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Motorcycle Restoration - Vintage Motorcycle Restoration

Bringing Back a 1972 H2

Life After Death

I have always enjoyed these bikes. In 1972, I was 17 years old. A friend on mine purchased what was to be, the first H2 I ever laid my eyes on. I never even saw it with the stock pipes or air filter as then, it was all about being the fastest. I owned a 71 Honda CB750 and thought I had something till I ran up against Steve’s bike ( The H2 ). Talk about a spanking. Then a few months later on the city streets on Memphis, TN, I just happen to pull up next to a 72 S2 350 at a red light. The small guy on it just smiled at me and made the jester, you know, the jester to race. My mind went back to how bad Steve had hurt my feelings but I saw that this was only a 350 so I thought, why not! Got my feelings hurt again. Now don’t get me wrong as this was just a race from one red light to the next but man that little bike was fast. It was then I realized that I had to have one.

My first was a 73 S1 and from 0 to 60, it was quick but that didn’t last long. Time to move up. The next one I bought was a 69 H1. Now we are talking. This thing would move. As anyone knows, they handle like a unicycle on a slick street but the power band is such a rush. No wonder why as bad as they handled, people still had to push them to their limit. Guess that’s why they called them widow makers. In 1976, my ex-father-in-law purchased a 72 H2 that was rough around the edges but was mechanically sound. He didn’t like it after he bought it and asked if I would be interested. Had to jump on that one. Well, the rest they say, is history.

I have owned several since that time but managed to sell them all at some time. Now I have been riding since I was 5, lets see, that’s 44 years so when things changed about four years ago and I lost a good bit of out family income, my wife and I decided to start a motorcycle business to help with the bills since I knew a little about them. We started with just doing a few repairs here and there then opened the shop two years ago. At that time, I thought, what a great time to bring back some old memories. I have bought, repaired and rebuilt several since that time and have several here now.

Click photo for close up view of 1972 H2.

About a year ago, I was searching E-Bay when the bike shown here came up for sale. Now Kawasaki made a bunch on frames and a bunch of engines and most of the time, they didn’t match up. They did have certain years that those numbers were used, so you can find out what should be where, but to have a number matching, you don’t see every day. Now take that along with being a very low number (149 ) and I just knew that this bike had to be brought back to life.

Someone, somewhere, had made a drag bike out of it and when they were tired of it, it went into storage at a paint shop some where. I purchased it from some very nice people close the ST Louis, MO and brought it home. For days, I studied it trying to see just what all I was going to have to do to bring it back. There was only one answer, a complete tear down and start from almost scratch.

Click photo for close up view of 1972 H2 frame.

First off, the frame had been welded on and some tabs had been cut off. We found another frame from a guy named Linny in TN. We stripped the frame, cut and fixed all the tabs and welds using the donor frame. After that, I sent it to a good friend of mine, Paul Meeks, to be painted as I wanted this frame to be painted, not powder coated. The frame, swing arm and battery box were painted.

The front hub was powder coated along with the headlight ears, rear brake hub and rear inner fender and the rear hub was polished. The hubs were laced with NOS spokes and rims, all done by Terry Jackson, owner of American Cycle.

The body kit was sent to CA to another friend on mine, John Brewton, who had it painted for me. I have an NOS body kits for it with the exception of the Fuel tank so until I can get a new tank, the NOS body kit will sit.

Almost everything else is NOS including the entire exhaust system, which took almost a year to find all the parts. Even 90 % of the nuts and bolts are NOS. There are a few that I haven’t found but then, the bike is not finished the either.

Click photo for close up view of 1972 H2 motor.

The motor is being shipped to Ron at Purple Haze Racing for a complete rebuild. All motor parts will be three stage blasted and cleaned, then reassembled by Ron’s shop using all new parts. Even all the engine covers and screws, bolts, oil lines, oil pump, and any other related engine parts will be NOS. The carbs are NOS along with the air boots, air filter, clamps, and air box.

All gauges, mounts, ignition switch , wiring, handle bar controls, cables, head light bucket, indicators, and bulb, the seat, turn signals, mounts, ignition boxes, chain oil tank, reflectors, brake rod, levers, brake pedal, gear change lever, foot rest, front and rear with rubbers, and cables, all NOS.

As you can see, the people that work on and ride these, do this as a Labor Of Love. I have over a year and I don’t even want to know how much money in this bike but, when completed, I will have a very low serial number matching ( NEW ) motorcycle. I even have the tag that they use to hang on the handle bars when they sat on the show room floor.

I hope you enjoy the pics of the before and the restoration of this rare bike. I will be posting more as it progresses and when completed. Enjoy the ride and keep them “smoking”

I want to thank all of the people who helped me with this project, including my Australian and UK friends. Without them this restoration would not have been possible.


Johnny Holloway Owner of Motorcycles Etc

Johnny Holloway Owner of Motorcycles Etc

Restoration of a 1972 H2 - Vintage Motorcycle Restoration

Click thumbnail photos for close up view in new window















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