The 10th All Japan Motor Show, the forerunner of the Tokyo Motor Show, was held in the fall of 1963. Compared to other years, this particular show held special significance for Yamaha as it was here that Yamaha unveiled its automatic lubrication system, Autolube, which completely revolutionized 2-stroke engines.
“Autolube,” a combination of two English words “automatic lubrication,” was revolutionary for eliminating the system for supplying a gas and oil mixture to the engine, which had been a weak point of 2-stroke engines, and replacing it with a separate oil injection mechanism. Like 4-stroke engines, the oil and gas could now be supplied separately. The debut of Autolube freed riders from supplying the mixed fuel themselves, curbed oil consumption, and substantially reduced exhaust fumes.
Although Autolube was first used on two commercially available motorcycle models, the 75 cc YG1D and the 125 cc YA6, the technology was first developed at the track for Yamaha’s racing machines. Separate lubrication was used for a motorcycle raced in the France GP in 1961, providing a clear example of Yamaha’s history of developing technology through racing. However, around the next year in 1962, momentum was gathering both domestically and overseas for addressing the problem of environmental pollution, so application of the technology to commercial motorcycles was hastened.
The announcement of Autolube had far-reaching effects both in Japan and abroad. In 1964, the technology received an award for excellence from Auto & Motor Sport Magazine, which was published in the US. It also received commendation from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Autolube was literally an epoch-making technological innovation that was recognized the world over.