Suzuki’s T500 was a rare beast: a large-capacity two-stroke road bike that sold in big numbers in the US. And it’s not hard to see why. For a late 60s motorcycle, it was light, fast, and blessed with agile handling. And more reliable than most four-stroke twins. I’ve always thought that the stock T500 was a good-looking bike, but this replica racer is … quite something else.
The machine comes from the collection of Boris “Bob” Guynes, a hugely skilled fabricator and model-maker based in California. According to automotive photographer TJ Grewal, “Bob was a rider and enthusiast. Or as he puts it, ‘a scoundrel into bikes and speed’. That’s where this bike originates from”.
Guynes built this T500 with the late Ron Grant, the first US racer to finish on the podium in a Grand Prix event. (“Ron was on the Suzuki team, so he had access to all the fast bits,” says Grewal.) Although this T500 doesn’t have a road racing provenance, it’s period-correct and a piece of rolling sculpture—a snapshot of a moment in time.
Guynes is now in his 70s, and is best known for his salt flat racers—such as ‘Salt Shaker III’, a twin-engined sidecar rig that started life as a 1972 Honda. His collection of motorcycles is reportedly amazing, but has never been given the photographic attention it deserves.
TJ Grewal, who took these beautiful images, hopes to put that right. He’ll be soon be shooting the other machines in Guynes’ collection, including the salt flat bikes. In the meantime, check out his website for a stunning portfolio of automotive images, mostly of the four-wheeled kind.