Tagged: 1979

Rocket Man: 1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC for Sale

 1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo R Side

Lots of sportbikes, even vintage sportbikes do many things well: handling is almost always part of the package. Many are very fast, some are reliable, and a few will even take you on long journeys in relative comfort. The Kawasaki Z1R TC does only one of these things, but it does so with such enthusiasm that it’s hard not to give it a pass on the others. In the 1970s, Kawasaki built bikes that seemed to be in-tune with the American Psychology of Going Fast that stressed straight-line speed over handling prowess, very much like musclecars of the era. Their H1 and, to a lesser extent, H2 two-stroke triples had power that easily overwhelmed their limp chassis and got miserable gas mileage, but that hardly mattered for folks interested in beating the car or bike next to them away from a stoplight. The four-stroke Z1R had acceptable handling and decent brakes, but slap a big, uncivilized turbo on there as seen on the TC and all that went out the window.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Rear

The Z1R TC was the first bike of the turbo craze that afflicted all of the Japanese manufacturers to a certain extent in the 1980s, a trend that was largely a dead-end at the time. Modern turbos are refined and smooth, giving us engines with durability, increased power when you need it and good gas mileage when you don’t, all with minimal lag. These characteristics are largely the result of modern fuel injection systems and the electronics that control them. Both of which are missing here.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Front

Early turbo engines needed to have low compression-ratios so they wouldn’t explode when the boost was up, which exacerbated “turbo lag,” the delay between when you put your foot to the floor and when the power kicks in, a result of the turbo needing to time to spin up and begin generating boost and thus power. Turbo lag was notoriously tricky to manage in sports cars of the era and is even more challenging when combined with skinny tires, marginal handling, and the lean angles you’re looking at when riding a motorcycle aggressively.

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Gauges

And that was assuming the bike didn’t just grenade between your legs. Early test bikes were “built” with stronger engine internals, but bikes sold to the public only included these at an additional charge, and many went without what should have been a mandatory upgrade. Shopping online, you’ll find that they often have had significant engine overhauls, because of blown motors or smart owners looking to prevent hot, fast-moving engine parts from sharing space with vital organs…

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Kawasaki Z1R TC for Sale

I have decided to sell my dream bike of my younger years. If you know what you’re looking at and your youth was in the late 70’s and early 80’s this bad boy was likely on your wish list along with Farrah Fawcett and the Whale Tail 930 Turbo Porsche. Next to Farrah this was the wildest thing you could throw a leg over! What more could a bulletproof wild child ask for? 

Make no mistake this bike was the things fantasies were made of and the tool required to make them come true. Much like the efforts that delivered the Shelby to Ford, Motion and Balwin cars to Chevrolet and the Hurst Hemi’s to mother Mopar, Turbo Cycle and Kawasaki teamed up to build a two wheeled rocket that would clean the clocks and wallets of whoever stepped up to the line against it.    

This bike is all original with a copy of the original sales certificate registered in the archives of Turbo Cycle confirming this is the matching numbers motor and frame and truly one of the original 250 produced. All original manuals are included as are all original parts less the Warblo fuel pump that was long gone when I bought the bike nearly 10 years ago. The bike is shown with and currently runs a newer Mikuni flat slide and K&N air filter but the original Zenith carb and triangle air filter are included.

The bike is shown with the white tank emblems and shorter LTD shocks on the rear but again the originals are included and in excellent condition.

The bike has newer tires, battery and had one quality repaint years before I bought it with new original Molly Graphics. This is not a kit/clone or wanna be-it’s the undisputed real deal that any collector or museum would be proud to own and display. 

The bike runs great and is a piece of styling art to behold. Mad Max would be proud to spool it up down under. When this old girl comes on the boost you better have your toes under the shifter and brake levers and a firm grip on the bars because just like when you hit hyperspace playing Space Invaders things are going to get blurry in a hurry. This thing is no game or toy-it is still scary fast.

While I had had the privilege of owning I have displayed it a many vintage / classic bike shows and was honored to be invited to display it at the AMA display and the Kawasaki featured marque display at Mid-Ohio Vintage Bike Days a few years back. The bike deserves to be on display and in the hands of a curator to insure this piece of history is enjoyed and around for years to come. 

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo Paint

It’s not clear if the engine in this bike has had any serious work done from the listing, or if it had the upgrades installed originally, but it appears to otherwise be in excellent condition: many that come up for sale are pretty rough cosmetically, seemingly the fate of many Japanese bikes of the era. The seller is looking for $25,000 as a Buy It Now price, which is top-dollar, but these are certainly some of the rarest and fastest streetbikes of the era and have been steadily increasing in value.

