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1976 Factory Suzuki RG500 Racer – How Did This NOT Sell At Auction?!

What would you pay for an original 1976 Suzuki RG500 racer that has been ridden by Barry Sheene, John Newbold and John Williams? At auction in the UK last week, this baby sold for…well, it didn’t sell at all. This piece of racing history failed to meet its reserve price. The estimate was between around $50k – $67k, but shockingly, no one thought it was a good enough deal.

Coming with ultra-rare XR14 magnesium wheels, a 56×50.5mm engine, factory four bolt brake discs, factory billet fork legs, and the “duck bill” style factory fairing. The engine is not the same one that Sheene used to win the 1976 championship, since it was updated to the 54.0×54.0mm version later on in the season, but it does come with two unique serial numbers – a rare and important feature from that era of racing. Back in the day, race bikes needed to be stamped in and out of the country with a “carnet de passage” invoice, and it was easier to stamp the frame as one unit, and give the engine a road bike serial number for easier border crossing regulations.

Anyway, this particular model went to auction as a running machine, and even recently featured in a demonstration lap at the 2016 Silverstone MotoGP. In full running order, and with an impressive 100 hp engine wrapped in a tubular-steel duplex-loop frame, it’s incredible that this incredible piece of history failed to meet the reserve price.

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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