1979 Suzuki GS1000S: Wes Cooley Replica


Barn Finds reader Jim S spotted this very cool ’79 Suzuki GS1000S here on eBay, where bidding is fierce but the reserve is unmet. I didn’t know much about this bike at first, but a little research shows it to be modeled after the successful Suzuki entry in the American AMA Superbike racing series. With back-to-back titles starting in ’79, the racing version piloted by Wes Cooley proved to be enormously capable on the track. Of course, this GS is more window dressing in tribute to Cooley than an off-the-shelf twin to the Yoshimira-tuned version that earned Suzuki racing fame, but it’s still a limited production model that’s sought after by collectors today. Said to have languished in a shed for many years, the seller says it is unrestored and in good shape with lots of recent maintenance. With a top speed of 135 mph out of a DOHC 4-cylinder, I’ll bet this cafe-style tribute bike would be a ton of fun on back road cruises. Does anyone remember watching Cooley dominate in the late ’70s?


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  1. Cassidy

    Ummm, where’s the rust? That’s a fine looking bike!

  2. shiro1303 Member

    That must have been one nice shed it languished in. More like lounged in. very nice for its age to bad I’m on the wrong side of the pond for this one

    • shiro1303 Member

      Just looked and found four for sale here in Japan ranging from $11,000 to $15,000
      If this one stays low enough one could reverse import it and make a few bucks

  3. randy rush

    I had one, bought t from the original owner, back when they were new a dealership could only get 2 , so original owner was the dealer.. Anyways I bought it for $900, it was perfect. Rode it for 3 years and sold it to a export dealer from RI for 5k. Its in a collection in Japan now. Should have kept it.

  4. jim s

    videos of him racing are on youtube. yes i did see him race ” back in the day “. watching him and the other pros ride these was a real treat. the bikes, even in race trim were a real handfull. watching them go thru a corner in a group/pack with the backend stepping out then carry the front wheel down the straight was interesting. safety gear was not near as good as they have today and no airfence to protect you if you got off course.

  5. Howard A Member

    I believe this bike was in direct competition with the Kawasaki Z1/900/1000. Even the motor looks the same. This is in unbelievable condition. Might be some issues down the line, probably electrical, as, for some reason, Asian electrics don’t do well with time, being used or not. This bike came from the era of who can go the fastest on 2 wheels and one company tried to out do the other. ( still going on?) A word of advice, if you’ve never ridden a bike like this, better hang on. Awesome acceleration, straightens your arms right out, it will.

  6. jim s

    sold for $8800.

  7. starsailing

    Had a 78 GS1000E with the spoke wheels. Lightweight, removed center stand/excess weight, added Piranha 1/4 fairing, added Kerker 4into one creating my own baffle for extra HP, rejet carbs. Came with sticky tires from factory which were great advantage over other brand new bikes running Goodyear when brand new. Factory seat allows you to remove the covering and pull out square foam piece from seat to lower rider weight down a couple inches.
    The bike had no flaw….coming out of rt hand S curves ,controlled slide …was such a hoot to go full throttle with front wheel gracefully lifting as ya flip it over for lft hand curve….coming back down like you see the big boys on the track…..Could ride a balanced wheelie down the street and low controlled speed. So lightweight….just a fun bike.
    Got serious in 81 with 81GS1100 doing same, adding 1/4 fairing like GPZ, just slid air box cover open 1/2 way, add bigger main jet giving extra 10 hp…..Air forks the best…great handling, best speed, great mileage…..but a weak crank which I twisted…then knocked out the clutch….Two best handling bikes of the day….
    I have a friend who has two of the above bikes….I try to buy one everytime I see him. Has storage filled with that era of bikes….He doesn’t ride them….just hordes them…..such a waste…But I keep trying.

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