The phenomenon of Jawa or Jawa as you do not know it

Winter 2020, National Technical Museum, Prague (CZ)

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The exhibition of the National Technical Museum "The Jawa Phenomenon or Jawa as You Don't Know It" recalls 90 years of activity of the most important motorcycle (but not only bikes) manufacturer of Czechoslovakia, which has significantly influenced the field on a global scale. Fifty motorcycles, cars, trophies from races and riding equipment are exhibited here, mostly from private collections that are otherwise inaccessible to the public.

The exhibition presents mainly been never seen or little-known artifacts related to the brand Jawa. In the 90 years of its existence, Jawa has produced 3 million motorcycles and has become one of the few of worldwide known Czechoslovak companies.

Extraordinary exhibited items include, for example, the Jawa 350 type 673 road racing motorcycle, which was ridden by the most successful Czechoslovak motorcycle racer František Šťastný. A set of development prototypes of Jawa motorcycles representing motorcycles from the early 1930s to the 1990s is also completely unique. For example, motorcycles from the development conducted in secret during the Second World War or prototypes of the so-called Unified Series machines (the compulsory joint-venture with producer CZ imposed by the communist government) from the first half of the 1960s are exhibited.

If we have to chose our "best of show", that was the 1967 Jawa350 typ 673. One of the most advanced Jawa motorcycles ever produced was a two-stroke four-cylinder by Zdenék Tichý. The highest recorded maximum speed was 267 km/h. In 1969, it was the fastest 350 cc machine in the World Championship. However, the motorcycle was accompanied by technical problems mainly caused by the lack of good quality material and components in Czechoslovakia. A technical fault, along with an unfortunate coincidence, was behind the fatal accident of Bill Ivy, a British rider. The greatest success of this model was the overall second place in the 1969 World Championship of the 350 cc class.

Beside the exhibition, the NTM is worth a visit since it host some unique cars and airplanes. Some of them you can find on our social media acconts.

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Machine gun mark 7/24. Originally, Jawa was primarily an arms factory, producing grenades designed by František Janeček. Later, for the Czechoslovak Army, the factory modified the time tested Schwarzlose machine guns left over after Austro-Hungarian Army. From 1928 the machine guns mark 7/24 were already completely made in the Janeček’s Arms Factory. However, the demanding production preparation was not worth it because the Czechoslovak Army had enough machine guns and the interest in its weapon after the First War was small. Therefore, the factory was looking for a new manufacturing programme. This machine gun was loaned to the exhibition from the Military Historical Institute in Prague.
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1928 Wanderer K500. It was produced from 1926 till 1929 and it represented the top model range of the German company. It spotted an universal-joint drive, one-cylinder engine of 500cc developing 18 hp for a speed of 95 km/h. This model is interesting because thanks to it a famous Czech brand JAWA was born. After the model K500 had been discontinued, the production license was bought by Czech engineer Janecek. The original design was later developed into the JAWA 500 OHV with some improvement, e.g. the subframe tank was quickly replaced by a "saddle" one. It was produced until 1933
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Jawa 350 SV prototype (1931). The first attempt to construct a complete motorcycle directly in Janeček’s Arms factory resulted in the 350 side vel. model from 1931. The model was created by George William Patchett, an English designer who worked for the Jawa factory from December 1930 to August 1939. The 350 SV was a remarkably sophisticated machine equipped with an electric starter and a rear wheel drive shaft. However, after all, the motorcycle did not get into production. The reason probably was a somehow complicated design that would mean a high selling price. In the years of economic crisis, the market demanded rather cheaper machines.
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Jawa 500 OHV 1931. The Ing. F. Janeček Arms Factory, which supplied weapons to the Czech armed forces, looked for an alternative production programme after contracts from the armed forces came to an end in the late 1920s. The choice fell on production under licence of motorcycles of the German make Wanderer. This new product got its name from the first letters of the surnames Janeček and Wanderer, i.e. Jawa. A name which later was to become internationally synonymous with Czechoslovak motorcycles. The first model under this new Jawa name was the 500 OHV, nicknamed Rumpál (Rattler), but it was not yet very successful. It was donated by Jan Brožek from Třešť. Producer: Zbrojovka Ing. F. Janeček, Prague, Czechoslovakia. Capacity: 499 cm3; output: 13,2 kW (18 hp); max. speed: 100 km/h; weight: 175 kg
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1935 Jawa 750. From 1929, the arms factory Zbrojovka Ing. František Janeček in Prague made Jawa motorcycles, which in a few years became the most widely sold machines in the country. So, in 1934, Ing. Janeček also launched production of small passenger cars with twin-cylinder two-stroke engines and front-wheel drive, first under licence from the German DKW car plant, later its own design. For one of the most important sports events in inter-war Czechoslovakia, the 1000 Czechoslovak Miles race for touring cars, the Jawa car plant built six sports specials in 1935, which in this race won in the 750 cc category and also the prestigious President of the Republic's prize for the most successful team. Three had open roadster bodies, three were In a coupé version. The car in the National Technical Museum collection, renovated by courtesy of SKF Ložiska a.s., is the only one extant. Sports car with a water-cooled two-stroke twin-cylinder engine placed cross-wise behind the front axle and with front-wheel drive. Engine capacity 745 cc, output 26 bhp, maximum speed 110 km/h. Producer: Zbrojovka Ing. F. Janeček, Prague, Czechoslovakia
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Jawa 250 OHV, 1935. Jawa racing machines of 175, 250, 350, 500 and 600 cm3 capacity dominated most of the races in Czechoslovakia and neither were they discredited abroad. It was no exception that the same motorcycle started in different categories. For example, Jawa 250 OHV motorcycles have been used both for road racing and dirt tracks. Like the majority of racing machines, this motorcycle has been continuously innovated; so, the machine from the mid- 1930s, got a new rear suspension at the end of the 1930s. These powerful Jawa 250 OHV machines were still competitive in the post-war years.
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Jawa 350 OHV dirt-track speedway motorcycle, 1935. One of the most successful motorycle disciplines for Jawa brand are races on dirt tracks. The Jawa name already meant someting in this sport before the war For example Jawa won the famous Golden Helmets in Pardubice in all pre-war years starting in 1935. The first Jawa dirt-track machines, including the pressed plate chassis, were based on road models, later they got special steel tube frames. The exhibited motorcycle is the only surviving piece of Jawa dirt-track machine from the 1930s.
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JAWA 350 OHV from 1937. Jawa has been involved in motorcycle sport since the very beginning of the motorcycle production. The first racing motorcycle was created as early as 1931. It was a 500 nicknamed “Bedna” in Czech, which means "Case" in English, due to the large engine encase. In 1933, Patchett, an English designer and racing driver, prepared a new 350 motorcycle. But the variants of the model were soon created. Both for different capacities and other motorcycle sports disciplines. After thorough testing of the design on racetracks, touring motorcycle for series production was diverted from this model in 1936.
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Jawa 175 OHV, 1939. At the end of the 1930s, the Janeček Arms Factory decided to offer sale versions of racing motorcycles. The plan was to create a range of racing machines from 175 to 500 cm3 for private riders. Unfortunately, it was thwarted by the occupation. The company managed to produce only a small number of Jawa 175 OHV sport machines. It is estimated that some 10 to 20 pieces were produced. The motorcycle was remarkable for its four-stroke single- cylinder engine with OHV valve gear. Valve pushrods were arranged in an "X" shape.
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JAWA 250 Sport from 1939 "modular series". The Janeček‘s Arms Factory built its series motorcycles so that they were cheap and yet of good quality. However, as for their technical characteristics, by no means were they advanced products. At the end of 30s, a major modernisation of the production programme was needed. The basic idea was a modular design of motorcycles of different capacity classes using the set of identical parts. Both planned models – the 175 and the 250 should have used the same chassis which could have been equipped with a rear suspension on the Jawa Special model, as is the case of the displayed machine. These motorcycles were never put in the serial production and the design went on developing.
