Yamaha wasn’t always a motorcycle company. In fact, Torakusu Yamaha founded the company in 1890 to manufacture musical instruments. But after World War II, the company retooled its plants to produce inexpensive transportation for Japanese citizens. Thus the Yamaha YA-1 street bike was born. This single-cylinder motorcycle, known as the “Red Dragonfly,” was so successful that Yamaha created the Yamaha Motor Co.
Three years later, the first Yamaha motorcycles were sold in the U.S. In 1966 Yamaha released the YDS-3, which was a hit in the United States and is one of the more collectible vintage Yamaha street bikes today. In addition to collecting the bikes themselves, Yamaha fans also covet vintage motorcycle parts, such as engine guards and exhaust pipes.