All restoration projects are a labor of love and this pristine 1974 Kawasaki H1 Mach III 500 is no different, but before we delve into this resto, let's take a look at the history behind "The Widowmaker".  

When first introduced in 1969 the Kawasaki H1 Mach III was the most powerful production motorcycle on earth. Not surprise considering legendary racer Tony Nicosia had a hand in it's development. Powered by a 500cc, 60 horsepower, 2-stroke triple, it was putting in quarter mile times in the low 13-second range at over 100 miler an hour. Unheard of at the time. While relatively docile being ridden at under 4,000 rpm, once it reached 5,000 rpm it becomes a whole other beast, earning a reputation for popping unexpected wheelies due to the sudden burst of power. 

For this restoration, we started at the front by removing and then rebuilding the front suspension. Below you will see the freshly restored triple tree installed on the frame. The forks were entirely rebuilt and the lowers were polished. 

With the suspension removed we disassembled the rims for cleaning, polishing, relacing and truing.

When it was brought in the engines center cylinder was seized requiring a complete tear down and inspection. Years of accumulated sludge from the 2-stroke couldn't have been helping it.

After the cylinders were freshly bored and honed the heart of the "Widowmaker" was reassembled using all new pistons, rings, gaskets and hardware. 

The carbs also received a thorough cleaning and media blasting before being rebuilt using all new gaskets and hardware. Jetting and tuning will happen once she's up and rolling.

With the engine back in running condition we could move onto installing the rear suspension, bodywork and tail lights. 

She's finally a roller! Here we can see all the freshly restored controls, gauges, brightwork and other miscellaneous parts needed to revive this beauty.

With a new seat being made and the side panels installed we were all getting excited for this build to be complete. The only thing left was to install the renewed mill and she would be ready for testing.

After some tuning and a couple shakedown rides, she's done! Her owner was thrilled with the quality of work and attention to detail we put into this restoration.    

So thrilled that a couple day's later he pulled into the shop to thank Joe, owner of Atlanta Motorcycle Works, again. To learn more about Tony Nicosia and the history of the H1, click here.

Build sheet:

  • Rebuilt forks

  • Polished fork lowers

  • Rebuilt front brake caliper

  • Restored gauges and controls

  • Restored and polished hubs

  • Relaced and trued wheels

  • New exhaust

  • Rebuilt carburetors

  • Media blasted heads and cylinders

  • Polished heads

  • Restored triple clamps

  • Bored and honed cylinders

  • Rebuilt engine with new pistons

  • Polished engine cases

  • Installed new wiring harness

  • Fabricated battery holder

  • Installed new seat

  • New spark plug wires

  • Restored master cylinder

  • Rebuild rear drum brakes