There are few madder ideas than Boxer hot rods. We present two unhinged beauties, one a matt black rendition of Von Dutch’s finest, the other a metalflake tribute to Big Daddy.
"I've had some lovely bikes, but this time I wanted to have something I could say I'd built myself"
Nigel Broughton and Mark Phillips
With their garish metalflake, pinstripes, whitewalls and chunky rubber these two BMWs are just about the ultimate expressions of classic hot rod legends Big Daddy and Von Dutch. Which isn’t surprising since both Nigel Broughton, creator of the orange R80, and R100RS builder Mark Phillips, are lifelong devotees of the hot rod scene.
Nigel’s bike is very much in Big Daddy’s style. He says: “Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth was the daddy of the customisers. He started Choppers magazine in the States and I’ve always been a fan of his work so I had to use a Roth metalflake colour on my bike. There are different grades of metalflake – I used normal but you can also get super flake and micro flake.”
Roth wasn’t just into bikes. He was, according to ratfink.com (the website created to preserve his memory) ‘a hot-rodder, gearhead, mad scientist and artist who used to finance his inventions by selling his drawings and T-shirts at shows.’ Roth developed a gang of comic characters including Rat Fink and Beatnik Bandit, which Revell paid Roth royalties to use for their custom car model kits. He died in 2001 but his influences can still be found everywhere in contemporary hot rod and custom bike culture.
Mark’s route to his BMW is from his youth spent running around in cool cars: “I was born and bred a hot rodder. Before marriage I was into hot rods and it’s stuck.”
If Nigel’s BM is a tribute to Roth, then Mark’s is much more a celebration of Von Dutch (real name Kenneth Howard). He was a beatnik artist and earned fame, if not fortune, as a cult figure in the 1950s and 60s hot rod scene as a pinstriper. Von Dutch was also a talented machinist and customised virtually every medium that interested him – famously hand-tooling a collection of guns and knives. After Howard’s death in 1992 the Von Dutch name was sold by his daughters to become a worldwide clothing brand.
Nigel’s BMW is a 1980 R80 which he bought originally as a cafe racer. “I decided to rework it and wanted the big fat, long and wide look. I was given the headlight by a hot-rodder I know – it’s actually a 1945 Lucas King of the Road car headlight, modified to fit – and that led me to opting for the oversize wheels. I made them fit by offsetting the rear wheel and cutting away and scooping out the swingarm. It’s the kind a mod that racers did to run bigger rear racing rubber. The top and bottom yokes are new too – wider to accommodate the fat front tyre.”
The overwhelming feature in Mark’s build was whitewalls. He says: “I’ve had some lovely bikes (Deus W650, Seeley Honda, BMW cafe racers etc) but this time I wanted to have something I could say I built myself. “I bought the R100RS, dialled it in then in January started stripping it. My vision was always whitewalls – on red wheels. And predominantly satin black paint. And red baffles in the pipes. Pure hot rod styling!”
Nigel Broughton’s 1980 BMW R80
Tank scallops are original stampings. Crown is Roth style, from HGU, Germany. Speedo pod from MotoGadget. Tail-light from Crimescene Choppers. Seat by Glen Moger. Avon Gangster MT09-16 whitewalls front and rear. Moorespeed racing yokes top and bottom. Progressive Suspension shocks. Paint by Dave Bushby, Bournemouth.
Mark Phillips’ 1981 BMW R100RS
Alternator light is Roth-style eyeball. Koso mini digital speedo. Von Zeti subframe, seat and Monza cap. 34mm Mikunis. Paint by owner, Nerfarious decals, striping. 13in Falcon shocks. Armours exhausts. Anti Gravity lithium battery. Maxxis whitewalls.