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The Čezeta was originally a motor scooter manufactured from 1957 to 1964 in what was then Czechoslovakia, (now the Czech Republic), by the Česká Zbrojovka Strakonice (ČZ) company, which manufactured motorcycles from 1935 to 1997. Production resumed in 2013 with the introduction of a new hand-built electric version Type 506.
Types 501, 502 and 505
The original design of the Čezeta is unique amongst scooters. It is unusually long for a two-wheeled vehicle at 2 metres and has a distinctive torpedo-shaped body with a long seat that lifted to reveal a substantial luggage compartment, using space that in most scooters is occupied by the fuel tank. The front mudguard is fixed to the body and fully streamlined into the leg shields. The fuel tank is positioned above the front wheel, with the headlight fitted into a recess and a luggage rack on the flat top surface. It was a common joke amongst Čezeta riders that the exposed front tank with built-in headlight formed an explosive warhead and detonator for the torpedo, though in practice the Čezetas proved no more likely to catch fire than any other motor scooter, even in serious collisions.
The scooter was driven by the 175cc ČZ two-stroke single-cylinder motorcycle engine, giving a top speed of 55 mph and economy of 3.2 litres/100km. The engine was modified for the enclosed scooter by having a drive pulley on the crankshaft driving a fan by means of a Vee belt. There were four foot-operated gears.
The original petrol versions were given type numbers that indicate their features. The first production started with Type 501, then with advancements like a starter motor a type 502 was later released. The 501 model, built from 1957 to 1959, had the rear wheel supported on one side only and suspended by a rubber block. The later 502 model had a full fork with motorcycle shock absorbers. These types contain sub-types to further indicate their features, for example type 502/00 is a 12V model with electric starter, and a type 502/01 is a 6V model with foot-crank starting.
A three-wheeled utility version, the type 505 (or 'rickshaw'), was built starting in 1960. This vehicle used mechanical components and front bodywork from the 502.
A popular sidecar was also produced, though in limited numbers - approximately 900 in total - by Drupol in Stiřín near Prague. This was sold as the 'Druzeta', the name coming as a combination of the two companies names.
In 2012, a new prototype Čezeta type 506 was made. This new scooter uses electric power in a rear hub motor and is powered by a large bank of lithium-ion cells to make a high-performance touring scooter. A new Czech company was registered for the project (čezeta motors s.r.o.), and the čezeta trademarks are licensed to this company. Production of the new type 506 started in June 2013, nearly exactly 50 years after production of the petrol versions had stopped.
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In New Zealand, during the 1960s a local company, JNZ Manufacturing Ltd assembled the 'Čezeta' under the name 'N-Zeta'. It was fitted with a larger, 200cc two stroke motor. New Zealand production was from 1958 or 1959 to perhaps 1964. The point of New Zealand production was that high import duties were placed on imported motor vehicles. New Zealand assembly reduced the imported cost and hence the duty. Further, New Zealand manufacture of components further reduced the duty. The JNZ Man Ltd apparently achieved 50% New Zealand manufacture by value, with tyres, seat, trim, lights, controls etc. The 501 model is identified visually by a center skirt horn and dual exhausts. It produced 8 bhp and could go 50 mph. The 502 model is identified visually by no center skirt horn and a single exhaust. Output was 9.5 bhp, and top speed was 59mph. The 502 was available with electric start. Most mechanical parts were common with Jawa/CZs motorcycle range, except for the frame and wheels.
- čezeta motors s.r.o. company website - www.cezeta.com
- Gomola, Miroslav (2003). Motocykly ČZ aneb Strakonická Historie. Brno: AGM CZ. ISBN 9788085991253.
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