Yamaha’s miniature SR400 fuel tank marks over 40 years of production having ended

In 2021 we reported on the sad end of the Yamaha SR400, a beloved motorcycle that had been in production for 43 years. Not only did it have a long life but Yamaha kept it remarkably faithful to the 1978 model, keeping in tact cues like a glass headlight, spoked wheels, analog gauges, a kickstarter, and more right up until the very end. To commemorate the SR400’s life, Yamaha will produce a limited run of 1/6-scale SR500 fuel tanks made in the very factory that built the bikes.

Although the SR400 ended production in 2021, love for the bike remained strong, Yamaha says. So the company wanted to create a tribute as a thank you to the bike’s many loyal fans. The 1/6 fuel tanks measure 3.9 inches in length, 1.6 inches tall, and 1.8 inches wide.

Yamaha says it took great pains to replicate the fuel tank on such a small scale. It’s made from the same SPCE steel from a cold-rolled sheet with galvanized surface as the actual fuel tanks. The tank is constructed of three pressed pieces that are molded, cut, and joined together.

However, getting the shape right meant more than just shrinking it down. They had to subtly tweak the shape of the tank to prevent deformations during the stamping process. All the while engineers expended painstaking effort to keep subtle, barely visible details like the slight bulge in front of the fuel filler and the flange between the outer halves.

Each tanks is then sanded by hand before being painted in Yamaha Black. The Sunburst dark bronze effect that was used on the last 1,000 Final Edition Limited Edition SR400s are applied by water slide decals before the tanks are finished, all on the same production line as the full-size motorcycle tanks.

“I am once again in awe of the wisdom and hard work of our predecessors who were able to create such a beautiful tank in 1978, when machine tools were limited and processing technology was still in its infancy,” said one of the engineers working on the 1/6 fuel tank project.

Yamaha will produce only 300 of the miniature tank replicas. each will be serially numbered though buyers will not be able to choose their number. Each one will cost ¥18,000 (USD $120) and they’re limited to one per customer. As you might expect, they’re only available in Japan. You can order them from Yamaha’s website when they go on sale Wednesday, November 29 at noon local time.

Japanese companies will often commemorate a storied production with special items like this. It reminds us of the final run of hand-built EJ20 engines from Subaru. For those not well-versed in two-wheelers, the Paris-Dakar-winning Yamaha SR400 is every bit as important an icon. It is sorely missed, but this small-scale piece of Japanese manufacturing at its finest serves as an excellent reminder that fits on your desktop.

This post is filed under: Motorcycles and
tagged: , .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *