Once the idea started to formulate, the first step was to find a bike that would lend itself most readily to being built economically, while still remaining true to what Union strives to do. This meant thinking outside the proverbial box. Shaping new body work from scratch was not an option due to time and budget constraints. The Chosen One would need to use Union body work ready to pull from existing tooling. Hello Gorgeous! A 1966 Ducati basket case scrambler, a customer trade for fab work, was the lucky girl. She came with two knockout punches: first, a clean title; second, a usable scrambler motor. Mike and Luke are partial to 5 speed scramblers for custom projects--one gets Dianna type quality for a fraction of the cost, plus the "turning a rare bike into a custom" guilt is a thing of the past.
Looking back at the gold Monza Mike had shaped body work for, it seemed the natural progression for GFTP to make another set. Luke, a dab hand if he does say so himself, completely rebuilt the motor. All parts are vapor honed and carefully reassembled, with Luke installing an electronic ignition and building a new wiring harness. Mike took care of fabbing all the brackets and making the frame mods. All black parts are finished in powder coat, and new rims, tires, and brake shoes have been installed. The exhaust and center stand are Union made.
The most interesting fabrication for this build was the pattern making and casting process for the rear sets. Having built the pattern for his 450 Desmo projects, it seemed fitting for Mike to put a second set on this bike.
Hats off to local help Interior Revolutions for the seat and Jon Hart for the paint. Special thanks to local youth who donated time to help keep this project moving forward.1967 BSA LightningA talented engine builder went through the motor of this one time basket case, but then lost interest as the flashier Spitfires, Rocket Goldstars, and Proddy Commandos kept his attentions focused elsewhere. An old comrade, he sweet talked us into taking on this project.
Like the builder before him, Mike started on the Bezza, but lost interest as a Bonny and Triton project turned his head and drew his affections away from this diamond in the rough. In spite of its brand new motor, it seemed that this little sleeper with a heart of gold would be relegated to watching life from its box on the sidelines of shops, until its fairy godcycle stepped in. Having captured the eye of one Caferacer TV, Union Motorcycle was asked to build a bike for one of their features.
Suddenly, everything old was new again. Pulling the Bezza to the front of the line, Union shaped a new first of their kind seat, tank, fairing, and side covers. GFTP put their name on the dance card with new molds and parts. The frame was heavily modified in concert with the with new body work. Rear sets, brackets, mounts, and miscellaneous hardware were fabbed up. No stock BSA bracket went untouched. We are especially keen on how the triple clamps, steering dampener mechanism, and fork caps all play together nicely. Countless hours on the lathe, mill, and welder resulted in every part looking period correct.Porter AermacchiIn and out through the space of 20 years and as many hands, this bike has orbited our collective, waiting for the right moment to make its grand entrance. Enter one Al Porter, local UMC customer, noted restorer, doting dad. He had an old BSA Victor that he wanted to turn into a street racer for daughter Kristin, soon to be collegiate graduate.
After pitching our case: 1) We have the bike! 2) I have the perfect seat in mind! 3) I need an excuse to shape it and hand it to GFTP for mold making! Al kindly let us talk him into building this Aermacchi, every father's dream!
Bret at GFTP had already built the fairing and tank over the course of its many owners, so the bike already had good bones. Still, much more was needed. We worked side by side with Al to position all the bodywork and build all the brackets. Luke engineered and fabbed up the rear sets. He also made the custom center stand and chain tensioner. Show off! Mike shaped the seat and built the aluminum exhaust shroud for the underside of the fairing. Oh yeah, did we mention that Al rebuilt the motor? Between her busy graduate schedule, Kristin also found time to get her hands dirty.
Once we got it into a solid mock up - Al took it Professional - and presto! change-o! returned with paint and polish all wrapped up. His attention to detail is great. We feel this Aermacchiavellian approach to a Harley Davidson Sprint project is one of the best times we've had. We think Kristin likes it, too.1947 Ariel Red Hunter 350007 likes his shaken, not stirred, and we like this Ariel renovated, but not restored. Raced in Northern Idaho hill climb events in the 50s by the original owner and his brother, it was then taken to a shop for restoration. Saving itself for something better, it was taken to another shop, then handed over to Luke. Waving a red flag in front of a Ransom, Mike bet Luke the bike would remain unfinished and never run again. Determined to get the bike up and running again, Luke hand fabbed many of the parts, including the push rods. A BSA part here, a Triumph part there, and now you have it. You only live twice.
Oh James!1965 Ducati 250 narrow caseFound objects: A Hoarder's Fairytale
Mike bought a set of tired old 35mm clips from a race bike that ran in the Eastern US and England. Too tired to restore, and too neat to throw away, they were hung on a wall, that happy resting place of two too many objects. While rummaging through his stash of Ducati singles parts in prep for another restoration project - Mike realized that he had enough old parts to build a "barn find Ducati." The challenge was to rebuild the bike using only parts found on the premises. The goal was achieved on everything but the seat cover, chain, and a few cables.
A Wards Riverside tank was scrounged up, and new old stock tires were found in the corner of the barn. Clip ons were pulled from the wall and sleeved down to fit the Ducati's little fork tubes. An old set of Norton fork tubes donated their steel to make the sleeves (we love cross breeding!). An old GFTP seat (also a wall hanger) was cut in half and widened by Mike to fit the new subframe built for the project. An old set of GFTP Ducati replica number plates were skirted for the sides, and a factory Ducati front number plate was installed. Luke did a little carb work and a lot of stator and wiring harness work. Mike repaired the shift mechanism, and the little Diavel fired up on the third kick.
Not quite yet familiar with big city manners, this little hayseed can't remember to use its inside voice, and likes to let you know it's coming from about a mile away.