As mentioned previously, my winter project this year is the restoration of a MK I which is the first model of the T500 Suzuki’s. It was called the Cobra in some markets, at least till Ford Motor Company decided to object as they already had a four wheeled item of the same name that frankly didn’t look half so good !
This wreck appeared to be fairly complete as it has many of the hard to locate one year only items specific to the model. Included in the deal were a couple of boxes of bits and documentation, including service records and registration history showing that it had lived much of its early life in the province of Saskatchewan before coming to Alberta around 1982. Given it is a first year model, getting it back on the road will nicely ‘bookend’ the production series, given I just recently finished a 1977 GT500 which was the final year of production.
The MK I had a number of ‘one year only’ features:
- the ‘ski jump’ fully flared front and rear fenders
- the chrome side panels and fuel level pipe on the tank (note that work needs to be done on the tank – more on that later)
- the horn was mounted on a centre bolt to the side of the frame, rather than on a bracket
- the ’rounder’ style side cover and oil tank than was used on later models
- 34 mm ’round bowl’ carburettors
- a complete oil pump cover (later ones were cut out to allow the carburettors to sit further back)
- the bolted style turn signal mounts with a ‘flat’ rear – fairly rare
- a seat cover having a suede appearance, secured by chromed buttons
- the left side cover was metal rather than plastic as used later
- sleeves covering the sides of the gauges that were painted to match the tin
Below are a couple of photos of the bike as delivered:
First on the list is to see what the story is with the tank as in the box of bits were the two chrome side panels specific to this model, but as can be seen in the photo this tank appears smooth with no place to mount the panels !