-tad

1979 Kawasaki Z1R Turbo L Side

Beautiful MaSheene: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Ex-Barry Sheene Race Bike for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene R Front

Today’s Suzuki GS1000S was touched by the hand of a master, the late Barry Sheene. In an era of sullen, sanitized superstars, it’s easy to forget that there used to be some really charismatic racers, folks who not only seemed to enjoy racing, but enjoyed life. But you certainly can’t expect guys barely out of their teens to have fully-developed personalities, and “early-to-bed, early-to-rise” is the name of the game so riders can stay in peak physical condition because racing is big business, and these guys are professionals.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene L Side

With so much money on the line, modern riders are endlessly coached: it’s pretty difficult to remember to name-drop all those sponsors without practice. And it’s especially difficult to remember that long list just thirty seconds after competing in a grueling, dangerous race.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene Fairing Detail

But back in the 60s and 70s, some of the most high-profile racers on two and four wheels were basically party animals… Chief among them was Barry Sheene. He was a popular character both on and off track and an outspoken champion of rider safety. He partied with notorious driver James Hunt, married a Penthouse Pet, and eventually succumbed to cancer, a likely result of his years of smoking: he once famously had a hole cut in the chinbar of his helmet so he could smoke before a race…

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene Dash

While much of his career was spent on purebred two-stroke racing machinery, today’s bike is a highly modified GS1000S prepped by “Pops” Yoshimura.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Dunstall Suzuki GS1000S Ex-Barry Sheene Race Bike for Sale

The machine offered here for sale was raced by Barry Sheene at the August bank holiday meeting at Oulton Park 1979. UK importer Heron Suzuki was interested in promoting production-based racing and asked Paul Dunstall to enter a Yoshimura prepared factory GS1000s Suzuki in TT Formula One events in 1979. Barry Sheen was the Texaco-sponsored Heron Suzuki teams number one rider in Grand Prix and his dislike of racing heavyweight four strokes was well known, once referring to them as ‘muck spreaders.’ Nevertheless Barry acquitted himself with distinction in his one off ride at Oulton Park, Finishing a close 2nd to Honda mounted Ron Haslam. Indeed the Suzuki star might have one had he not been balked by a back marker on the final lap For its first foray into Formula 1 racing Suzuki adopted a relatively cautious approach to tuning the GS1000S roadster. 

The machine offered here for sale was raced by Barry Sheene at the August bank holiday meeting at Oulton Park 1979. UK importer heron Suzuki was interested in promoting production-based racing and asked Paul Dunstall to enter a Yoshimura prepared factory GS1000s Suzuki in TT Formula One events in 1979. The machine was sent from Japan to Pops Yoshimura in California where the engine received special cams , larger inlet and exhaust valves , high compression slipper pistons, self generating ignition, close ratio gears and a stronger clutch basket , The crankshaft conrods and bottom end being left in stock . Retaining the standard 28 mm carburettors a Formula One requirement. The 1000cc tuned GS produced around 114 bhp with a wide spread of usable power .

As well as other additions to inside the engine which were a Kawasaki KZ 1000 idler wheel fitted into the cylinder head below the intake cam and an inverted stock GS 750 idler roller was installed into the GS 1000 cylinder head to help keep the cam chain under control when revs were 10,000 RPM plus, reduced valve stems and enlarged valve seats, 10.5 -1 high compression slipper pistons, confirming this is an original Yoshimura race tuned F1 engine (by Pops Yoshimura). Changes to the chassis included a shorter Peckett and mcNabb swinging arm and RG 500 fork yokes. Period photographs of the Sheene Suzuki racing at Oulton Park show it equipped with only a cockpit fairing , whereas photographs taken later in the season show the type of full fairing that it also wore. It can also be seen that this machine was equipped with a right foot gearchange as were many of Barry Sheene’s bikes.

The Dunstall Suzuki teams regular riders were Steve machin and Bob Smith but Sheene’s 2nd place at Oulton park would be its best result in 1979. The Ex-Sheene Suzuki was later sold by Tony Robinson (who was involved in the running of the Suzuki Dunstall team) to Martin Jones of Muswell Hill London then sold it to Mike Ryan of Cheltenham in April 1998 then purchased by Richard Ford in June 1999, since 2002 the Suzuki has been on display in the Lake land motor museum . This Suzuki has not been run since being loaned to the museum but has just recently been recommissioned by Dyna tech and the present owner, only requiring new tyres to be able to race this one off classic machine .

