In the late 1960's Yamaha made several prototypes of light mopeds for the European market.
Around 1968, when Yamaha was also “officially” entering the European market (first liaison office in Amsterdam, Netherlands in October 1968, named Yamaha Motor N.V.), the automatic-type light mopeds was extremely popular everywhere. Total moped sales in Europe were around 2.200.000 in 1968 and a large part of these were the simple, automatic ones.
It was a very competitive market dominated by the French makers, as Motobecane (later MBK), Peugeot and Solex, many Italians with of course as way-out largest Vespa, Puch from Austria, Dutch makers Batavus, Sparta, Berini; the Germans Hercules, Zundapp, Solo and tons of others.
Yamaha made a few prototypes (and only I have the pictures!). In Yamaha nobody knows about these models anymore (as far as I could find out) and 2 were even exhibited on the German IFMA bike show in 1968.
The “800” model has clearly “European” styling but when you look carefully, the typical Japanese styling elements, like the flashers, alloy handlebar lever assemblies and several others.
Fuel tank under the comfortable seat, pressed steel luggage carrier. Looks like more small Japanese bikes from that period.
The rear swing arm and the rear shock absorbers look more or less identical too with many Yamaha’s from the 1960’s.
Another “800” version was made with a longer muffler. Maybe this was a slightly faster version. Mopeds in Europe were classified into “light” (20/25 km/h) and normal 40/45/50 km/h (depending on the country.
The show model was more elaborate. Actually without the Yamaha badge it could have been nearly 100% European, but the nice electrics and the plastic mudguards told another story.
The red Yamaha “Mini” was more a “naked” bike as we call them now. With the fuel tank under the seat it looked (I think) far less attractive than the green “Mini”.
The Yamaha “Mini’s” were not entirely prototypes as the “800” model was. The proof is here. 2 Mitsui employees(German Yamaha Distributor till today) give the little bikes a try during the building-up of the bike exhibition.
Here is the display with the “Mini” in the centre and all the famous Yamaha’s of the day positioned around it. Very strangely, nearly all with cowlings!