Drawing Parallels: Welcoming Two Wheels
Two-Wheeled Love

Change is exciting, but in this case it’s more of an addition than a true change. In the decade that Speedhunters has existed, we’ve cemented ourselves as a place to visit for inspiring automotive related culture. And the way we’ve approached it all has been with the most open mind possible, concentrating on the coolest stuff that the scene has ever thrown at us.

This pursuit of discovery has in turn helped our team of talented photojournalists embark on their own personal journeys, one where they’ve be constantly pushed to step out of their comfort zones, bringing back wild crazy stories, innovative perspectives, and, for the lack of a better word, kickass content.

But don’t worry, that’s not going to change. As of this month we’re adding a new component to Speedhunters, something that Paddy has already touched on in his June editorial. Bikes.

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This brings much joy to myself and the rest of the team as bike culture is currently enjoying exponential growth. Never before has there been so much happening on two wheels, and we’re beyond excited to start diving into it all in our own respective regions.

To kick it all off we paid a visit to an individual that should be familiar to you by now: Nigel Petrie of Engineered To Slide.

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I met Nigel back in 2013 at the World Time Attack Challenge where he unveiled his tube-frame drift Hilux. Nigel is one of those inspiring people in the scene that doesn’t follow or emulate; I wouldn’t even say he’s a trendsetter as that would imply he’s in it to create a style. Nigel’s simply a visionary fabricator and a self-taught builder of anything and everything cool – and he’s in it for the experience.

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And there’s our parallel. Over the last few years Nigel has slowly dedicated himself to building bikes. It’s a passion that goes back quite a long time but one that he’s giving more space to these days. “It’s a fun creative outlet,” he told me. Nigel is able to complete a project in a fraction of the time and cost of a car, and can get on and ride the final creation in the space of a few weeks.

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We spent a day with Nigel in his workshop behind his house, a place most car and bike guys would aspire to owning one day. It’s neatly organized with plenty of storage and filled to the brim with enough tools and machines to allow one’s imagination to run wild.

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Nigel had just completed a full clean up of every corner of his “shed,” doing away with unneeded clutter and parts to allow for a more focused work space.

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The newfound square meterage will soon be taken up by a lathe and some other metal-working equipment so Nigel can do more complex and challenging jobs in house. Keep in mind that Engineered To Slide is simply what Nigel devotes his spare time to; his main job is with Ford’s R&D facility just outside of Melbourne where he’s involved with the fabrication and testing of vehicles we’ll see on our roads in the coming years.

Drawing Inspiration
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While I admired the 1951 Harley-Davidson Hydra Glide that sits in the middle of his garage, Nigel told me how the bike cost him $100, which was the amount of money he spent buying raffle tickets at a bike show he attended in the US when he was out there during his honeymoon. Luck was on his side; he actually won the thing and subsequently brought it back to Australia with him.

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This model is the epitome of a classic Harley; it’s beautifully mechanical, impressively simple, and it has that instantly recognizable style of a big ’50s touring bike from the famous maker.

The bike is powered by Harley-Davidson’s famous Panhead V-Twin, and much like the rest of the bike it’s been left in its aged state. Externally anyway, the patina attempting to tell its close to 70-year-old history.

Just like with old cars it’s cool to see the variations on controls, like the foot clutch and hand-shifted 4-speed transmission. It must make the whole riding experience quite different from the modern way of changing gears.

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I wonder how many times that five-digit odometer has gone around?

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Nigel has no intention of altering any of the details on the bike; he just wants to maintain the way it looks and deal with issues as they occur. So it’s there in full view, serving as a source of inspiration for the other bikes in the process of being built.

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In fact, creating a place where creativity flows is an often overlooked aspect of a lot of shops. It’s something I see a lot of in Japan where space is such a premium commodity that often there’s no other choice but to surround yourself in chaos. One thing I really liked in Nigel’s workshop were the lamps which he made out of the carbs from an old bike his grandfather left him.

As I looked closer at a drag bike that sat under a massive stack of tires lining one side of the garage, Nigel told me it was an older build based on a 1951 T100 Triumph, and inspired by 1960s drag bikes.

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I sensed a lot of pride in this high-speed bike that Nigel built years back and took to the salt flats in Australia. He fabricated the frame and then dropped a stock KTM engine out of his old motocross bike and managed to set the fastest speed in his class.

