Original & unmolested, 1977 Yamaha DT400

Original & unmolested,
1977 Yamaha DT400

Engine no. 1M2 – 001584
Frame no. 1M2 – 001584

The DT400 was received with the very highest acclaim: an enduro that could go just about anywhere, do just about anything and do it with vigor. The DT1 250 had grown up and the 400 had become an extremely seductive machine.

At less than 300 pounds and with equal 24bhp and lb ft of torque the DT400 was happy on all sorts of terrain – desert, mountain, woods and wide-open countryside.

From the 250cc DT1 if 1968, the DT series was designed, primarily, for the American market, where the street scrambler was too much street and not enough scrambler and wasn’t as much fun off-road as it should be. A distinct difference from an all-out competition bike, the DT1 had lots of low-end grunt so preferred by the weekend warrior.

A huge sales success, the 250 had to go through the inevitable growth pattern, firstly to 360cc in ’71, uprated for ‘74 with all-new reed-valve induction and CDI ignition, and then a brisk release of the DT400 in 1975.

The 397cc 2-stroke single with 5-speed gearbox was a capable all-rounder, capable enough to hit 80mph+.  But it was off-road that the bike would shine. The suspension consisted of a fork that used progressive springing with three stages; the Thermo-Flow shocks at the rear had double springs and remote reservoirs. A 3.00 x 21 Dunlop Trials tire was on the front, a 4.00 x 18 on the back…though a 4.50 knobby could be squeezed in. The single-leading-shoe brakes were intended for dirt riding and could cause a mild panic when attempting a fast, unplanned stop on the pavement. Improvements and development lead to a mono-shocker at the back for 1977. The DT400 was kept on the payroll until 1979, and then retired.

The machine on offer here, has got to be one of the rarest finds: an off-road machine that was kept in truly excellent and superbly original condition. So many of this type of bike was thrashed and dumped out the back of the shed, covered with an old tarpaulin and neglected to return to nature. This remarkable motorcycle has spent its entire life meticulously stored and remains in excellent condition. Not a perfect bike, by any means, but a lovely settled patina on a lovingly and sparingly used machine, now with 5,200 miles on the odometer. Everything about the bike is original, but for consumables like tires. The paint on the tank is original and unmarked and the bike has that warm feel of an unmolested, well cared-for machine.

This matching numbers bike is a very early ’77 example, constructed in June of 1976. It has been owned for a few years by a local Southern California collector of cars and motorcycles. A meticulous to the point of fussy owner, the collection is kept in a climate-controlled environment and in top running condition. Freshly serviced, the bike starts easily and rides like new. The bike has good power and shifts perfectly through the 5-speed with a smooth clutch action. The suspension feels taut and brakes work well. All electrical systems work perfectly. Included in the sale is an original owners manual and the original pre-delivery check sheet from the dealer. (photographed)

This is a truly rare opportunity to acquire a once disposable motorcycle in superbly preserved condition, both mechanically and cosmetically. And it’s legal on the streets of California!

Asking $6,900

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