Believed the only Japanese  four -stroke ever raced by the late ex-world champion  (he did race a Seeley Norton in 1970 retiring with gearbox problems). This is very rare ex-factory production racer is now offered with various bills of sale and period press cuttings tracing its history back to  Tony Robinson with a bill of sale and internal engine photo’s previously sold by Bonhams as the original bike raced by Barry Sheene.

1979 Suzuki GS Barry Sheene R Rear

What’s it really worth? Well, this is a one-of-a-kind machine that appears to be in perfectly-preserved condition, and and is ready to race. Just add tires. Sorry: “tyres.” And while it certainly isn’t as desirable as one of Barry’s two-stroke race bikes would be, it was ridden by the man himself in competition, and looks great in Heron Suzuki livery: he rode for Heron Suzuki until after the 1979 season and his famous battle with Kenny Roberts at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone would have been on a bike with these colors.

A beautiful piece of racing history and touched by the man himself.

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS R Side

Sexy Six: 1979 Honda CBX for Sale

1979 Honda CBX R Rear

In an era when a 750 was still considered a “big” bike, Honda’s six-cylinder, 1047cc CBX was very much a monument to excess. It was complex, expensive, wasn’t especially fast, and was too heavy and poorly suspended to really handle. And the lack of a fairing meant its sport-touring ability was relatively limited as well. But as an engineering statement it was without peer, and the smooth, exotic sounds made by that huge aluminum brick of an engine really had no equal in the motorcycling world either.

1979 Honda CBX R Front

In point of fact, the engine isn’t really all that wide: it’s not a whole lot wider than Honda’s own CB750 four. But on a naked bike, with nothing but the era’s bicycle-skinny tires and a fairly slim tank to give it context, it looks like an aluminum-finned wall. That cascading row of exhaust headers doesn’t help, and probably emphasizes the bike’s width. Fit a set of crash-bars and the organ-pipe six-into-six exhaust seen here, and you’re looking at a serious visual statement.

1979 Honda CBX L Side Pipes

Likely inspired by Honda’s jewel-like six-cylinder racing machines, a long gestation meant that, by the time the CBX was released, those sleek and impossibly delicate 250cc, seven and ten-speed Grand Prix bikes were long-forgotten by the general buying public. So the CBX was a bit of a footnote in terms of production numbers for a company like Honda. But they were often cherished by owners and many excellent examples exist today, although this one appears to be in especially nice condition.

1979 Honda CBX L Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Honda CBX for Sale

I am listing my super rare unrestored 1979 Honda CBX with only a bit over 15,000 miles and it is probably one of the nicest if not the nicest unrestored CBX’s available anywhere. The paint and body work are flawless, fairing is aftermarket (and look great on the bike) and has been painted to perfectly match the factory paint.  No chips, scratches, dents and the best factory paint I have ever seen on an original bike and I have owned many. The engine still has all the original paint which is also mint and stock not polished cases or the like and it runs like new as well, and the non-factory exhaust still appear almost new themselves with no scratches or dents. I have never seen a CBX that even comes close to the original quality of this bike.

1979 Honda CBX Dash

I’m not normally a fan of bikini fairings like the one seen here, but it compliments the bike’s lines and likely improves the bike’s ability to cover long distances. Bidding is very active on this particular CBX and, although there’s just a couple days left on the auction, the reserve has not been met at $8,800. The Buy It Now price is set at $13,500 which is definitely at the top of the range for a CBX. But with prices of the six-cylinder Hondas headed upwards, and considering how much a restoration on one would cost, it seems like it might be worth it for someone looking to add a very original example of this appreciating classic to their collection.