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Half of the garage is dedicated to the bike side of things with a couple of trollies for current projects. Nigel’s fabricated and built pretty much everything in this place, including the small welding/engine build room.

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Much like Nigel’s drift builds, bikes have really brought him into the limelight.

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BMW has commissioned him to customize an R nine T, the idea being to transform the retro-themed air-cooled bike into something a little bit more special.

It’s a superb base for a bespoke build, a real blank canvas which Nigel will nip and tuck to further enhance the classic lines that are fused with the underlying modern chassis.

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The air-cooled horizontally opposed twin is a big visual link to BMW’s heritage, and it will soon be receiving a one-off exhaust system.

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However, the biggest visual detail will be the wheel that was chosen for the rear – an 18-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37 that Nigel used to run on his 180SX drift car. I mean, how could he have not taken advantage of the BMW swing arm and matching bolt pattern?!

Originally the TE37 was 10.5-inches wide, but once a carbon fiber half is custom built and bonded to the existing rim it will measure 6.5-inch. It will then be mated to a 200/50R18 tire.

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I personally can’t wait to see what the final bike looks like.

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Next to it was another of Nigel’s finished builds, this time based on a 1986 Harley-Davidson Sportster.

It runs a Honda CBR1000 front end and 15-inch Triumph Tiger Explorer wheels.

The motor has been stroked from 883cc to 1,200cc, and it runs a racing cam making it much more powerful than what the engine’s exterior hints at.

Other custom work includes the gear shifter linkage and the shortened swing arm that Nigel fabricated out of sheet metal.

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My favorite detail has to be the strips of LEDs that make up the headlight and taillight; they’re so simple but very effective as they emit an impressive amount of light.

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More importantly, they also make the bike totally road legal.

The Collection Continues
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Remember how I said the ’51 Harley was brought back after Nigel won the thing at a bike show he checked out in the US during his honeymoon?

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Well, that wasn’t the only thing he happened to pick up.

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The newlyweds’ journey started off with a hike all the way up to a small town in Maine where much internet searching and researching had led Nigel to a 1969 Ford Econoline 8-door van, which ultimately took them across the US.

The van would be serve as the perfect vehicle to transport the odd bike that Nigel found along the way. The first was this 1969 Bultaco, which was picked up at a charity auction in LA.

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The second was this 1967 Harley-Davidson Sportster chopper, a hard one not to like due to its unspoiled and authentic ’60s style.

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Since getting all his new toys back home to Australia, Nigel’s added a more fitting set of wheels to the Ford van and fully overhauled the Harley.

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My visit to Nigel’s place was probably at a bad time as he was getting ready for Meguiar’s MotorEx, which was going down the next day in central Melbourne.

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He had to prep his two drift cars for the event: the Hilux and his trusty old 180SX, which would be used for demo runs along with other Aussie drifters including Jake Jones and Beau Yates.

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So, while Nigel was busy setting up, I was taking in all the details of his workshop.

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He had to get a lot of stuff done, which first included fitting a remote-control winch on the inside of his trailer to facilitate the loading of his ute.

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I stayed out of his way but continued with the questions, continuously being fascinated about how his passion seems to be equally distributed between cars and bikes, and the different disciplines associated with them. It was interesting to hear his take on things, and inspiring too as we prepare to start featuring the bike scene here on Speedhunters.

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Nigel’s approach is a simple one; it’s all about extracting the most fun and satisfaction out of everything he’s involved with. And I think that’s what I’ll personally strive to do with bike-related content. There’s so much happening around the world, and just like with cars, Japan certainly seems to have one of the most diverse and often whacky cultures out there.

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You might be wondering what’s going on in these pictures…

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Well, Nigel had to fit his hydraulic lift post in position to lift his 180SX off the stands he fabricated.

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I won’t give away what the process is as I’d rather hear from you. So tell me – how you think he gets the car down and then up again?

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And speaking of the car, Nigel has so much love for his RPS13. He told me how he’s been through so much with it, getting started in the scene and perfecting his style both in driving and building.

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Engine-wise, it’s pretty straightforward with a 340whp SR20DET setup featuring a top-mounted Trust TD06LT turbo and Hypertune plenum, sitting in a bay with tubbed wheel arches to contain the extended steering angle. The RPS13 wears battle scars from a good decade of use and looks the part because of it. It’s quite the contrast to his naturally aspirated time attack S13 we saw last year at WTAC.

