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Sam Costanzo and the Suzuki RE: The End of an Era

by Richard Backus


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Suzuki RE5 Rotary 1975
A first year 1975 rotary-powered Suzuki RE5. 

Suzuki RE5 guru Sam Costanzo, often credited for almost single-handedly securing and providing parts, service and technical expertise to fans of Suzuki’s technologically ambitious but ill-fated 1975-1977 rotary-powered RE5, has succumbed to cancer.

Costanzo, founder of Rotary Recycle in Ohio, had sold the business last year to Jess Stockwell, who moved Costanzo’s considerable inventory of RE5 parts from Ohio to Tennessee. Costanzo’s love of rotary machines went beyond the RE5, encompassing the German-built Hercules W-2000, as well. Costanzo was a factory liaison for Suzuki when the RE5 project was first launched. “He knew more about the RE5 than anyone on Earth. He spent the last 40 years producing and supplying parts to keep our beloved bikes on the road. In addition, he was always available to help with advice or technical assistance to anyone who asked. It is without question that he truly loved these bikes and spent the better part of his life keeping them on the road,” Stockwell says.

Our condolences to Sam’s family and to the thousands of friends he made helping them keep their rotary-powered motorcycles on the road. - Richard Backus 

gunnar forsgren, sweden
9/23/2010 3:20:12 PM

I was sad to hear of his departure. Around years 1999-2002 Sam was instrumental in supplying parts for my restoration of a Suzuki GT750 J, the 1972 model. He was not only the authority on the RE-5 but his stock of NOS GT750 parts was 2nd to none in this world. He later sold that branch of business to Paul Miller, CT. See my restoration pages to see where some of Sam's parts ended up: http://suzuki.medial.com Regards, Gunnar Forsgren


markinmtns
2/25/2010 5:41:30 PM

My condolences to his family. In 1988 when I located a nice '77 he was the first call I made. Sam had the time to answer all of my 600 (in 3 phone calls!)questions. I still have that bike in storage. When its time to start the restoration the parts will come from Rotary Recycle. Thanks Sam. Without you I would have never known that I could use an '85 Toyota Camry oil filter.