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1939 Jawa 600 minor. From 1934 the Janecek Arms Factory produced cars. The first model, the Jawa 700 was licensed version of the German DKW F2. From 1937 the company produced the Jawa 600 Minor of its own design. It was a very elegant yet cheap car of sophisticated design, powered by a two-stroke twin-cylinder engine of only 615 cc. Some 2700 pieces of the Jawa Minor were made until 1946. During the occupation, the project of a new car model, the Jawa Minor II was prepared. In the past-war years however its production was assigned to other enterprises and despite the great interest of customers, was terminated in 1951.
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Jawa 350 DOHC, 1940. Just before the outbreak of the war, Jawa had been preparing new road racing motorcycles with two-cylinder engines of 350 and 500 cc equipped with superchargers. Motorcycle engines were based on the design of the Jawa 175 OHV machine, but it was a two-cylinder now. The engine of the 350 cc machine had a very good maximum power of 47 hp. During the occupation, Vincenc Sklenal converted the motorcycle engine into a DOHC valve gear. Unfortunately, these motorcycles didn't have any opportunity to win recognition on a racetrack, due to the unfavourable time of their construction.
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Jawa 250, 1941. Some of the motorcycle prototypes that originated in the Jawa development department were not intended for future series production, but it was often just a single verification of a new idea. For example, at the beginning of the occupation, a Jawa 250 was made with an engine flexibly mounted in the frame by means of a pair of rubber silent blocks. The motorcycle is based on the components of the Jawa 250 Duplex-Blok touring machine, but has a new frame of rectangular steel sections, wider in the bottom part. Also interesting is the use of a five-speed gearbox. Gift from the Janecek Arms Factory
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Jawa 250 DIN from 1942. In the first years of the Occupation of Czechoslovakia, the development of new motorcycles in Janeček‘s company was still quite trouble-free. However, when Germany began losing the war, the conditions quickly changed and Jawa continued in an illegal development. The prototypes of new motorcycles were given grey colour and they used German registration numbers. Technically, the development of prototypes of the Modular series of 1931 continued. In internal documents from around 1942, these prototypes are referred to as DIN models, which stands for Deutsche Industrie Norm.
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Jawa 500 OHC Speedway, 1945. Designed by G. W. Patchett in the pre-war years ranked among the European top machines. During the occupation, Vincenc Sklenář continued in the development of these motorcycles. However, he switched over from the OHV to OHC valve gear. As a model for his new design, he took the English Norton racing engine. The new single-cylinder Jawa 500 OHC achieved a very good power output of 50 hp. In the post-war years, however, Jawa stopped developing speedway motorcycles, and so the development of these interesting machines did not continue.
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Jawa 350 OHC, 1946. During the preparation of new motorcycles and Jawa cars in the war period, several dozens of prototypes were created. After the war, only the Jawa Minor II car, the Jawa 250 and, later, also Jawa 350 motorcycles - all of them with a two-stroke engine - came into production. However, the Jawa 350 OHC was also very close to series production. Several such machines were intensively tested after the war and, in spite of their very good characteristics, it was eventually decided to produce a cheaper two-stroke three hundred and fifty cc machine.
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Jawa 500 DOHC Speedway, 1947. During the occupation, Vincenc Sklenář continued in preparing new racing motorcycles. The motorcycles were primarily intended for road racing, but it was also planned to prepare a two-cylinder supercharged speciat for dirt tracks. The planned machines were not completed during the occupation, and the smallest categories of motorcycles, machines with 250 cm' engines, were not produced at all. The remarkable dirt-track machine was not very successful. The high engine power (up to 75 hp, according to V. Sklenál's notes) exceeded the chassis abilities.
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Jawa 600 DOHC, 1947. Racing machines that Vincenc Sklenář prepared in Jawa during the war for dirt-track and road races were not successful. The only exception was a sole special, Jawa 600 DOHC, made for motorcycle competitions This machine, without compressor and equipped with a sidecar, successfully participated in the first post-war Six Days in Zlin in 1947. The motorcycle showed a number of technical problems during the competition. But thanks to the extraordinary effort of the crew, it reached the finish line. Thanks to this, Czechoslovak racers won the Six Days for the first time in history.