Loading Up
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With a fresh oil change executed on the Hilux it was time to move it out onto the street and into the trailer.

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Nigel first had to move the Lexus LC 500 that I had borrowed during my time in Melbourne. He was pretty impressed with the spaceship-like interior and equally futuristic design. Matt and I took this car out on an epic drive to the coast, so you’ll be reading all about that very soon. And yes, it’s miles better than the hybrid version we had last year!

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Words really can’t express the sheer presence this truck has.

Nigel was in for a long night because after driving his car to the MotorEx venue he had to come back, load up the 180SX and drive back out to Melbourne the following morning to prep for the day of demos.

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He didn’t seem stressed at all though, and more than happy to have me continue with the questioning and constant snapping.

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His dad drove up to help out with the preparation and enjoy a weekend watching Nigel do what he’s good at.

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By the time the Hilux was safely tucked away in the trailer, Matt arrived with the other Lexus press car we had for the weekend.

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That was a good thing as we needed to get some dramatic shots of Nigel’s shop once the sun had set. Luckily, Matt is quite handy with the old light painting technique and we finished the day with two awesome images of Nigel and his shop.

Now the question is, how excited are you to see bikes on Speedhunters, and more to the point, what exactly would you like to see? I really can’t wait to get stuck into this new side to Speedhunters!

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

Additional Photos by Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham
matt@mattheweveringham.com

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74 comments

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1

I’ve been waiting for this for a long time! Great news!!

Author2
Dino Dalle Carbonare

This will be a hell of a lot of fun!!! :D

3

Motorbikes, yay! :D

And this Volk, just WOW :O

Author4
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Wonder if Rays will look at this and realize what their next move should be haha

5

Awesome! Real car people find appreciation of almost anything transportation related. Bring on the bikes and vans for that matter! Keep up the great work we all enjoy, Thank you.

Author6
Dino Dalle Carbonare

We've featured vans in the past, the vanning scene in Japan is very interesting :)

7

Yes! More dajiban! There's got to be some standouts that would necessitate full features.

8

You couldn't find a better place to start as an introduction to this new side of Speedhunters, Nigel's builds and his shop are really impressive. And since you're taking requests, I'd love to see some good BMW and Ducati based bike features, or any track oriented sport bikes for that matter.

Author9
Dino Dalle Carbonare

We agree with you there, that's why I flew all the way down to Melbourne to spend a day with him. Top bloke, amazing workshop and plenty of creativity!

10

Uhh...can you guys send Larry to Isle of Man and have Jordan Butters or Matthew write the story? This needs to happen.

11
Matthew Everingham

Awww, JohnB! Can't I go to shoot instead? Isle of Man TT is pretty high on my bucket list.
Besides, Jordan is way more wordlier than I could ever be.

12
Paddy McGrath

I'm 100% pulling rank on this one for next year.

13

Haha I was just going to comment that Paddy needs to be sent camping on the Isle of Mann. When I was younger we camped out 20 feet from the track behind the cobblestone wall.

14

Dino, I think you need to send someone to the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham Alabama, which has a total of 1600 motorcycles, from the early 1900's, all the way to the modern day ones. They publicly display a total of 900 for visitors to see and also have the worlds most extensive Lotus race car collection, along with a host of other rare vehicles as well. I believe they have the worlds largest motorcycle collection.

I think us readers, love anytime SH staff do features on automotive museums and I'm sure wouldn't mind a feature on what is definitely, the best collection of motorcycles in the world.

I've been there, and simply the shear amount of motorcycles they have, will take your breath away.

Author15
Dino Dalle Carbonare

One for our US crew!

16

This is awesome news! But I have 1 request - cover ALL aspects of bikes. Yes cafe racers are cool (if you're into that thing), but there is much more to the scene. I'd love to see some indepth breakdowns of race-prepped sportbikes and such.

Author17
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Oh we'll definitely give the same approach to bikes as we have done with cars. In fact I will be visiting a Ducati shop in Japan which does crazy rare Italian street bikes including tuning them with the best parts on the market. Then got a chopper shop to visit... you'll see variety don't worry!

