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Meguro History

Meguro motorcycles were made by Meguro Manufacturing Co motorcycle works (目黒製作所), founded by Hobuji Murato and a high ranking naval officer Takaji Suzuki in 1937. It is one of the oldest Japanese motorcycle company and became a partner of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. Named after a district of Tokyo, it had its roots in Murato Iron Works, which was established in 1924 had once developed a copy of a Harley-Davidson V-twin, an earlier company called Meguro Seisakusho, which was established to design and build gearboxes for the nascent Japanese motorcycle industry, and Abe Industries, which and had produced its own motorcycle and combined with Meguro in 1931.
Originally a prestige brand which supplied the Japanese government with military and police motorcycles and raced alongside Honda, Meguro (メグロ) became bankrupt after launching a range of lightweight motorcycles which sold poorly, and experiencing a year long labor strike.

Although the first motorcycle arrived in Japan in 1895, it was not until the 1930s that its own motorcycle industry started to develop.
Following the Wall Street Crash, Meguro had invested in Harley-Davidson and gained drawings, tooling and important knowledge of metal heat treatments in order to make gearboxes. These were then used in their vehicles and those of another early Japanese company called Rikuo (literally "Road King"). The resulting transfer of American intellectual property taught the Japanese how to produce motorcycles in quantity. In 1935, Murato and Suzuki built a 500 cc single Z97 model based on a Swiss Motosacoche design but work was restricted due the start of WWII, during which it supplied aircraft parts, and only started full production again in 1948, the Z97 being joined by 125 cc, 250 cc and 350 cc overhead valve singles.
In the 1950s, Meguro entered racing and built its first twin cylindered design, the 651 cc (39.7 cu in) 'Senior' based on a British pre-unit vertical twin design and later the K-series "Stamina" model, based on the BSA A7 A10 range, one of which Meguro had purchased in 1953. Its quality and engineering was superior to the BSA and it was described by Edward Turner, one of Britain’s most talented motorcycle designers, as "too good to be true". For the first time, the Japanese motorcycle industry was perceived as a threat. Its other models designed in collaboration with Kawasaki were entirely of Japanese design.

It raced the 500 cc overhead camshaft single cylinder model at the Asama Kazan speedway circuit in Tsumagoi, Gunma Prefecture. For many years, the company was only outsold by Honda.
In 1958, it developed a range of 50 cc, 125 cc, 250 cc and 350 cc consumer products which failed in the market due to being too expensive.
In 1960, by which time it was Japan's longest running motorcycle company out of the hundreds that had once flourished producing copies of European models, the company became affiliated to the Kawasaki Aircraft company. Firstly, in 1962, it changed its name to Kawasaki-Meguro and produced the successful B8 125 cc then in October 1964, seeing the commercial and marketing value of having a motorcycle producing division alongside its heavy industry services and particularly its already established marketing outlets, Kawasaki took full control of the company having learnt all it needed to know. Together, they started produced 'Kawasaki-Meguro Works' 125 cc, 175 cc and 250 cc single cylinder vehicles. The 500 cc T-series twin cylinder model was later developed as the 650 cc twin W-series. The later being used as official vehicles for governmental purposes.

Meguro Kawasaki SG
Parallel 2-cylinder 650 cc
Meguro Xenia T1 1955-1960. OHV parallel twin-cylinder 650 cc which is said to have had a strongest influence on the Kawasaki W-series.
Meguro Xenia T2 1957-1960. Variant of T1
Meguro-Kawasaki 650 X 1966. Prototype only, for the 12th 1966 Tokyo Motor Show
Single-cylinder 500 cc
Meguro Z97 1937–1938. The company' first model, a 500 cc OHV single cylinder.
Meguro Z98 1938–1941. Improved of the Z97, a OHV single cylinder 600 cc or 500 cc.
Meguro Z1 1947–1951. Similar to the pre-war Z98.
Meguro Z2 1951–1952. Meguro Z1 with hydraulic front fork.
Meguro Z3 1952–1953. Meguro Z2 with improvement to rear suspension.
Meguro Z5 1953–1955. Four-speed gearbox ("Z4" was not used because in Japanese its sounds like a taboo word, 4 meaning death).
Meguro Z6 1955–1956. Major engine improvements meaning it reached 20 horsepower and became the model adopted by the Japanese government.
Meguro Z7 "Stamina" 1956–1960. The last single cylinder Meguro.
Parallel 2-cylinder 500 cc
Meguro K "Stamina" 1960–1965. Exhibited at the 1960 Tokyo Motor Show. 39 horsepower.
Kawasaki 500/Meguro· K2 1965–1966. Kawasaki Heavy Industries variant of Meguro K-series.
Single-cylinder 350 cc
Meguro Y "Rex" 1953–1956. Smaller and lighter model based on the 1956 Meguro Z. 346 cc (21.1 cu in) OHV single-cylinder engine producing 13 horsepower.
Meguro Y2 "Rex" 1957–1959. A steel framed variant of Meguro Y. Output increased to 16 horsepower.
Single-cylinder 325 cc
Meguro FY 1959–1962. Sports model.
Meguro YA "Argus" 1959–1962. Improved version of FY.
Single-cylinder 300 cc
Meguro J3/J3A "Junior" 1952–1956.
Meguro J-8 "Argus" 1963. Changes to exhaust system.
Single-cylinder 250 cc
Meguro J "Junior" 1950–1951. Japan's first 250 cc bike. Rigid rear suspension but with a hydraulic front fork.
Meguro J2 "Junior" 1951–1952. A variant of Meguro J. From 1952 the model is equipped with rear suspension. OHV pushrod engine.
Meguro S "Junior" 1953–1954. The Meguro J series was upgraded to 350 cc and so a new model name was established for the 250 cc class.
Meguro S2 "Junior" 1954–1956. A variant of Meguro S with the first four speed gearbow.
Meguro S3 "Junior" 1956–1959. Best selling model in the 250 cc series.
Meguro F 1958–1960. OHC model.
Meguro S5 "Junior" 1959. OHV engine model introduced due to sluggish sales of the Meguro F.
Meguro S7 "Junior" 1960–1963. 12V electrical equipment with battery.
Meguro S-8 "Junior" 1962–1964. Last of the Meguro S series with rear suspension.
Meguro AT "Auto Track" 1962–1964. Based on Meguro S3.
Kawasaki-Meguro 250 SG 1964–1969. The last model sold with the brand name of Meguro, inspired the Kawasaki Estrella design.

In 2000, Kawasaki made a retrospectively designed 650 cc vertical twin motorcycle called the W650 which based on the W2 designed, which was well received. and a 250 cc single cylinder four stroke Estrella based on the early Meguro model.