American designer Craig Vetter is best known for his prolific line of Windjammer fairings, sleek frame-mounted fiberglass bodywork that starting in the 1970s made long-distance riding on a motorcycle that much easier, prefacing today’s huge luxury-touring market. Largely for that accomplishment Vetter was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame, but the man designed so much more, including complete motorcycles.
Chief among those was the Triumph X-75 Hurricane cruiser, for which Vetter penned a swooping one-piece gas tank/seat/side panel structure. He had higher performance in mind when he hatched his Mystery Ship, though, one of the rarest of modern limited-production motorcycles. This was based on a 1980 Kawasaki KZ1000 but reworked so heavily that it was barely recognizable as such. Again, ahead of the styling curve, Vetter designed all-enclosing bodywork that would become common sportbike practice over the next decade. Foundation was a frame reinforced per Superbike racing practice. The plan was to construct 200 Mystery Ships, base price $9995, or about three times the cost of a stock KZ1000. Just 10 were built before a serious hang-gliding accident took Vetter out of circulation for a while.
Of the 10 Mystery Ships, this particular example, bike no. 6, is perhaps the most collectible. At time of purchase, buyers could choose between four stages of Yoshimura R&D engine tune, or they could go full-house and opt for a $1700 RC Engineering turbocharger setup that bumped horsepower by 40 percent. Only two Mystery Ships were so equipped, one for RC Engineering boss Russ Collins, and this machine. It rolls on spun-aluminum wheels, another factory option. Finished in “Dino Red,” no. 6 is exactly as ordered and delivered, amazingly with just 2 miles on the odometer. Having sat for a number of years, recommissioning and detailing will be needed to return this iconic machine back to the road.
Report by Bonhams.com