-tad

1979 Honda CBX R Side

Unrestored Race-Replica: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Front

Originally designed for the European market, where handling and agility often trumped straight-line speed, the Suzuki GS1000S offered the best of both worlds, although the US received only a handful of these well-balanced machines: just 500 were imported in 1979 and 700 in 1980.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side Engine

A race-replica from the 1970s Superbike era, the GS featured Suzuki’s famously rugged, 997cc air-cooled inline four in a relatively lightweight, very stiff frame. Lighter than the GS750 that spawned it, this engine went on to serve for many years in Suzuki’s line up, and while it wasn’t the most powerful of the Japanese fours, the complete package offered up an impressive balance of handling, braking, and power that allowed bikes ridden by Wes Cooley and tuned by Pops Yoshimura to win the hotly contested AMA Superbike Championship in 1979 and 1980.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley Dash

The bike seen here was never officially associated with Wes Cooley, but the link was undeniable and the name “Wes Cooley Replica” stuck.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for Sale

Up for sale is my Super Rare Unrestored WES COOLEY GS1000S, the bike is unrestored and has 22k original miles but looks almost brand new and runs like brand new and if you didn’t look at the odometer you would think it is a 1000 mile bike, there are no scratches, dents or chips in the paint and the chrome pipes look new. If your looking at this motorcycle you probably know all about it as bikes of this caliber and rarity do not come up often so don’t miss your chance, bike is all original and unrestored. Pictures speak for themselves

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley R Side Engine

Bidding is very active on this bike and is currently north of $7,000 with plenty of time left on the auction. These were pretty rare to begin with, and their practical nature means many have racked up pretty high mileage or been ridden hard and put away wet. This example is about as clean as you’ll ever find, and is claimed to be completely original, striking the perfect balance between a usable machine that’s been ridden and a museum-perfect collectible.

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley L Side

Original Owner SuperSport: 1979 Ducati 900SS for Sale

1979 Ducati 900SS R Side Front

I usually try to mix things up here, and we did just feature a very nice early roundcase Ducati this week, but this late square-case SuperSport makes a nice bookend to that earlier machine. While you might expect the bigger-engined 900 SuperSport to be the more desirable bike compared to the earlier 750SS or Sport, the reverse is actually true: with just 401 produced, the earlier 750SS is far more collectible than its bigger descendant. But that just means these are that much more accessible for folks who want to experience a classic bevel-drive Ducati.

“Accessible” of course being a relative term…

1979 Ducati 900SS L Side Front

Although these epitomize Italian sportbikes of the period, the truth is that, but the late 1970’s, Ducati’s v-twin was getting pretty long in the tooth. It handled better than the newest crop of Japanese superbikes, but they were less refined, less reliable, and very expensive to produce, with the complex and Swiss watch-like tower-shaft and bevel-drive gear arrangement requiring very precise set up. In fact, the Pantah that followed was mainly intended to reduce production costs, not improve performance: those rubber belts ran quieter and made building those motors much faster and easier, even though they needed more regular replacement. Thanks for that, Ducati.

1979 Ducati 900SS L Side Engine2

The 900SS was introduced in 1975 and used the updated 864cc twin that used the restyled, more angular-looking cases that led to the “square case” nickname for these later bevel-drive engines. It also used a simplified gearshift intended from the outset to work with a left-side shift: earlier bikes with a left-side shifter were basically converted from the original right-side mechanism using a convoluted linkage that was far from precise. Cast-aluminum wheels came in 1979 and added more modern performance, although some today might bemoan the loss of the classic wire spoked items…

1979 Ducati 900SS L Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Ducati 900SS for Sale

Very rare bevel-head Ducati, all original with few modifications. Conti exhaust, Marzocchi shocks, Del’lorto 40 mm pumper carbs, and a Dr. Desmo Bevel-gear window. 14,000 original-owner miles, has Campagnolo cast alloy wheels, a rare original option, and perforated brake disks. Complete professional no-cost-barred frame-up restoration done ca 2000-2001 by MPH Motorsports (Houston), stripped to frame, powder-coated, engine sent to Perth, Australia for the performance Vee Two treatment (converted for unleaded fuel, hardened seats, porting, http://veetwo.net/ ). Very professional result and true to the original. Runs strong and handles as if on rails. The rarest collectable MC known, recognized in the Guggenheim “Art of the Motorcycle”. Perfect condition, runs great. Always garaged, maintained by Erico MS in Denver (who will crate and ship the motorcycle), did I mention I am the original owner already?

1979 Ducati 900SS Gear Gazer

It’s nice that the seller took the time to wash the bike before taking pictures, but I do wish it’d been dried off first… And I do wish that a few more unblurry pics had been included.

Bidding is up just north of $16,000 with the Reserve Not Met. There’s not much to say about this bike: it’s a blue-chip classic in nearly perfect condition, with a fairly recent full restoration by a professional shop, with an engine built by one of the best Ducati speed shops in the business. The only questions are: “Do you like the black/gold paint, or would you prefer blue/silver?” And maybe, “Would you prefer your classic Ducati with spoked wheels?”

