Jawa Motors is a motorcycle manufacturer based in Czech Republic and founded in 1929 by Frantisek Janecek who bought the motorcycle production line belonging to Wanderer. The first Jawa model was officially rolled out on October 23, 1929 and it featured a 500cc engine which developed 18hp. At first, everyone considered it a little bit too expensive but during the next few years, it was dramatically improved so it finally became a major success.
The second Jawa model had to be cheaper in order to record at least the same success as its predecessor, so the cparent company introduced the next motorcycle dubbed Jawa 175. The motorcycles was extremely light, weighing around 70kg being able to reach a top speed of up to 80 km/h.
Because of these features, the 175 recorded pretty impressive high sales, managing to sell approximately 3,000 units in the first year of production (1932). What's interesting is that Jawa adopted a pretty difference marketing strategy, allowing interested consumers to test the motorcycles during exhibitions. Thanks to this thing but also thanks to the features of its bikes, the company managed to sell no less than 27,000 units by 1946.
In 1934, Jawa attempted to expand its market coverage by producing cars, releasing a couple of models, including the Jawa Minor and the Jawa Minor Sodomka in the 1930s. However, due to the start of World War II, the company recorded pretty low sales in the auto market.
After the end of the war, Jawa came out with an utility motorcycle which had a 250cc two stroke engine with dual exhausts (1946). This motorcycles was followed by the development of a 350cc twin cylinder engine which was sold to many other manufacturers in the world. Another important milestone in Jawa's history came in 1948 when the communists forced Jawa to merge with CZ (another Czech motorcycles brand). CZ was mainly known for motorcross and enduro models, but they also had a few street models.
Another important bike in Jawa history was the 500cc OHC, which was officially rolled out in 1952. The production of the 500cc four-stroke bikes was halted in 1958 mostly because of high production costs. In 1963, Jawa had to shut down their plant in Prague but one year later, the company reached an important milestone in its history by producing the millionth motorcycle.
Between 1964 and 1987, the company recorded an impressive growth, being able to triple its production, reaching three million manufactured motorcycles. In 1991, Jawa creates a new subsidiary called Jawa Divison, Jsc while in 1996 the entire company becomes a part of Jihostroj Velesin. However, one year later the company is renamed to Jawa Moto Ltd.