18

I enjoy watching the bike racing on TV, and in person at Pikes Peak, but I really know nothing about bikes. I'm looking forward to an education with this new content, so thanks!

19

Actually, that reminds me, a feature on the competition side-cars and their "monkies," like at Isle of Man and PPIHC, would be fun to see a feature on one day. Those guys are nuts to watch up close.

20

Ugh. Monkeys... brain fart.

21

An old school manual Harley, that would be nice to drive on Sundays. A very nice opening to the bikes scene.

You're asking a very hard question here Dino, there are a lot of epic bikes in market but since you're located in Japan I suggest a TURBO BUSA. (PS: they can reach 400 + Km/h)

Author22
Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's on the list. Plus I don't know what's happening as of late but I've seen so many Hayabusas on the highways these last few weekends

23

Maybe now you're giving them more attention than before since you've officially started hunting bikes, or the hype of Isle Of Man TT (like next week everyone will start play football/soccer because of the world cup).

24

Damn, I just commented on the Motorex post asking if you guys had checked out any of Nigel's work. I should have looked at the front page... Anyways its cool to see the bike stuff too!!

Author25
Dino Dalle Carbonare

haha no worries

26

Equal parts car, bike, and shop in this one, and I wouldn't have it any other way. GREAT article. Very well done. One of the best things on SpeedHunters this year!

Author27
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Tim, glad you like the approach :)

28
Mikko Kukkonen

This is good news. Just when I was starting to feel, that Speedhunters was getting a bit stale for me. I'm pretty sure it's just me, but in recent years I've sometimes found it hard to get REALLY excited by anything automotive. Cars have been my life for 30+ years, and I'm starting to feel like I've seen it all. Motorcycles on the other hand, have only been with me, on and off for about 20 years. Just as my taste in cars is diverse, I enjoy a lot of different kinds of bikes too. I've had enduro and motocross bikes, since I used to race them. I also had an '81 Suzuki GSX that I chopped up, followed by a '75 hard tail Ironhead chopper. My mood has always changed between favoring four, or two wheels, but I've mainly focused on the former. It's nice to see you branching out to motorcycles too. It helps to keep me inspired, even though I don't own a (steet) bike at this moment.

Author29
Dino Dalle Carbonare

It will help keep ourselves inspired too. Nothing like a bit of diversity to keep thing extra exciting right

30
Kazziman zulkefli

Check out Padin Musa of Abah & Sons from Malaysia. He had a custom Harley that he build it his own.

31
Kazziman Zulkefli

https://www.instagram.com/padinmusa/

I don't about that. Maybe you can ask him yourself. Check out his Instagram.

Author32
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Will he be at Art of Speed next month?

33
Mahesh Sukhram ZA

Another well scripted/documented feature. Great pics with supporting information (explaining the finer details). Enough personal information about the featured person wrt to his occupation, honeymoon etc to keep the article interesting.

Congrats to Nigel on his success and inspiring other people around the globe.

10/10 from me on this featured article.

34

Speedhunters + Motorcyle = Fuckin' Awesome!

Author35
Dino Dalle Carbonare

F&*k yeah!

36

Ill never get sick of seeing what Nigel has been creating in that garage of his!

37

This one is for the books Dino! Great job. I always admire Nigel and his projects and now that your featuring bikes here I can't even wait any longer since I went back to riding bikes again! Keep em coming. Hopefully I can meet Nigel when I go to Melbourne this year. Kudos to the Speedhunters team for bringing bike content.

Author38
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Loving all this positivity!

39

Wow! Awesome! My favourite website just got even better as a car guy who just recently bought a bike and just started to dig into the culture and wrenching.

40

Awesome shop, and impressive guy Nigel is.
I would love to see a Feature from Ritmo Sereno in Tokyo. Or maybe some of the bikes build by AC Sanctuary also in Japan. And finally i would love a visit to Racefit in the UK. They build amazing bikes.

Author41
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I will look into those, thanks for the tip

42

One word : YAS

I'm really happy with that, been waiting this for a long time. Plus, Japan as an amazing under-explored bike and custom culture.

Author43
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes it does :rubs hands together: ;)

44

Good to see SH branching out into donks and bikes as the articles were getting redundant. Also nice to see a spotlight on my home state of Florida. Y'all should really check out the grudge bike scene here in the south. There are street legal bikes that can run mid 6 seconds in the quarter mile.

