THE 1982 BILLY GROSSI WORKS HUSQVARNA 500CR PROTOTYPE
With a worried look on his face, the man said “Crikey are you alright mate ! The way you were clutching your chest I thought you were having a heart attack”
“Yes, Yes, I`m ok, it`s just when you asked if I was I interested in your twelve & a half grand four-stroke Husqvarna I had an automatic reaction to physically shield my wallet from financial attack & my wallet happens to be in my breast pocket”
The anxious fellow in question was “Husqvarna Man” Lee Perry from “LPME Motorsport Engineering”, his stand along with a collection of immaculate Husqvarnas are a familiar sight to Classic Dirtbike Show visitors. I couldn’t quite remember if the fantastic blue & yellow four-stroke Husky pictured bellow was the same one that I had photographed at last years show, but Lee said that bike had been sold not long after Telford 2015 & this lovely looking machine standing in front of me today was a completely different bike. The value of such machines never ceases to amaze me, who would have thought that these bikes that were once worth only hundreds of pounds can now cost over ten thousand pounds. Its only when you stop & start to tally up the cost of rebuilding a machine, especially a four-stroke, to better than new condition that you begin to understand why bikes are now worth so much, £800 plus for two rebuilt wheels, spokes, rims, tubes, quality tyres, £1000 & over for quality suspension or what about £1200 for a four-stroke stainless steel exhaust system. On top of the cost of replacement parts don`t forget to factor in something to cover all the labour as well.
At this point Lee drew my attention to the silver 500CR Husky two-stroke he had on display, “is this one of those special edition Silver Streak thingies” I asked, he shook his head & said no, this was something far more interesting, ” it`s the original 1982 works 500CR prototype for the following years production 500CR ! ”
In 1982 Husqvarna made the 430CR, any member of the public who wanted to play at motocross could walk into a dealers show room & buy one, unfortunately compared to works machinery being used by rival manufactures the production bike did not seem to cut it in the world of top level racing over in the United States, more power, more suspension, more every thing was demanded by the race team riders. So in answer to this plea a special works / prototype Husky was assembled & dispatched to the front line & the silver 500CR you see pictured bellow at this years Classic Dirtbike Show in Telford is the very same machine. The lucky lad who was given the job of piloting this new hot rocket all those years ago was American rider Billy Grossi, the technical spec of his new toy differed quite a bit from the production 430CR, apart from the bigger 488cc cylinder it sported a new eight petal induction reed cage, a 40mm or the option of a whopping 44mm Mikuni carb, a bigger fuel tank with increased capacity just in case that gas guzzling 44mm Mikuni was brought into play & a four speed transmission if Billy didn’t want to run the standard production spec six speeder. The frame incorporated new rear suspension geometry & used new longer stroke, works spec Ohlins shocks, the swing arm is longer & also gives the rider a choice of shock absorber mounting positions, a closer inspection will reveal that the air-box & the frame tubes around it differ from the production 430CR machine as well.
So how did this original factory prototype / works Husqvarna CR500 come to be on display at Telford in 2016 ? Well thanks to someone inventing the internet a few years ago, Lee spotted the bike up for sale over in America, at the time it was in very poor condition & when advertised had a later plastic fuel tank fitted. It was a bit of a gamble but Lee took the plunge, bought the bike & shipped it to the UK. After an anxious wait everything worked out just right, the serial numbers are correct & I am told that both Billy Grossi & the Husqvarna Museum agree that it is the genuine bike, Lee has compiled quite a comprehensive document file on the machine including a copy of American “MOTOCROSS ACTION” magazine from August 1982 that includes a feature on the bike & rider. Amazingly even though its already a pretty cool & clean looking machine, Lee reckons he’s in the process of adding a few final period touches, as far as I understand the bike is now up for sale so serious buyers / collectors should get in touch with Lee, there’s only one & when it`s gone, it`s gone. Click on the ad below to go straight to HusqvarnaMan.com