NZeta 350

Recently I was contacted by Ken, who was a member of the Auckland Motor Scooter Club back in the sixties. He had found the posts in relation to the NZeta 350 – An NZeta scooter that had been re-powered with a 350cc Jawa engine. He has provided some insights and some photos as below.

I was with the Auckland Motor Scooter Club probably most of the 60’s – they were great times, great social scene, many fun rides/rallies around greater Auckland plus some North Island touring trips – even some interactivity with the Wellington Motor Scooter Club. 

Conforming to the Flower Power/Hippie Era of “Make Love not War” also enhanced the experience of course, and I often think the world would be a much better place today if such values had remained – even the Hells Angels treated us with some comradery (despite the obvious difference in size/cc rating of their machines).

My first intro to Scooters was actually an old Vespa 125cc (the model with the pipe handlebars, not the later moulded cast ones). . . . .but I soon upgraded to a Triumph Tigress 250cc – A great Scooter and nice to have doubled my horsepower from the old Vespa.

Then some years later I bought the NZeta 350. (This was a great machine and if Sifty’s Dad did this conversion please pass on to him that his Dad did a fantastic job !)   So “Yes” to your Forum Members I can confirm it was a 350cc Jawa and it did fit. . . . .just !  

I say “just” because there was no Kick Start. . . . .I suspect there was simply no more room for such superfluous luxuries – yes it was a “push and go” model.  The only way to start it was turn on the key, open the throttle a little, run, and then jump on as soon as it fired.  Strangely enough I never found this a problem and it started very easily.  Perhaps the greatest danger was jumping on (or more precisely being left behind) when it fired . . . . .  it was much heavier than your standard NZeta and had powerful acceleration.  I can reflect with hindsight now, in horror, at the occasions I performed this exercise in the rain as I exited the Pub. . . . . ahhh the gay abandon of youth eh.  

NZeta 350

One of my great delights was to sit at the traffic lights with a normal garden variety Scooter in one lane, and perhaps an average 4 cylinder car in the other Lane.  To the uninitiated there were very little signs of the mods when it was idling.  It had a couple of fairly big shiny mufflers and sounded a bit more throaty than your average scooter but that’s about all.  However when the lights went green all that changed – the purr of a twin cylinder two stroke waking up is as intoxicating as a V8 getting underway. . . . .and at the next set of traffic lights. . . . .well just gaping mouths from both lanes.

Finally – a question – how many people can you fit on a standard NZeta and still make it move – answer 7 ½

NZeta Overload

Thank you so much for getting in touch and sharing, Ken.

About Jim

I like the simplicity of scooters, their classic design and the quirky people that ride and restore them.
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2 Responses to NZeta 350

  1. Blair says:

    Great info on the JZeta!

    Being half way through a slow build of one myself, there is a couple of interesting things from the pic of Ken’s.

    The 350 is tightly fitted if mine is anything to go by, had to panel beat out a wee bit in places, so cooling from airflow is not as good as it could be I guess. Just looking at the side doors on Ken’s, they have been modified to being pretty open really, the outer shape gone ad the inner fins/slats cut out.

    Also the rear brake is on the outside, as the guide for building a JZeta described. I am looking to route my rear brake inside the frame, there is a way I think, to have that a cleaner look, not that is really matters.

    I guess with today’s technology, I am going to fit an electric fan to mine, and possibly turn it to 12 volt so the lighting is better than crappy 6 volt can be, although I know they make brighter 6 volt bulbs these days.

    But great story and historic info here, thanks to Ken and Jim for posting it up 🙂

  2. Jim says:

    Nice one Blair,

    I hadn’t noticed the rear brake but the side doors looked modified alright. I think you will need a good fan/thermostat set up and 12 volt is the way to go IMHO.

    Where is the kickstart shaft in relation to the body? Is it in a place where a linkage or a wheel and chain system wont work?

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