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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