-tad

1979 Ducati 900SS R Side

Sleek in Silver: 1979 Bimota SB3 in the UK

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side

Early Bimotas really straddle the “classic” and “modern” sporbike eras and helped set the stage for the mass-produced machines that followed. Prior to bikes like the SB3, monoshock suspensions and fully-faired bodywork were really only seen on factory racebikes, and it’s hard to comprehend just how exotic the SB3 was at the time. Although the price was steep, it was virtually the only game in town, until the advent of the GSX-R750.

1979 Bimota SB3 Front

I’m a big fan of red frames on bikes, assuming the frame is actually worth emphasizing and on these early Bimotas, the frame is basically the whole show. Not that the aerodynamic, quick-release bodywork isn’t worth a look, but it’s just the icing on the cake. The integrated signals are another nice touch, something that didn’t really find its way into widespread use until the past couple decades.

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side Rear Naked

But that frame was the only game in town if you wanted top-shelf race technology for the road. Wrapped so tightly around the virtually stock Suzuki GS1000 engine and transmission that powered the bike, it was designed to separate into halves to allow the powertrain to be removed for servicing. And the very trick concentric swingarm pivot and countershaft sprocket kept geometry and chain tension constant throughout the swingarm’s entire range of movement.

1979 Bimota SB3 Engine

At 483 pounds wet, the bike’s main advantage in terms of straight-line performance came from a massively reduced weight compared to the original Suzuki. While suspension was compromised for the road by being far too stiff, according to contemporary tests, it’s easy to argue that wasn’t really the point, and anyone able to afford a Bimota could certainly pay to have the forks and shock retuned to allow for road use.

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Bimota SB3 for Sale

 The SB3 has always been a very rare bike: just 402 were built worldwide.

This one is Number 9 (frame number 0009) and was the first SB3 in the UK.

Its history & provenance is fully documented – it’s a very special bike, with just 4 owners from new; two of those from the same family (Bought new, sold to son-in-law, then sold on to its third owner, then repurchased by the original owner before being bought by my father in law).

It comes with the original bill of sale (see photos) and a letter to the DVLA – when it was returned to its original number plate after having had a private plate – which describes its history very clearly. A photo of this letter also attached.

It has covered just 6,332 miles from new, with a documented change of speedo under warranty at the first service, hence only 5,045 miles showing on the clock today.

This very bike was the one displayed at the Earls Court bike show in 1979, and then road-tested by Motorcycle News.

(We have a copy of the issue of MCN in which it was reviewed – see pictures)

This SB3 was already in lovely original condition when my father-in-law bought it in 5 years ago, but he still carefully stripped it down and treated it to a full cosmetic restoration – having the frame and fairing professionally resprayed, and the Marchesini wheels re-painted in the original gold.

It has always been garaged, and is in outstanding original condition as you can see from the photos. There are a few marks on it here and there, so am not going to describe it as being in concours condition, but it’s pretty close!

I could go on an on about this bike, but no doubt if you’re looking at this advert, you’ll already be aware of what it is, and the fact that its likely to be many years before another SB3 comes up for sale.

A truly unique opportunity to own a rare piece of superbike history.

Viewing can be arranged in Colchester, Essex.

Collection only. Payment by BACS or cash on collection.

1979 Bimota SB3 L Side Naked

Well, that last bit could present a problem. I assume that, by “collection only” he means he won’t arrange shipping, but you could just see it as an opportunity to head to Colchester on vacation! One of my favorite color schemes is silver and red, so it’s no surprise that I really like this bike. Although at £19,995.00 [approximately $30,787.00] it is far out of reach for me for the time being.

-tad

1979 Bimota SB3 R Side

 

 

Six Appeal: 1979 Honda CBX for Sale

1979 Honda CBX R Side

One of my favorite double-take bikes, the Honda CBX can appear at first glance to be simply just another 1970’s motorcycle. But even out of the corner of your eye, something looks off. A second look, and it all becomes clearer:

“Hmmmm… That’s an awful lot of engine up there.”

1979 Honda CBX L Engine

The 1047cc straight-six looked massive but was, in reality, not a whole lot wider than Honda’s 750cc four. But where that engine just about tucks into the complete package, that extra bit of CBX just hangs out on either side, a huge aluminum brick just barely surrounded by a motorcycle. With no radiator in front to block the view, the 6-into-2 exhaust is on full display, a polished metal pipe-organ monument to excess.

