‘Whiskey Bent,’ with a 1977 Ironhead engine and a Jack Daniels theme, has a copper oil tank fed by copper tubing, a 102-year-old brass headlight, a wooden cask to hold its battery and a wooden bar stool for a seat. The Hoosier Daddy Custom Bobber won the FreeStyle Class at Cleveland’s Ultimate Custom Builder Show.
Cleveland Rocks! At least the I-X Center in Cleveland was rockin’ last weekend as almost 50,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from around the region flocked to the center to catch the Progressive IMS and the eighth round of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show. Steampunk design and a motorcycle with copper coils would again rule the day at the Cleveland Ultimate Builder Show as Jon Shipley’s “Whiskey Bent” features a copper oil tank fed by still-like copper tubing, a 102-year-old brass headlight and a wooden bar stool for a seat. Throw in a wooden cask that hides the battery and you’ve got the makings of Cleveland’s FreeStyle Class Ultimate Builder winner.
“Whiskey Bent,” a 2011 Hoosier Daddy Custom Bobber, features a 1000cc 1977 Ironhead V-Twin that’s been bored to squeeze out even more horsepower out of the vintage Sportster engine. The powertrain utilizes a cool jockey shifter with a wooden handle that looks like a beer tap and is crowned by a shot glass. The bike’s custom frame has distinctly bent tubing, the downtube angled steeply back before splitting to accommodate the engine mounts. The rails of the swingarm are stretched to match the lines of the frame as the rigid rear complements the vintage feel of the bike.
The front end is highlighted by a heavy-duty Springer and a thin, tall hoop with thick spokes. An absence of brake lines, throttle cables and control housings keep the look of the front end and bars tidy. In fact, Shipley did such a good job of concealing wiring it took as a while to realize the rear brake is incorporated into the pedal of the right floorboard. A portrait of Jasper Newton Daniel painted on the rear fender is a fitting touch to the libation-themed motorcycle. Shipley of Hoosier Daddy Choppers did a good job of making a tribute bike whose styling is subtle instead of over-the-top, an accomplishment that helped earn him the $3000 top prize in Cleveland.
Extensive bodywork and smooth lines highlight Cleveland’s Modified Harley winner. What started as an ’85 Harley FXR now has the appeal of an old street rod with its seemingly one-piece bodywork and its beefy dual Edelbrock carbs jutting off the engine’s right side. Gilliland Customs’ “Sudden Impact” has a handmade tank that flows directly into the black leather seat which hugs the rear fender. Unique side panels flow into the rear fender, creating the illusion that the tank, seat, panels and fender are one. It also cleans up the unsightly battery and electronics mounted below the seat.
(L) ‘Sudden Impact,’ Cleveland’s Modified Harley winner, has plenty of smooth bodywork to go along with its pumped-up engine. (M) BlackSmith Motoring Co.’s Gio talks with fans at the Cleveland Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show. (R) The GasBox crew just missed out on the FreeStyle crown in Cleveland with this clean 1949 H-D Panhead.
“Sudden Impact” started off with a stock Harley-Davidson FXR Frame before owner Cory Edwards had the rear stretched two inches, the neck dropped two inches, and the rake stretched to 36-degrees. He swapped out the fork for one with a smaller diameter downtube, hammered out a new front fender, and fobbed up a unique housing between the Arlen Ness triple trees for the Dakota Digital speedo. Gilliland Customs also used their sheet metal skills to create a Dyna-style air dam below the twin downtubes of the FXR frame.
The bike’s no slouch in the engine department either as the H-D Evo has been outfitted with JIMS 89-inch flywheels that sit in stock Evo cases. Screamin’ Eagle heads, S&S pistons, Arlen Ness rocker boxes and those sweet dual Edelbrock carbs are mated to a Baker 6-speed transmission. If you’re going for the street rod aesthetic, you’d better be pushing the horsepower to match. Hexed and diamond cut cylinders and heads match the motorcycle’s overall classy disposition.
Fabricator Stan Liepert and Ace Powder Coating’s Ed Vanaman keep the Triton tradition alive, combining a Triumph 650 Twin with a 1964 Norton Altas frame.
The Performance Custom Class winner, a beautiful interpretation of a café racer called the “Triton,” features a Triumph 650 engine with modified pistons and cams spooned neatly into a 1964 Norton Atlas frame. A custom HMF racing exhaust has been matched up with the dual carb fed Twin. The stripped and polished tank is one of the bike’s most prominent features with its dual dugouts, one cut to accommodate a rider’s knees and the other to allow a greater steering range for the clip-on handlebars. A Rickman front brake, kick start and custom chassis all combine for a period piece that looks as fun to ride today as it did 45 years ago. Owner Ed Vanaman, who runs Ace Powder Coating, loves motorcycles and says he “has been working his magic on all of his 50-plus bikes.” Good to see someone keeping the Triton mystique alive.
The rest of the Cleveland Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show belonged to a familiar face. Gio and BlackSmith Motoring Co. are making a habit out of collecting trophies as they’ve been traveling with the Ultimate Builder Show the last few rounds. Their bike called “El Vaquero,” a 1977 Honda GL1000 Goldwing with a supercharged engine which runs NOS and has a big bore kit, air ride suspension, and plenty of high-end engraving, won the Retro Mod Class in Cleveland. It was also a crowd favorite and received the “People’s Choice” award as well.
“El Vaquero” has been wowing crowds across the country, winning the Retro Mod Class at the D.C. round of the Ultimate Builder Shows as well as capturing second place in Detroit. BlackSmith Motoring Co.’s second entry in the shows, a 2003 Suzuki Volusia with 24 karat gold leaf in the paint, acid-etching on the bars and a pumped up, nitrous-fed engine, has been racking up the rewards on the Ultimate Builder circuit, too. It started with the “People’s Choice” award in Detroit, followed by a victory in D.C.’s FreeStyle Class, in addition to placing second in New York’s Performance Custom Class. It’s placing in a variety of categories proves that Gio and BlackSmith have done an admirable job of matching its go with its show.
The Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Shows head to Minnesota this weekend for the ninth round of competition in Minneapolis. There’s still time to enter your bike in the show, so be sure to check out the Progressive International Motorcycle Show website for further details. It also means there’s still an opportunity to win the custom 2011 Honda Fury we’re giving away as sponsors of the show. All you have to do is vote for your favorite motorcycle in the “People’s Choice” award and you’re automatically entered to win. You won’t find another Fury out there with the old school gold metal flake we’ve got on this thing. We slammed the rear and threw on some throaty black Cobra Swept Exhausts and somebody’s going to be proud rippin’ around town on this thing.