Featuring advanced Kawasaki technology, the Z1 completely redefined the world of high-performance motorcycling. During development its code name was New York Steak. The letter Z was chosen because as the last letter of the alphabet it represented the most extreme, and the 1 stood for number one in the world. The Z1 was the first mass-production sports bike to feature a DOHC, 4-cylinder engine — technology found only on factory racing machines or limited production sports bikes. Displacing 903 cc, the Z1 was not only the fastest production motorcycle of its era, its reliability and durability were equally impressive. Four mufflers accentuated the Z1's slim, sexy and sleek design. The Z1 became a huge sales success in its target market of North America and also in Europe, and was equally successful on the racetrack. Thus began the legend of Z — a legend that continues to this day. ...
Read more on the original KAWASAKI site: The History of Z