Author45
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I've seen a documentary on that, looked very different to anything I'm used to seeing here

46

His dad also has very good taste. Land Cruiser <3

Author47
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah the Cruiser ended up saving the day apparently, the VW van went into limp mode so they had to dump it and use the Toyota to drive the trailer to the show venue

48

I'd love for you to make a visit to the Honda Collection Hall to cover their old race bikes.

A feature on a NR would be interesting to nearly everyone I think. (V-4, oval pistons, 8 valves per cylinder)

49

I'll add the 2 stroke NSR 500 to your list

50

Also RC166. 250cc straight 6, multi-piece roller bearing crankshaft, 18,000 rpm, and almost 300hp per liter in the 1960's! It is an absolute jewel of an engine and a whole editorial on Soichiro Honda is deserved.

51

They made an engine like this in the 1960's and now their F1 power plant fail to finish the race keep aside the shy performance (the chassis has a big part in the equation but still the engine is not a big deal compared to others).
I feel pity.

Author52
Dino Dalle Carbonare

A friend has just picked up an NR750 so I can do better than that! Oh but yeah the Collection Hall at Motegi really needs a visit. I've been there a million times, shot the sh1t out of the car floors but just looked at the bikes lol

53

A feature on that would be amazing.

54

These are great news! I´ve been wishing it since ever. I hope motorbikes at SH will get same format as cars do, meaning... features, bike hunting, shows, builders, shops, racing, events...the all deal.

My personal wish is that Dino can show us the Japanese Bike scene. It is as good as car scene and there isn´t a lot if information about it on the net.

Author55
Dino Dalle Carbonare

You know what, I think it's possibly bigger than the car scene. I have much investigating to do and just getting my head around it all is crazy haha

56

Lifts car with lift, sets on stands, removes lift. Done.

Author57
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah, sort of, but don't think those lifts lift the car up above the stands...that's where the trick lies...

58

then lift the lift :D

59

Man the growth here at Speedhunters is beyond exciting. It's like when I was in highschool and discovered you guys for the first time. Keep it up!

Author60
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks Mr. Ramen :) We are just as excited...

61

Excited about this too. Always been curious about what the nighttime bike scene is like

62

What a great guy to feature for the first motorcycle article. Interesting that a drifter expanded his interest into bikes, as Speedhunters is now doing.

63

Fantastic news! I can't wait to see some motorcycle related features!

64
OmerCarrothers

I hope you guys finally get around to doing a feature on Salinas Boys' Cole Foster. His bikes are amazing and so are his custom cars; Speedhunters might like his BMW 2800CS.

65

Neat. Now lets bet on how long it will take for them to cover the Suzuka 8 Hours, IMOTT, etc.

Also, I hope to God this doesn't turn into Café Racer Weekly.

Author66
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Ehm.... 8 hours? hahahaha

67

A photographer and a comedian, huh?

But seriously, though. Those classic Jap superbikes with an eye patch and a trophy to their name are as just as worthy of coverage as any riced up Nissan you can find on this website!

Then there are the Italians, the old Beemers, the 70s classics, maybe the silly scooter scene of Japan (if you're into that sort of thing).

So many possibilities.

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Author68
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Totally true, Japan is quite the place for unique bikes too. Scooters I really want to do, there's quite a big scene in Yokohama

69

Couldn't have come sooner. More please?

70
L3ON_TH3-N3RD

Been waiting for this for soooo long! Been into building cars and bikes since i was a kid. Would love to see some endurance racers, preferably classic 80's/90's but anything endurance would be cool. StuntBikes are cool to look at with the amount of work that goes into them. Jason Britton's Garage in Westminster, CA or Nick 'Apex' Brocha's Garage7 in Vegas would be cool to look at.

71

Finally!! If only we could get more video snippets of cars and bikes you cover please.

72

im sorry but does scooters count for them bikes?

if yes do pay taiwan a visit to check out the scoot scene (drag scoots) ^^

73

Bikes are cool and all, but you know what's cooler and not currently on Speedhunters?

...Trucks.

74

Awesome news. Plus Nigel Petrie' s work is an amazing way to highlight how you can share a passion for 2 and 4 wheels (and fabrication in general!)
Do yourself a favour and look through the Engineered to Slide blog to get an idea what this guy can do - and killer travel photos too!

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