Yamaguchi Bicycle Factory Co., Ltd., Tokyo, 1914-1964
Quite an old company having been founded in 1914 and which produced bicycles prior to WWII. Beginning in 1953, Yamaguchi Bicycle became a motorcycle assembler using their own frames etc., but with the engines and transmissions sourced from Fuji Motors (using both FMC and Gasuden products) and Hodaka Industrial Co., Ltd. both of whom who also supplied engines to other manufacturers. Yamaguchi ranked as the sixth largest producer in Japan between 1956 and 1957, but then rapidly fell behind the big four as the 1950's closed.
According to the Japanese Wikipedia, due to continued declining sales, Yamaguchi closed down in April of 1963 and the business was wound up in 1964 and bouight by Marubeni Corporation and renamed Marubeni Yamaguchi Corporation (丸紅山口株式会社). In 1982 it reformed as Sanwa Bicycle Industry Co., Ltd. (三和自転車工業株式会社), and in a sense still exists today under the company name Asahi Cycle (no relation to Asahi Co. Ltd.).
Yamaguchi offered motorcycles under the Yamaguchi (山口自号) and Autopet (Autopet号) brands ranging from 50cc, 90cc, 125cc, 150cc singles through to a 250cc twin.
In 1961, Yamaguchi signed an agreement to supply PABATCO with a range of machines for sale in the USA, and between 1961 and 1963 perhaps 5000 machines were exported under that agreement. Models imported to the USA by PABATCO included:
- SPB 50cc Scrambler (1962/1963)
- Ace 80cc (1963)
The Yamaguchi Ace 80 was resurrected by Hodaka as the Hodaka Ace 90 in 1964 for PABATCO, who continued importing products till 1977 when PABATCO's parent company (Shell USA) terminated the agreement.