Justin (left) and Jarrod (right) Del Prado of DP Customs with del Rey, a Tyrrell Elf F1-inspired custom Sportster.
For Jarrod and Justin Del Prado, simplicity is king.
“We like the look of our builds to be as open and clean as possible. We’re fanatical about no clutter,” explains Jarrod.
The brother builders own and operate DP Customs, a modest shop in New River, Arizona that produces elegantly-styled, minimalistic two-wheeled works of art. Each bike is, for the most part, a reflection of the vision of the Del Prado brothers, and customers flock to the shop ready to hand over the creative reigns, confident of an impressive result.
DP Customs first started with Jarrod and Justin building bikes completely of their own design, and then putting the finished machines up for sale. After a year or so in this way, customers began to offer payment for bikes-in-progress they’d never seen.
“They didn’t care,” says Del Prado of customers putting up payment for bikes, sight unseen. “From that day forward we’ve been building bikes for customers, but we still wanted to keep, let’s say, 80% of the creative freedom we had when Justin and I started.”
They maintain their high degree of creative license by consistently producing attention-grabbing results, though that 20% of customer input is essential in ensuring the buyer will be pleased with the build at the end. Typically, the first step in a customer’s DP Customs build is for the Del Prado brothers to find out whether there’s anything that absolutely cannot be included in the bike. Some people just flat-out hate spoke wheels, for example, and want nothing to do with them.
“Ergonomically we talk about height, weight,” continues Del Prado. “We also ask how they are going to ride the bike, where they’re going to ride. If they’re going to carve up twisties we do more of a café style with really good shocks. If they’re just going to take it out for fun weekend rides we’ll go a different route. All that stuff is part of working with the customer, but the real look of it still comes from Justin and me.”
One bike that embodies much of what characterizes a DP Customs build is the del Rey, a 1970’s F1-inspired hardtail Sportster that takes its styling-cues from the Tyrrell Elf F1 racer. The Del Prado brothers are motorheads through and through, regardless of whether the engine is strapped to two wheels or four, and they often draw aesthetic inspiration from the race machines of bygone eras.
With a few motorsports-inspired builds already in the books, DP Customs often attracts other motorsports enthusiasts for builds of a similar stripe, as was the case with del Rey. The customer wanted a ’70’s F1-inspired build, the Del Prados suggested the Elf livery and from there it was a done deal. Beyond that, the customer had just a few requests.
“His only specific requirements for the bike were that it have a rocker shifter, so we built him a special rocker shifter, which we don’t normally do,” explains Del Prado. “And he definitely wanted pipe wrap on it to give it an old school look.”
The del Rey retains the stock Sportster fork, powdercoated and painted blue to match the frame. They were rebuilt and given a set of Progressive lowering springs that brought the front end down about two inches. The oil tank is a piece from Chassis Design Company that was tweaked to fit the configuration of the del Rey. It’s also got a Biltwell aluminum throttle, Tracker handlebars and Mushman footpegs.
If you’re wondering about the name, del Rey is a moniker that the Del Prados used early on because the customer is from Marina del Rey in California. It was initially just a place-holder, but in the end the name stuck.
The del Rey is one of many Justin and Jarrod wish were still in the shop, but such is life for the customizer.
If you have a cool custom, know a builder or are a builder yourself with great work to share, let us know. Send us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.