Unobtainable Jawa 350 OHC Special Is An American Smuggler’s Dream

Unobtainable Jawa 350 OHC Special Is An American Smuggler’s Dream

Jawa is a motorcycle company located in the Czech Republic that was extremely successful in the 1960 through the 70’s. The onslaught of Japanese motorcycle competition and export limitations due to Russian rule almost killed the brand. A sales resurgence powered by India has put Jawa back on steady footing. While the company only offers two basic engine configurations (the 350 and 660), it offers each in a number of models. The model that gets my adrenaline pumping is the Jawa 350 OHC Special.

The Special takes its styling cues from Italian (especially MV Agusta) and Japanese road racers of the 60’s. And friends, Jawa nailed it! The bike’s styling is spectacular and the small engine displacement (by American standards) makes it even more intriguing. It produces the type of power that won’t scare you to death navigating a curvy road. The only drawback…they don’t import them to America.

You can’t just crate an OHC Special in Prague and ship it to the good old USA. The motorcycle does not conform to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. U. S. Customs would turn the crate around at your port or worse, destroy it. But where there is a will, there is a way.

A rider could take delivery in the Czech Republic and dismantle the bike. The frame, wheels, engine and components would need to be boxed separately and then shipped to your port of entry. It is legit to import motorcycle parts.

Once reassembled in the states, you would still run into problems getting it tagged in a state like California (where the DMV and Air Resource Board don’t mess around). You would have less problems in Arizona where the DMV is far more flexible. Yes, this is all a hassle, but the OHC Special might be worth it to certain riders.

Sounds like a great work-around on paper, but I don’t suggest trying it. All it would take is a sharp-eyed customs agent to ruin the scheme. No, the best way to proceed is to beg and plead Jawa to import the bikes themselves. Jawa should piggyback with America’s Royal Enfield importer. Both brands seem to compliment each other and together would attract a solid customer base. My fingers are crossed.

The Jawa 350 OHC Special is a steal at 119,899 Korunas (around $5,275) in the Czech Republic. Tack on another $1000 for shipping to the U.S. and it is still a very attractive price.
The Special looks like so much fun to ride. This bike would steal the show at the Rock Store.

The standard OHC has less sexy appeal but appears to be a capable commuter.