Update 5.10.2023: Sold in just two days, exclusively on RSBFS! Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc
Packaged Deal Featured Listing – 1982 Eddie Lawson Replica KZ1000R & 1982 GS1000SZ Katana
4 decades separate 2023 and 1982. Despite the passage of time, in the world of American superbike racing, the one thing these two years have in common is fierce rivalries amongst some of the most talented riders on the most capable machines. Today it’s Beaubier, Gagne, and Herrin. Yesterday it was Cooley, Lawson, and Baldwin. The culmination of all the development in motorcycling is what gives us our modern nail biters where riders are doing 190 mph down the back straight of Road Atlanta and rubbing carbon wings. If you are wondering what today’s rivalries looked like 40 years ago, you are in the right spot. The 1982 championship had its fair share of back and forth and Eddie Lawson entered the final race 19 points ahead of Honda’s Mike Baldwin. He only needed 14th place to win the title. Honda had opted to enter 6 factory bikes with the goal of harassing Lawson and ideally running him off but in the end a late brake dive and miss by a Honda rider gave Eddie the breathing room to finish the race and take the championship. Wes Cooley, a Hall of Famer in his own right, finished the championship in 4th but damn did he have the best looking bike.
We can’t sell you the badass personas of old school racers smoking Marlboros in the paddock but we can sell you the next best thing, their machines.
Our listing today is a bit unique in the sense that our seller has two bikes but they are two bikes that share something quite unique. Both bikes are the homologated street versions that belonged to two of America’s most famous riders from that 1982 championship: Eddie Lawson and Wes Cooley. The KZ1000 is #560/750 and the GS1000SZ is #1,547/2,500 for the USA. Clearly, both these bikes are rare and the fact they have made it 40 years with minimal mileage is quite impressive. Neither of these bikes are concours ready but the seller wants to note these are both great runners and are more so riders than museum pieces. Both were also repainted but clearly in the factory colors. I trust there is an interesting story as two how these bikes found each other but I suspect the catalyst was a fan of the championship who has lost their marbles at some point along the way.
The idea for the KZ1000 started when Kawasaki was looking bring more excitement about the KZ1000 platform as a whole. Remember, in the 80s and 90s, the development was so rapid that a bike would be leapfrogged by the competition every two or three years. The KZ had fallen victim to Honda’s and Yamaha’s progress so they decided to spark some interest by building a replica of their Superbike Champ’s machine based off of the KZ1000J. Aside from some ergonomic tweaks, the most notable changes were the Kerker exhaust, adjustable rear shocks, and of course, the green paint. For the most part, the replica would still struggle to escape the limitations put upon it by its streetbike roots but the paint scheme is really what caused the stir. Kawasaki’s iconic green bike winning in 81 and 82 was more than enough to make sure this bike was put on a path to the promise land.
From the seller:
1982 KZ1000R Eddie Lawson Replica #560 of 750 built for US. All original. Rider quality. Runs perfectly. Currently registered and insured in Massachusetts. only 3,896 miles. I am the second owner. Comes with all manuals and original paperwork.
The Katana entered the market with a slightly different story. Its inspiration was driven by a 3rd Party design team who had convinced Suzuki that there was opportunity to improve the aesthetic of the bike. Initially, the radical design made the US importers skittish and they ultimately only imported 2,500. The enthusiast community clearly feels that the forward design has aged well and values support that notion. I think Wes Cooley’s 1982 race bike is one of the more genuinely cool looking bikes because of how they carried the aggressive street looks over to the race version.
Similar to the KZ, the Katana was a tuned up streetbike. It was naturally lacking some torque over the GS1100 but the GS1000 was tuned for higher revs which essentially shifted the power band. Furthermore, the suspension was stiffened up and anti-dive technology was employed in the front forks. However, the main draw was really the design. Naturally, some were not fans due to how unfamiliar it looked but many were drawn to the futuristic lines and angles.
When it comes to these bikes, the most valuable parts one could source were the Yoshimura cams, 1,140cc big bore kit, and exhaust. If you were to kit this out you would have a pretty capable machine on the track as the aero and suspension made it comfortable at speed. Those pieces were worth nearly the price of the bike itself but would do wonders for collectability.
From the seller:
#1547 of 2500 built for US. All original. Rider quality. Excellent runner. Currently registered and insured in Massachusetts. 7K miles, I am the forth owner. Comes with all manuals and paperwork.
As demonstrated by our featured listings, many old school race bikes weren’t engineered as race bikes first. They were highly modified street bikes that were adapted to track use but they could never escape their street roots. The history of the rivalry and rawness of these bikes is what makes them so special. I think racing pedigree is one of the key indicators of value and there’s no shortage of that here as well. With low production and many bygone years rarity is no question. These bikes already proved their relevance in the motorcycling community many years ago. If you want a double serving of American Superbike history here’s your shot.
From the seller:
Both bikes have been repainted. The ELR last year, the Katana years ago.
Other than that, lots of patina on both. Ridable classics not museum pieces. Tires, brakes, tunes, fluid changes, etc all very recent on both. Each one titled in my name. Price is $25,000
The seller is only selling these as package. Thanks for reading!