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Prehistory of the Estrella

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The History of
Kawasaki and Meguro

Before WW II Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI), which came from a shipyard, mainly produced big ships, aircrafts and machines for the heavy industry.

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien called »Toni«

After Japan had lost WW II, KHI was forbidden to produce aircrafts by the Allied Forces. So with its free capacities, the Kawasaki Aircraft Co. Ltd. decided to build motors for the motorcycle industry instead.
In 1954 KHI brought its first selfmade 125 cc motorcycle into the market under the brand Meihatsu.
In the late 50s KHI entered into a business relationship with Meguro Works, the No. 2 in building motorcycles at that time in Japan and called »king of four strokes«. Mergo had become the second biggest motorcycle producer by having a good relationship with the government, and took advantage of the army orders in WW II. The business relationship between KHI and Meguro lead to a full merger in 1962. The new company was named Kawasaki Motor Sales Co. and was the forerunner of Kawasaki Motorcycle Co. Ltd..
Japan once had about 100 motorcycle producers but only four big companies survived - and Kawasaki was one of them ...
 

The »MW« sign appearing in all the four logos  stands for »Meguro Works«

The Meguro 250 - Forefather of the Estrella

One of the motorcycles of Meguro Works was the 1 cylinder Meguro 250 - which might be named the forefather of the Estrella.
The first versions were already built and sold by Meguro in the 1950s. The production lasted until the middle of the 1960s. After the merge of Meguro and Kawasaki the emblems on the tank changed. Kawasaki’s »snail logo« goes back to the Meguro wings - and the sign on the white flag is nothing but the “MW” of Meguro Works.
Both the look and power orientated on British and German motorcycles of that time. Japanese engineers visited european factories and copied by permission.

1965 Meguro 250

The data of this 1965 Meguro SG may look familiar to you...

cubic cap.

248 cm³

cylinder

1 cyl. 4 stroke

power

18 PS / 7000 rpm

Vmax

130 km/h

weight

160 kg

1962 Meguro 250 with the old tank emblem

The 1960s another »big« 2 cylinder model with 500 cc appeared on the market. The K1 was the predecessor of the W1 - and by this of the W650. But this is another story ...

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