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Jawa 250 11 Pérák 1951. The risks connected with secret wartime development reaped rich rewards for Jawa. At a time when competitors were just beginning to assess their war losses, Jawa had a motorcycle ready which had no equal in its category. The new Jawa 250 was successfully exported from 1946 to almost all countries. This machine became the basis for the exceptional successes of the made-in-czechoslovakia motorcycle industry, and is one of the most important motorcycles in Czechoslovakian history. Producer: Závody 9. května, n. p., Praha, Czechoslovakia. Capacity: 248,5 cm3; output: 6,6 kW (9 hp); max. speed: 100 km/h; weight: 115 kg
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Jawa 500 OHC 026-P, 1950. After being nationalised at the end of World War II, Jawa was merged with former competitor Česká Zbrojovka (CZ) in 1949, and both companies came under communist control. Karel Janeček left the company - and the country. At this time, Jawa chose to build a luxury 500cc four-stroke twin - possibly to prove that in spite of the communist mandate to build basic transportation, Jawa could create superior designs. The first Jawa 500 twin - model 15/00 - arrived in 1952. It featured a unit-construction 488cc engine with dry-sump lubrication and an overhead camshaft driven by a shaft and skew gears. Valves were operated by rockers, and drive to the clutch and four-speed transmission was by chain. The gearbox featured a semi-automatic shift mechanism. Applying pressure to the shift lever disengaged the clutch, allowing the rider to shift gears without using the hand lever. This also meant the Jawa could be held at a stop in gear without using the clutch simply by stepping on the shift lever. Triumph copied this technology, later introducing it as “slickshift” in their own models. Honda used it on their Cub model, too. The ingenuity of the design, quality of finish, and attention to detail of the 500 OHC was breathtaking - certainly on par with other European manufacturers like BMW.
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1950 Jawa 250 DOHC, 1950. The beginning of the 1950s meant a new start for Jawa road racing motorcycles. G.W.Patchett, the former head of the Racing Department, had gone to England a long time before, and Vincenc Sklenar, his successor, had left the factory in bad terms. Their older designs were rejected and the Jawa brand started from scratch. The first fully new racing motorcycle was a two hundred and fifty lawa of the 1950s. it had a two-cylinder four-stroke engine with DOHC valve gear and the chassis was based on the two hundred and fifty touring Model 11.
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Jawa 125 NŘ I. from 1951. At the turn of 1950s, it was decided the two major Czechoslovak motorcycle producers Jawa and ČZ would both produce motorcycles of the so-called National Series. It was the Jawa brand that made it better and therefore new motorcycles of all classes were constructed in Prague. The development of a new motorcycle series took place in two stages. The machines of the National Series I (one) did not enter serial production, while those of the second generation are well known under the nickname of „Kejvačka“ (loosely translates as “Swinger”). More than one million of these motorcycles were made.
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Jawa 500 DOHC, 1951. The next step in converting the Jawa touring twin-cylinder into a road-racing special was a new frame with a rear swinging arm, which was atready introduced in 1951. The existing version of the frame, based on the chassis of the Jawa 500 OHC touring machine, already was at the limit of the bearing capacity of a touring 500 cc. motorcycle, let alone a racing machine with twice the power. On a motorcycle of this type, Jan Novotný, a factory rider, fatally crashed, and František Stastný started as a factory rider
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JAWA 250 Model 11 from 1953. During the development of the new motorcycles in the period of Occupation, the Jawa workers used several foreign designs. Jawa brand motorcycles with suspension according BMW patent and the starting can gear shifting levers on a common access according to the DKW patent sold splendidly after the war. A problem occurred after 1952 in what was then West Germany. Up to then the successful Jawa was treated by importing ban. Jawa designers had to quickly find a way of getting around the DKW patent. From January 1953, Jawa motorcycles with a common gear shift and starter level were supplied to West Germany.