1979 Honda CBX Dash

While the straight-six GP bikes that inspired the CBX were light and lithe and packed their impossibly tiny, Swiss-watch mechanicals behind sleek bodywork, there was nothing subtle or sprightly about the CBX. Nearly 600lbs ready-to-roll with typically mediocre Japanese big-bike suspension, the bike shared nothing but engine configuration with its racing cousins. It was possibly this confused message that ultimately made the bike such a hard sell: a heavy, expensive bike inspired by racing but with absolutely no racing pretensions whatsoever? People did buy the bike, and lucky for us, treated them with care and respect, but they were not huge sellers at the time.

1979 Honda CBX R Front

Eventually, the CBX was updated with slab-sided styling and a monoshock rear suspension. It was less elegant, but much more suited to the bike’s real forte: fast touring.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Honda CBX for Sale

Original 1979 Honda CBX, excellent condition with 17k miles. Original Paint and parts, there are aftermarket mirrors and an oil pressure gauge currently on it but I have the original mirrors and cap that go with the bike. Bike has never sat unused or in non running condition, it starts up easily and runs smoothly and perfect. No leaks, drips, or issues. That is the original seat and exhaust on the bike, there is one small rust spot on the left side exhaust, right side looks clean. There are no splits in the seat, all tabs on the side covers are intact. Bike is in excellent condition but it is 35 years old so not perfect. There is a small scratch on the back of the fender and a rub mark on the rear seat cowl. I am selling the bike for the original owner who is now 84 years old and can no longer ride. I personally rode the bike approximately 80 miles in the last couple weeks and it is an absolute joy to ride. I have the bike and clear title in hand. Bike is for sale locally, inspections are welcome and I will cancel this listing if the bike sells.

1979 Honda CBX R Engine Side

Interestingly, these were some of the first Japanese bikes to attain classic status. They were never really treated as the appliances,which makes sense: while Japanese sportbikes were typically marketed to, shall we say, less-than-sympathetic owners who used the machines’ mechanical excellence as an excuse to beat the living hell out of them, then forget them in a shed, the CBX was always a high-end, luxury grand touring bike.

1979 Honda CBX L Side Rear

With 17,000 miles on the clock and a Buy It Now price of $11,900, this seems like a pretty decent price for what appears to be a very good CBX: the black is a little bit faded, but the bike looks very sharp and original.

While the nearly $12,000 asking price might seem like a lot of cash, the value of these has remained relatively flat, while bikes like the Kawasaki H1 and Z1 have increased significantly over the past few years. I wonder if, with the CBX, we’ve hit that intersection between rarity and value, or if they’ll spike upwards again. I’m hoping not: they’re on my list of bikes to own.

-tad

1979 Honda CBX L Side

1979 Honda CBX Turbo for Sale?!

1979 Honda CBX Turbo R Side

Honda’s CBX was always about excess, a bike designed to impress, to demonstrate Honda’s engineering excellence. It wasn’t about speed on the track, or back-road carving, or even touring. It was all about that engine, that glorious, straight-six engine making exotic shrieking noises.

So how would you improve it? Upgrade the suspension? A good start, but it’s really too heavy to ever really be a sportbike. And with the engine sticking out like that, you’d be terrified of a lowside… Spondon frame? Same problem. So what about slapping a turbocharger onto it?

As they say, “Nothing exceeds like excess.”

1979 Honda CBX Turbo L Side Engine

The style may not appeal to everyone, but the pure excess of turbocharging one Honda’s epic straight-six sure does push some interesting buttons. Oddly enough, there’ve actually been a couple of these up for sale of late. This one, believe it or not, is the more tasteful turbo’d CBX of the pair…

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Honda CBX Turbo for Sale

TIMS has a custom CBX we built a few years ago available for sale– it is a totally awesome turbocharged CBX that we built from the ground up–it has an extremely rare Blake turbo (one of only 8 thought to have been built by Blake in the 1980s)–it is unique in that the cast plenum intake is totally round with no square edges for choppy fuel intake like the typical ATP or Mr Turbo intakes and a smooth streetable 42 Mikuni carburetor –it has TIMS exclusive low-compression pistons, heavy duty valve springs with TIMS exclusive titanium retainers and shim under bucket set up as well as Falicon rods and chromoly studs,our exclusive extended oil pan for an additional quart of oil to keep her running cool, TIMS exclusive hydraulic clutch upgrade,  and the coolest item we have ever had is the totally trick custom gear driven offset euro alternator that allows for removing with out taking off the turbo plumbing for a bullet proof ride–we put a inverted shock front end on it with 120/70-17 inch tire and  wheel and modern brakes, we integrated a custom heavy duty rear swingarm with a 160-60-17 tire and wheel and a pair of showa piggy back custom shocks for an awesome handling ride like no other cbx–the paint is tims second to none and we flush mounted an aircraft type fuel filler cap and put a corbin gunfighter seat on it –it has lots of chrome and custom billet parts to numerous to mention all here…

