it easier to stuff the mini into the boot of a car. Honda went through a total of four QA50 generations before the plug was pulled on production in after ‘74. While the Japanese firm sold a ridiculous number of Z50’s in the US, the QA variant is a far rarer breed. Far fewer examples were produced, and because it was marketed towards and primarily ridden by kids, many examples weren’t particularly well treated/cared for.

This particular 1973 QA50 K1 example appears to be wearing its factory “Hawaiian Blue Metallic” paint — one of two colors offered that year alongside “Candy Ruby Red”. The seller claims this example is original and in good condition, though fails to provide any additional details. While QA50 examples are seldom finds, the asking price on this specimen seems a bit steep, considering other clean examples sell for under two grand, like this example Abhi featured back in 2015, or this example from Bonhams 2016 Vegas auction.

You can find this 1973 Honda QA50 (VIN: A09439) for sale here on Craigslist in Temecula, California with a price of $4,300.

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