Suzuki are currently in the process of restoring the only full G-54 Grand Prix bike in existance, at Motorcycle Live. This was the bike that spawned Barry Sheene’s World Championship-winning RG500, which he rode to two world titles.
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The G-54 (‘G’ for Grand Prix only) was first conceived in 1973 and was designed and built under the watchful eyes of Makoto Hase and Makoto Suzuki, who had previously been tasked with TR250, TR500, and TR750 race bikes. This particular 1974 model was also the first race bike Suzuki produced with magnesium crankcases.
The bike, which has already been rebuilt, run and stripped over the opening weekend of the show, is being restored twice during the show by former Grand Prix technician, Nigel Everett. The build began life as just the bare frame, which former Grand Prix rider Paul Smart had left in his loft.
Everett set up Racing Restorations in 1988, working with the likes of Sheene, Mick Grant, Kevin Schwantz, James Whitham, Roger Marshall, and John Reynolds in his tenure. Also present over both weekends is legendary Suzuki technician Martyn Ogborne.
MCN attended the show and spoke with Everett about the first build, who said: "They changed these bikes every time they went out on them and as you look at the pictures around you [see image gallery] every chassis is different.
"They started with no bottom tubes in the frame at all," Everett said. "Then came a bolt-in bottom rail and then a complete bottom rail. This was like modifications at the track! We managed to find just about all of it, but had to have some parts made - including the fairing, as the original was all cut to bits," he added.
A long-standing ambition
"I've always wanted to build it, because I knew there weren't any," he added. "I've done all of the other ones - I built Sheene's 1975 factory bike and I've done them all the way through. I worked for them for Suzuki at the time and I've done so many of them with the restoration business, too. However, I've never seen one of these.
"I just think it's fantastic to have it, history-wise and it's great that people can see it. It's also in far better condition that you would ever have seen it when it was racing!"
Once the restoration is over this coming Sunday Nigel will store the bike - as the rightful owner - and run it during a succession of parades, such as The Goodwood Festival of Speed.
"I think this is the most excited we’ve been for our Motorcycle Live feature build," said Suzuki GB Aftersales Co-ordinator, Tim Davies added.
"It is probably one of the most important bikes from our history, so to not only be able to restore it using our Vintage Parts Programme but do so with the likes of Martyn Ogborne and Nigel Everett is really special."
Motorcycle Live 2018 takes place at The NEC, Birmingham, November 17 - 25, with advance tickets on sale August 1, priced at £19.50 per adult, £12 for senior citizens, £1 for 11-16 year-olds (children aged ten and under go free) and under 16s must be accompanied by a paying adult.