1979 Honda CBX Turbo Gauges

The execution looks top-notch, but I could do without the garish, logo’d white-face gauges and the flames on the Corbin saddle. To me, that boost-gauge mount looks too much like those huge, 10k rpm Autometer tachometers that were stuck on the dash of every Civic DX for a while there in the 90’s… I’m not saying a voltmeter isn’t useful, but I’d swap in that boost gauge and just do without knowing how well my charging system was charging.

I assume you have more important things to worry about on this bike.

1979 Honda CBX Turbo R Engine

Minor styling choices aside, it’s a really nicely put together bike, obviously no hack job cobbled together in a shed and left for the next buyer to finish. With lots of rare or one-off parts, it’s difficult to put a value on this one, but it’s no surprise it still hasn’t hit its reserve.

I just hope that the turbo doesn’t muffle the exhaust sound too much.

-tad

1979 Honda CBX Turbo L Side

1979 Suzuki GS1000S “Wes Cooley” for Sale

1979 Suzuki GS1000S R Side

Suzuki’s GS1000S Wes Cooley replica was a sportier version of their big-bore standard, created to evoke the race-winning bikes developed by “Pops” Yoshimura and ridden by Wes to success in AMA Superbike Championships for the 1979 and 1980 seasons. The GS-designation actually describes a diverse range of motorcycles built over almost forty years and powered by a wide variety of engines with different displacements. The GS1000 was powered by Suzuki’s durable air-cooled, 8-valve, dual overhead-cam engine making about 90hp and suspended in a durable, stable, twin-shock frame.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Engine

If you’re at a point in life where you recognize that you really don’t need the capabilities of any modern sportbike on the road, even to strafe canyons, unless you want to risk life and license beyond what we all accept as motorcyclists on a daily basis, this kind of motorcycle makes plenty of sense.

Less likely to attract the wrong kind of attention from The Man, impossible to mistake for just another “crotch rocket”, fast enough to be fun and see off buzzy little modern 600’s, with enough handling to reward a bit of enthusiastic riding, and comfortable enough to do light touring, it is a do-it-all machine with modern[ish] performance and a retro style.

Unfortunately, this kind of practicality isn’t actually very popular here in America, where motorcycles are more accessories and less about the ride, but that just makes bikes like the GS1000S more affordable for those in the know, and makes owners smile smugly as they wheel their bikes out of the garage.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Dash

This one is no trailer-queen, but the original listing contains a ton of photos, so you will know pretty much exactly what you’ll be getting into.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Suzuki GS1000S for Sale

I am very careful about my descriptions having gone on many wild goose chases to see bikes and cars that turned out to be in far less condition than advertised. I am sure many of you have been in the same boat so I will do my utmost to describe this so that there are NO disappointments or surprises.

Fresh from long dry storage since last registered in 1994, 1979 Suzuki Wes Cooley model 1000cc. It has 38680 miles but the engine was completely rebuilt in 1994 by a certified Suzuki tech at about 37500 miles and before the then owner could put many miles on it, he bought an old Harley he had been chasing for years so this was stored until I purchased it. While it appears mostly stock and has the original paint, it has been totally worked over.

Now more good and fun stuff. This bike is a brute and pulls strongly right off the bat. No smoke on startup or after being warmed up. Shifts crisply thru all the gears and handles surprising well. Extra parts included in the sale include the stock exhaust with an extra pipe. One photo shows black goo but that was just baked on road grime and chips off and I have no doubt that it is fine under the goo. An original factory plastic Wes Cooley fairing that has no flaws except someone bought it originally and put it on their GS and painted it to match their bike (I have heard of very high prices being paid for originals so this is a big bonus), original Wes Cooley tail piece and front fender and one extra tail piece off a stock GS. All pieces shown.

He then goes on to provide an extensive accounting of modifications, upgrades, and maintenance that have been done to the bike.

