2010 Baja 500 Husqvarna 400 Cross Project for Cade Courtley

May. 12, 2010 By Rick Sieman

This is it … a perfect 400 Husky ready for Baja.

When I first saw the photos of the Baja Husky prepared by Rob Phillips, I thought it was just another neat old Husqvarna.  But as I studied the photos and saw the enormous amount of work put into the bike, I realized that this was way beyond a typical restoration.  I contacted Rob and got some details.  This is his story.  -Rick Sieman


My restorations are of the highest quality and to the highest degree of originality that I can provide. I have spent a tremendous amount of time researching the Husky models, so when you get one of my bikes, you can expect detail. Relative to my bikes, I find this to be a lot of fun. With one of my bikes, you will get a bike as close to what was offered when it was new.

I provide restorations for any type of vintage motorcycle, but I specialize in Husqvarna.  I only restore a few bikes a year, so if you see something you want, you better get it while you can. I do this as my hobby. I have a passion for it and it is not my main source of income. It simply funds my hobby. If you’re interested in any of my restorations, send me an e-mail. The motorcycles are typically restored to collector- or museum-quality level. If you’re looking for a rider for vintage racing, I don’t think you’ll want my bikes.

Pipe side shows off the detailing.

As you will see, the 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross is my favorite and you could say I specialize in them. Most people know that this is the type of motorcycle used in the Bruce Brown academy award nominated documentary “On Any Sunday” with celebrities Steve McQueen, Malcolm Smith and Mert Lawwill. The 400 Cross is the motorcycle used in the documentary by Steve and Malcolm, not to mention they both raced them personally. Since there were only approximately 700 of these bikes brought into the country by the importer Edison Dye, they have become a somewhat rare bike. It is not known how many still exist.

Renthal tapered handle bars with Pro Taper Pillow grips. Magura split perch levers and Gunnar throttle.

CNC triple tree from John at Vintage Husky. Modified for steering stabilizer and original fender mount.

Under bar steering stabilizer with  1 1/8”  handle bar mounts.


Rear swing arm was original but stretched one inch.

I decided to start with a 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross Registry, since this bike is probably considered one of the most significant motocross bikes.  If you have a 1970 400 and would like to put it on the list, e-mail me and I’ll add it. Serial number, your name, city and state should be all we need for the list. If you can supply your address, e-mail and phone number – I’ll keep that private.
-Rob Phillips
Email: mailto:[email protected]  Phone: 845/889-4499 

Ohlins 607 shocks.

For this year’s Baja 500, June 5, 2010, I was honored to be able to build this bike for celebrity, Cade Courtley, former Navy Seal and host of Spike TV show Surviving Disaster.  The 1970 Husky 400 Cross is the foundation of the motorcycle.  We wanted to keep as much classic styling as possible, but take advantage of today’s technology. This is a true vintage race bike.
In Cades words:  “My name is Cade Courtley. I am a former Navy SEAL Officer and most recently the host of the Spike TV original series Surviving Disaster. I have decided to fulfill a lifelong dream by racing in this year’s 2010 SCORE Baja 500 in June, one of the world’s most grueling off-road races covering over 500 miles in what is affectionately known as ‘The Devil’s Playground.’

Front forks are original gray body for classic look with 1974 Husky black leg internal performance springs and dampers.

“It’s a race where every turn is different than the last, and it is understood that booby traps are ever present. A race that must be completed in 20 hours while enduring outside temperatures in excess of 110 degrees. A race where less that 50% of the vehicles that start actually finish. A race that includes “all you can eat” portions of dirt, sand, and silt. A race where multi-million dollar vehicles with the very latest technology can be seen dead on the side of the road. A race that brings professional drivers/riders backed by the full strength of major factory sponsorship, a team of dozens of support personnel, with helicopters leading their way. A race that everyone can watch for free.

Engine is a original 400 Cross with all NOS gears and main shaft, new fiber clutch plates, new piston and custom made connecting rod. Also included MZB electronic ignition from Penton Imports.

Lighting is 8-inch Halogen and LED tail light from Baja Designs.  

NOS Exhaust is custom 1970 Bob Bailey aftermarket torque pipe with silencer and modified with 1970 Husky heat shield.

Wheels are Sun rims with Buchanan stainless spokes. Dunlop tires are used front and rear.

Optional 400 Cross skid plate.


This is the original seat with new foam.

“And as if the race isn’t tough enough, I have decided to do it on a 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross. Why? Because 40 years ago, off-road racing legends like Malcolm Smith, JN Roberts, and that “racer that sometimes acted” Steve McQueen did it. I want to see if it can still be done. In addition to over 30 years of off-road motorcycle experience (half of which has been in Baja), I will begin a rigorous race training schedule in March which will have me pre-running well over 5,000 miles of Baja terrain by race day. I will know every mile of the course. They didn’t use GPS in 1970. I won’t use one either.

Rear and front hub get new bearings from Italy and new seals. New swing arm bushing.

“Although I am no stranger to extreme challenges (9 years in the Navy SEALS), this will be my first attempt at the Baja 500, and I will need all the help I can get. If you are interested in joining me on this adventure I welcome any and all sponsorship assistance (money, equipment, services) that will be recognized and greatly appreciated. Understand I will cross the finish line whether I’m riding, pushing, pulling, or limping; 20 hours or 20 days later. Thank you very much and wish me luck.”

Inner fender and air cleaner cover. Air cover has welded reinforced mounting holes.

Steering stabilizer.  Not an easy task. Had to modify the lower triple tree to spread the handlebar mounts to get the stabilizer in between, and then mase some brackets to extend the stabilizer out to the stabilizer pin.  Next, a weld fixture was built to set the stabilizer pin to the proper 40mm distance from pin to stabilizer shaft and at the same time be on the same axis of the steering shaft.

The headlight has two quick pins to pull the headlight assembly off the mounts. Lanyards were added to them; not a good thing if they get lost.

Custom brackets were made and added the LED tail light; wired for running only at full brightness.

Aftermarket foot pegs were added for safety.

Mikuni carb and manifold and remote choke. The remote choke is used not only for starting, but for a full-throttle richening in flat-out running. Gives it a bit of boost.

Top-of-the-line chain. DID ERV3 X-ring with riveted master link.

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