Background[edit | edit source]
In the early '50s, after haein to replace the factories for the production of muisical instruments, severely damaged during the war, Yamaha wis facing the industrial conversion o factory machines, with mechanical precision, previously uised for the production o propellers for aircraft o the Imperial Navy, such as the A6M Zero an the biplane Yokosuka K5Y.
Equally to all European kintras, including Japan efter Warld War II, the motorcycle haed become a widespread means o transportation, thanks to the constructive simplicity an economy o purchase an uise. Japanese motorcycle production haein increased frae 10,000 units in 1950 to 750,000 in 1954, with over 100 domestic manufacturers.
Due to the strong expansion o the market, Yamaha Motor Co. decided to convert to the production o motorcycles, an foond in the beginning the need to grapple with high specifications, for customers with elite, rather narrow needs, especially in view o the reduced number o production potential.
It wis the beginning o 1955 when they presented the YA-1, a motorcycle built with particular attention to materials an assembly, enhanced bi sophisticated engineering, strongly inspired bi the contemporary model DKW RT125, an driven bi a twa-stroke, single cylinder, 125 cc.
In Januar o 1955 the Hamakita Factory o Nippon Gakki wis built an production began on the YA-1. With confidence in the new direction that Genichi Kawakami (Yamaha Motor's first president) wis taking, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. wis foondit on 1 Julie 1955. Staffed bi 274 employees, the new motorcycle manufacturer built aboot 200 units per month.
That same year, Yamaha entered its new YA-1, kent to Japanese enthusiasts as Akatombo, the "Red Dragonfly", in the twa biggest race events in Japan. They wur the 3rd Mt. Fuji Ascent Race an the 1st Asama Highlands Race. In these debut races, Yamaha wan the 125cc class, an the following year, the YA-1 wan again in baith the Light an Ultra-light classes o the Asama Highlands Race. This bike established a reputation as a well-built an reliable machine. The racin successes helped boost its popularity an a seicont machine, the 175cc YC-1 wis soon in production bi 1956.
Immediately uised in competitions, "YA-1 wan the victory in the prestigious race in ascent o Mount Fuji, held in Julie 1955, demonstrating that the model wis free frae defects in youth, except for the price it reached the stratospheric figure of 138,000 ¥, amounting to aboot 40,000 € in 2005.
The competition models wur aften painted the same orange-red military aircraft an the "YA-1" wis dubbed aka-tombo (in Italian, red dragonfly), like the famous biplane trainer o Yokosuka.