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Fork Brace

It’s not a concourse-ready and has been clearly well-used, but it looks like everything is there to make it perfect. In the mean time, it’s one you can ride the wheels off of until you decide it’s time to restore. At least you can hope following cars won’t miss that huge rear light, and that enormous seat should hold any pillion, regardless of how generously-hindquartered…

1979 Suzuki GS1000S Rear Wheel

In the US, many of these big Zooks have been converted from roadracers and optimized more for straight-line speed. The Vance & Hines four-into-one exhaust is obviously a drag-strip style modification and not factory-correct, but looks pretty cool. Unless you’re into the whole originality-thing, and then it’s an abomination.

The price is currently at $5,500 with four days left. That seems a bit on the high side for a Wes Cooley replica, but is still small potatoes for what amounts to a rolling restoration of a collectable, practical Japanese machine, a bike you can enjoy while you make it perfect. Or don’t: just ride it for now and save all those parts for the next guy to do a full restoration!

-tad

1979 Suzuki GS1000S L Side

 

1979 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

1979 Benelli 750 Sei L Side

Benelli’s six-cylinder Sei, in either 750 or 900cc flavor is a very cool machine. Styling is disappointingly conservative and the handling basically average, but you really buy this bike for the glorious engine: it’s flexible, reasonably powerful, and makes an expensive shriek as it revs, a sound that has often been favorably compared to the wail of a vintage Ferrari.

1979 Benelli 750 Sei Dash

Introduced in the early 1970’s, the Sei was Benelli’s flagship model, an elegant grand touring motorcycle with exotic specifications, performance, comfort, and subtle good looks. The early 750cc version put 71hp through a 5-speed gearbox and could push the unfaired machine all the way to 126mph.

1979 Benelli 750 Sei Engine

The wide engine does create some packaging issues, although the six-into-six exhaust probably causes more cornering clearance issues… But maximum lean is hardly this bike’s intended mission. It was a statement, a halo-model designed to show that Benelli could compete on the world stage against the Japanese manufacturers. Unfortunately, they didn’t really have the manufacturing muscle to back up its intended mission. It was well-received by the motoring press, and an update to 900cc’s in 1979 kept the bike relevant, but the bike never really sold very well.

From the original eBay listing: 1979 Benelli 750 Sei for Sale

I purchased last year from the original owner and had Perry from Perry’s motorcycle and sidecars in Ft Worth Texas (Who used to sell and service these new) go through it, sort it out and bring it back to life, it’s purring again.
Starts right up and runs well now. I believe it still has original tires though!
This has been on display in my shop all year and now I have decided to sell because I need the space and have my eye on something else.
It is an original bike including the pipes which have been painted black. The mileage is correct at 4358 miles.
The paint is in above average condition on the tank and original, especially for being almost 40 years old. There is a small indention in the tank on the bottom near the seat, not the sides of the tank This doesn’t really bother me, however if you decided to repaint the tank, you would certainly fix this. All badges are original. It’s pretty stunning as it sits. The bike doesn’t really leak either. The inside of the tank has been coated and the brakes have been gone through by Perry, when he went through the engine and the carbs. It is setup for a battery tender. It has the original wheels and brakes. It is the dual disk front , drum rear brake version.
Im sure Ive left off a ton of detail. Please ask and I will answer to the best of my ability. This is basically an un-restored beautifully aged Benelli 750Sei with all the original bits.
Includes old factory service manual and old factory parts manual.
1979 Benelli 750 Sei L Side Panel

So often, these bikes fall into disrepair: like an 80’s Alfa Romeo, they’re relatively cheap to buy but mechanically complex and pricey to run, leading owners to neglect major services until the bike fails in some fundamental way. Then they’re left with an expensive project in need of parts that haven’t been made in 20 years or more, and the finished bike will only be worth a fraction of what’s been invested.

So into the back of a shed it goes.

Any six-cylinder motorcycle is going to be an expensive proposition: Honda’s CBX is costly to run: no matter what part you need for your motorcycle, there’s a good chance you’ll need more of them for your six.

Benelli’s questionable status in the modern market and lack of cache in the collector market has kept values relatively depressed for the marque, outside of racing machinery.  This particular example appears to be clean and well-maintained, with very low miles for a bike designed to cover miles in class and comfort. Bidding is active, and is at $5,700 with five days to go. If you’ve got room in your garage and have a hankering for Benelli’s techno tour-de-force, keep an eye on this auction.

-tad

1979 Benelli 750 Sei R Engine