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Jawa 250 DOHC, 1953. A novelty of the 1953 season was the introduction of smaller 16-inch wheels for racing motorcycles. Till then, considerably larger wheels with a diameter of 19 inches were common. The Jawa brand planned this type of wheels for touring motorcycles (introduced into series production in 1954). Smaller wheels were not the best solution for racing machines, but the promotion and testing of the new technical design were given priority. František Štastný raced with the exhibited motorcycle.
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Jawa 250 Model 353,1956-1961. The motorcycle of the so-called National Series sold under the common Jawa-CZ brand name and nicknamed "Kejvačka" - can be considered one of the most successful products of the Czechoslovak industry. A section through the 353 Model for presentation at exhibitions was made in Jawa. The original machine was continuously upgraded with new components so that it could present the up-to-date model of the Jawa-CZ brand at exhibitions. In 1965, this interesting proof of the development of Jawa-CZ motorcycles in the years 1956-1961 was donated by the manufacturer to the collections of the National Technical Museum.
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Jawa 250 Model 564,1958. At the end of the 1950s, hand in hand with increasing standard of living, interest in motorcycles was decreasing. Nevertheless, in Jawa they decided to prepare a brand-new model that would combine the advantages of a Scooter and better riding characteristics of a classic motorcycle. This novelty-called "scooter/motorcycle" - was created in several prototypes of various designs in the years 1957-1958. Although the machine was conceived in a new way, appearance-wise was based on older models and also adopted a not much changed power unit. In order to maintain its position on the world markets, Jawa had to come up with something even more advanced.
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Jawa 350 DOHC, 1959. The Jawa brand was most successful in the 350 cc class machines. Initially, this category was not much supported by the Jawa brand, and the Jawa 350 racing machines were often made by modifying stronger or weaker models. For the Jawa brand, the swift single-cylinder CŽ 250 Model 853 was a tough competition; the brand struggled to overcame this by modifying the two cylinder two-hundred model to a three hundred and fifty model, and thus had no competition on domestic tracks. It is noteworthy that in this way, a bit of necessity, the adjusted machines also did well in international races.
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1959 Jawa 250 R. This racing two hundred and fifty machine was designed by Jan Křívka. New was the arrangement of the drive of the camshafts in the engine head accomplished by a vertical shaft placed behind the cylinder. The engine power increased to 35.5 hp. The motorcycle reached a top speed of 215 km/h. This very successful design was further developed in international cooperation. The Jawa brand teamed up with the CKEB, a Research Institute in the USSR, where a series of racing motorcycles were gradually derived from the Jawa 250 R design. The exhibited motorcycle was used by František Štastný in 1959-1964.
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Jawa 175 Model 610 UŘ, 1962.🛵 At the beginning of 1960s, the so-called Unified Range or Unified Series of motorcycles were prepared in Jawa company. The basic idea was to create a comprehensive range of motorcycle where machines with different capacity and designs would use the same module components. It was one of the largest development projects in the Jawa brand history. A comprehensive series of prototypes was created which designs and appearances were not linked at all to all the Jawa motorcycles. However, the development results were eventually embarrassing. Only a limited verification series was created but refused by the customer. This motorcycle was loaned by Mr Jiří Příhoda.
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Jawa CKB S 360, 1963. As part of its cooperation with the Soviet Union, lawa also passed on to the East documents for designing a 350 cc racing motorcycle. The motorcycle was further developed in the #USSR and changed the ratio of bore and stroke.A small series of motorcycles named CKB S 360 were created there. They were even faster than the similar Jawa. Therefore, the 350 Jawas were modified in the same way. They were one of the most successful racing machines of Czechoslovak production. Several CKB S 360 motorcycles were delivered to Czechoslovakia and also used by Jawa factory riders.
