Lilac motorcycles were manufactured by the Marusho Motorcycle Industrial Co Ltd, which was founded in 1951 in Hamamatsu, Japan by Masashi Ito, owner of an existing car repair and truck body manufacturing business. The first Lilac was a shaft-driven 150cc lightweight and, like many of its Japanese contemporaries, was copied from a European design, in the Lilac's case a pre-war Zündapp. A succession of larger models was introduced, including a 350cc horizontally opposed twin, almost all of which retained Marusho's trademark shaft drive. Increasingly stiff competition from Honda forced a wholesale revision of the Lilac range in the late 1950s, the new line-up including a brace of transverse v-twins based on the German Victoria Bergmeister. At the same time Marusho concluded a commercial alliance with Mitsubishi, only to be saddled with an insupportable debt when the deal swiftly came unstuck. Despite an agreement to import Lilacs into the USA, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy and the factory ceased making motorcycles in 1961. After a few years acting as a sub-contractor for Honda, the firm returned to the motorcycle market in 1964. A Japanese motorcycle rarely seen in Europe, this Lilac LS-18 benefits from a restored engine while retaining mostly original paintwork. Featured in a German motorcycle magazine (Oldtimer-Markt, June 1997 edition), it has not been run since its acquisition by the Hockenheim Museum in 2001. There are no documents with this Lot.