Winter has arrived in Calgary with a bit of a thud – lots of blowing snow, wind and cold temperatures – there were supposedly 110 accidents in five hours last night as the storm front blew in from the north. As a result, I’m quite happy to get back to my hobby and spend a bit of time in the shop working on the two old Suzuki’s I have on the go at the moment – a 1977 GT500 and a 1973 GT750.
The GT500 was only produced for two years and is a variant of the very successful T500 Titan. I’d always wanted a Titan and over the years have very nearly bought one on several occasions, however something (usually money !) always got in the way and it never happened. As mentioned here, I finally picked up a very tired example of a Titan in June of this year from a fellow in Vernon BC, and took advantage of a local CVMG club arranged powder coating day to get the frame and most of the larger bits and pieces made to look new again. You can read about that and also see a few photos here.
One thing about the GT500 variant is of course that there are a few items that are quite specific to those years and that model which are no longer available from Suzuki, and are in fact very difficult to locate anywhere which is a problem if you are trying to do a ‘factory’ restoration – the front fork dust boots for example. These were only used on three models of Suzuki – the 1974 GT550, and the 1976 and 1977 GT500’s. As a result, they have not been available for quite a while and although many parts for other models show up regularly on FleaBay I have yet to see these. Luckily, via the Sundial Moto board (a must if you happen to work on older Suzuki’s) I was able to locate a fellow in France who is making good quality reproductions of the original pattern, so I ordered two sets which arrived this past week. As you can see in the photo to the right, they look very nice indeed ! The original is on the left, and the copy is on the right – the new ones measure exactly the same as the old ones and will look very smart when I finally get them installed ! If you happen to need a set of these for your rebuild, send me an email and I’ll pass along the fellow’s name and contact information.
As things sit at the moment, I have the GT500 assembled as a rolling frame, and have trial fit a few parts and pieces as much as anything else to just get them out of the way and minimize the chances of forgetting how it goes together while I focus on the 1973 GT750 engine reassembly! I did recently take delivery of a new seat cover from Pit Replica in Thailand – they make replacement seat covers for many vintage Japanese bikes and offer fast turnaround and very good service. The covers themselves may not be the best quality, but they don’t look too bad either so its a bit of a trade off as the pricing is very competitive.
I am still sorting out gauges, fork ears and a headlamp bucket as the ones on the bike were badly damaged. Finding replacements will take a bit of time, so while that happens, I will be doing small jobs such as rebuilding the wiring harness which is in poor shape. I’ll be using parts and fittings bought from Vintage Connections who supply vintage Japanese electrical wiring box connectors, sleeves, bullets etc. I bought a kit containing most of the parts I need to completely repair several typical 1970’s style Suzuki wiring harnesses, and I expect to have that work done sometime in the next week or so. Hopefully by then the GT750 engine will be back together and in its frame so I can get going on the GT500 engine. My goal is to have all the mechanical items covered for both bikes by the end of February and the parts back from painting by spring, but we shall see how it goes ….