Marusho / Lilac Models

Part 4: Prototypes, Racers Site Map Button

AS-71 Top View


AS-71 Cutaway View

While the agreement to produce the Galepet under contract to Mitsubishi was a failure, it seems that at least a small number of these bikes, which were almost identical to the Lilac AS-71 prototype, were produced. Three of the Register's contacts own such bikes. The Lilac version, in addition to being badged as a Lilac, had a cantilevered front suspension, while the Mitsubishi engineers insisted on support at both sides of the front wheel. To date the Register has not located any owners of surviving examples of the AS-71, though we know they exist because we have photos. See the 'Company History' section for more information about this sleek little scooter, originally meant to replace the Baby Lilac in 1961.

Final drive was by gears, the continuously-variable transmission being at the rear wheel and the engine driving the transmission through a belt.

Other Specs: 50cc, 41x38, 6.5:1, 4hp, 2-stroke (Marusho"s 4th of 4), 62.5kg, 70 km/h, 2.50x10.

Lilac C-103/C-105

This classy pair of prototype opposed twins of 125cc and 160cc was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1964 by the recently reorganised Lilac Co. and apparently made quite a splash. I believe several of these were built, as one is known in Japan and there was a reliable sighting in the US, though they were definitely not put into production.

C-105 Engine and C-103/C-105 Bikes

Factory photos courtesy of Kikuo Iwatate and Yosiaki Hioki. (Left) C-105 engine; (Right) C-103 in the background and C-105 in the foreground.

1955/57 Asama Road Race Bikes

SF3 and SYZ Race Bikes

Photos and Japanese text were taken from the excellent book 'Japanese Racing Motorcycle History', but I don't know whom to credit the original photos to. The translation that follows is courtesy of Kelvin Hiraishi, son of U.S. Marusho founder Roy Hiraishi:

"Baby Lilac SF3, which is a cross between a motorcycle and a scooter, is a popular 90cc model. Marusho Motors bored up the SF motor to 57mm x 49mm, giving 125cc. They entered this race with this motor. Most of the other competitors had a 5-speed transmission. Baby Lilac had a 2-speed transmission, which is the same as the stock model. They achieved great results, finishing 8th, 12th and 15th. In addition, Team Lilac finished in 2nd place. The engine was a SOHV and shaft-driven. Vehicle dimensions were: Overall 1790mm, width 650mm, height 935mm, wheelbase 1230mm. This was the smallest and lightest among all competitors at 138kg curb weight at the Asama Race. Shiro Ito, who was 15 years old at the time, was an unknown. He won his first race in a Lilac. The base model was a stock Lilac SY. He modified it by increasing the compression, removal of the air cleaner and fine-tuning of the suspension. As a result he was able to get more power."

As mentioned in the 'Company History' section, despite its looks and name, the 125cc Baby Lilac SF3 took 2nd place in its class in the race. As an aside, Lilac seems often to have named their models with a letter describing the frame and one for the engine. If this had been a production bike, it would have been the 'JF-3', following the JF 90cc and the JF-2 104cc. Engine numbers for this series begin with 'F'.

As also mentioned in 'Company History', the nearly-stock appearing SYZ was the giant-killer that, at least once, trounced Honda. In the oft-recalled race Honda made a serious effort and entered 5 bikes in the class. To be fair, one Honda did finish the race and took second place.

Marusho produced a model SR-ZII factory racer in, I believe, both 250cc and 350cc versions, for the second Asama Road Race in 1957. They looked much like Hondas, and had chain drive. In at least one class they came in 3rd behind Honda. Below is a picture (83k) of one of the SR-ZIIs from Motor Fan 1955, kindly supplied by Katsuyuki Inoue.

SR-ZII 1957 Asama Road Race Bike

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