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Very Cooley: 1980 Suzuki GS1000S

Wes Cooley was a Los Angeles phenom on the club scene, and was cultivated by Pops Yoshimura to ride in the newly formed AMA Superbike Championship. Yoshimura initially fielded Kawasakis, but moved to Suzuki for the 1978 season. Wes Cooley used that dialed-in GS1000S to win the 1979 Championship, and he backed it up by doing the double in 1980 (amid stiff competition from younger guns such as Freddie Spencer and Eddie Lawson). The GS1000S streetbike was a commemorative nod to the AMA Superbike, and was produced by Suzuki in very limited numbers between 1979 and 1980. As the story goes, the GS1000S was never even supposed to come to America – but when US dealers saw it they pressured Suzuki into importing the model. Reports indicate that dealers in the US were allotted a single bike, with 500 units imported for 1979 and 700 units for 1980.

1980 Suzuki GS1000S Wes Cooley for sale on eBay

While never signatured as the “Wes Cooley” model (nor ever officially marketed as such), the GS1000S is known as the Wes model in most circles. Replicating the style and color scheme of the Yoshimura racebike was a master stroke on the part of the design department, which resulted in a wonderfully proportioned bike that spoke to race enthusiasts. The limited edition “S” model came a year after the rest of the GS1000 lineup (which included the standard GS1000 and the semi-sporty “E” model). It did not have any material differences to the other GS1000 models in terms of engine, but it did share what was widely regarded as the best chassis to emerge from Japan during the era. Ultimately, that was the secret to the success of the bike on the track. For its first entry into the 1000cc market, Suzuki created a winner – both on the race track as well as the showroom.

From the seller:
Rare limited edition 1980 Suzuki GS 1000S Wes Cooley only 700 produced.

The bike was displayed in a humidity controlled private collection for the past 22 years. It has been recently gone though, new tires mounted less than 100 miles ago and is in excellent running condition. The engine is completely stock and unmodified, everything works on the bike including the clock. It comes with a Factory and Clymers service manual. As you can see from the photos the bike is in excellent condition and has been well taken care of.

Well-loved and unmodified Wes Cooley models are rare affairs. They are becoming harder to find, and more expensive to procure. Such is the nature of collectable bikes; the good ones will always be perceived as good, whether the market is up or down. Chances are strong that if a bike evoked some emotion on the day it was new, it will still be able to do so nearly 40 years later – for a price. And this bike really does look to be in excellent shape.

This bike has approximately 5,000 miles on the odometer, and is located in Tennessee. There are only a few days left on the auction, and interest has been moderate. I expect this one to climb a bit more before the final bell, so if you are interested I suggest you jump in quickly. Check it out here, and celebrate all the wonder that is the Wes Cooley Suzuki (that isn’t officially a Wes Cooley commemorative model). Good Luck!!

MI

4 Comments

  • Clearly a very nice survivor, but some puzzling inconsistencies are apparent to long time GS owners. While listed as a 1980 model, it has the 1979 long exhaust pipes installed, not the short 6 end hole 1980 pipes. 1979 S models had a flat rectangular patterned seat, the 1980 S had a stepped seat with a diamond quilt stitched pattern. This recovered seat is a curious mix of both years, and wrong for both 1979 and 1980 S models. Shock bodies should be chrome, not black.
    Engine covers and fork legs are refinished incorrectly and inconsistently: the right side looks to be original satin finish with old style black round label, but the left side covers are mirror polished. Fork legs are mirror polished, but came machine brushed satin.
    Nitpicking? Guilty, but unapologetic. Correct these obvious items and you’ll have an even more desirable and valuable S.

    • Thanks for the sharp eye and sharing your knowledge on these ultra cool models, Sixth!

      – Mike

  • Yep something is clearly off with this one. Buyer beware!

  • eBay shows sold for $15,477!

    dc

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