project: 1947 CZ 125cc two-stoke with a tank hand shifter

Completed! Just need to get a new or rebuilt magneto/ dyno/ flywheel. It runs though and looks sharp. Big thanks to Brian and the guys over at San Diego Small Engine for letting me use their shop, tools, and for all their time, patience, and assistance.


CZ started as a division of the Skoda works as the Czech arms factory, Ceska Zbrojovka. Literally in English it means ‘weapons factory’.

It is my understanding this is the same year, make, and model of James Dean’s first motorcycle. I even have the original title.

Links that I hope will help me along:

I also just found out:

This model is often referred to as the 125a. They were not officially imported, but mine was probably brought back by a US Serviceman. It is basically a prewar design. The next model is the 125b, which is mostly modern design. It has the foot shift and hand clutch with a girder fork. By 1949 the 125t had the telescopic forks.

Please drop me an email if you have any additional info that may be helpful!