Rebuilding the legend

No question about it, factory team bikes have a hard life but their prototype predecessors have an even harder one. CDB checks out a 1970 370RN Suzuki development model.

The sensuous exhaust system, a feature on many works Suzukis, was produced by an elderly couple working in their front room.
The sensuous exhaust system, a feature on many works Suzukis, was produced by an elderly couple working in their front room.

Looking at the machine it was obvious the Japanese company had come to play seriously in this off-road lark and clear too was Pettersson’s influence. Now, as we discussed this bike the level of commitment to its build emerged, as it started from an engine and a few parts. “I’ve no idea what happened to the rest of the bike,” says owner Clive Bussey, as he listed what few parts he started with. “I’d love to find out but typical of those days, once the team were finished with one season’s machines, they were often broken up.”

The engine arrived with Clive about 15 years ago, along with some rear dampers, a front wheel and the right-hand fork leg, plus the unusual bottom fork yoke and a few other bits and bobs. “It went into the workshop and stayed there until I met up with Olle Pettersson and showed him what I had. He studied it, told me it was definitely one of the three engines built for him, Robert and Geboers – he also told me it was definitely not his engine.” Unlike the two Belgians, Pettersson always used a right-hand gear change.

Read more in the Winter issue of CDB

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