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Jawa 350 Z, 1964. Newly designed engine and chassis. The frame was double and open at the bottom. What was interesting was the division of the engine block, where the dividing plane was in the axis of the crankshaft. The power increased to 52 hp (versus 49 hp for the 1961 model). There was also a variant with the head designed for four valves per cylinder. The last phase of the development of the four-stroke Jawa racing motorcycle was the engine variant with an increased capacity of 440 cm3, in order that Jawa could also participate in the 500 cc races with a better chance of success.
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Jawa 125 type 670, 1966. Until the mid '60 #Jawa was focused on 4-strokes bikes. Ing. Zdenek Tychy was early proponent of 2-strokes and developed an interesting racing machine, aircooled twin narrow V-shaped cylinders developing 27.5 hp. The result was promising but affected by overheating problems.
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Jawa 250 junior, 1967. The preparation for the production of Jawa Unified Series touring motorcycles was also reflected in motorcycle sports. In addition to the track competition and motocross variant, road racing motorcycles based on the unified design will also be created. These racing motorcycles derived from road bikes had to be made with single-cylinder two-stroke engines with air or liquid cooled. They were not intended to participate in world championship races, but mainly for lesser series, intended primarily for junior riders.
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Jawa 350 typ 673, 1967. One of the most advanced Jawa motorcycles ever produced was a two-stroke four-cylinder by Zdenék Tichý. The highest recorded maximum speed was 267 km/h. In 1969, it was the fastest 350 cc machine in the World Championship. However, the motorcycle was accompanied by technical problems mainly caused by the lack of good quality material and components in Czechoslovakia. A technical fault, along with an unfortunate coincidence, was behind the fatal accident of Bill Ivy, a British rider. The greatest success of this model was the overall second place in the 1969 World Championship of the 350 cc class.
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Jawa 420, 1970. A high mounted expansion chamber was added to the 420cc Moto-cross. The 420 had little success in 1970, as no Jawa rider places in the top ten of the world 500cc standings. The 1971 model 420 works Jawa featured a radial fin head and the low pipe had returned.
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1973 Jawa500 - 891. Since 1964 only speedway machines have been produced in Jawa Divišov. This specialization has paid off handsomely, and speedway Jawas are the world's best even today. A sport only for the brave is races on an ice speedway, where motorcycles without brakes but with dozens of sharp spikes on the wheels race round an ice ring. In this tough sport riders from the Soviet Union have dominated for years. In 1974, a Czech, Milan Špinka, beat them and became world champion on the machine on display. Producer: Jawa Divišov, n.p., Československo/Cze Displacement: 497 cm3 power: 38 kW (51 hp); max. speed: 160 km/h; weight: 100 kg
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Jawa 350 Model 679A, 1973. At the turn of the 1970s, Jawa developed a new touring motorcycle, the Model 627 also known as the "Alodel" which excelled with good performances. The Racing Department was given the task of deriving from this motorcycle a racing model, which would be a cheaper variant to factory racing specials The motorcycle was given a new chassis and the engine was designed with both air and water cooling. In addition to the racing 250 cc class motorcycles, machines for the class up to 350 cc were derived from prototypes of the touring Model 637.
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1978 Jawa 250 Model 672. The last Jawa road racing motorcycle was a two-stroke two-cylinder two hundred and fifty machine with water cooling and a disc valve. The motorcycle was again built by Zdeněk Tichý and was competitive in the World Championship races. Foreign riders also raced with this motorcycle and, at their instigation, the exhibited variant was created, with the chassis from the specialized British Maxton company. However, at the end of 1978, the Jawa management decided to definitively stop the brand's participation in road racing.
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JAWA Athena, 1991. In the period after 1991 the leading Czech designer #VáclavKrál prepared for the Jawa brand a project for a modern bonnet-ed touring motorcycle. In the final project, the originally considered four-stroke Jawa 420 model 823 engines was replaced by a small two-stroke, single-cylinder model 593 with capacity of 280 ccm only. The motorcycle was hastily put together so that it could be presented at one of the very first car show to be held in the Czechoslovakia after 1989. Unfortunately, a presentation of a non-functional mock-up at the exhibition closed this interesting project. The Jawa Athena never rode on the road.