Harley Turbo Salt Racer – Lucky Custom | Bike Tests | Latest Tests
Who says you need less salt in your diet? Why not go full tilt with the help of this turbo Harley from Lucky Custom in Argentina
IT’S EASY TO parrot the line ‘I don’t like Harleys’. It’s a simple trap to fall into – until you realise the huge selection of amazing customs that have been crafted out of Milwaukee’s finest. There are cafe racers, bobbers, choppers and flat-trackers aplenty, but my personal favourite has to be the rarely seen board-tracker style. And here’s the best one you’ll find – a stunning turbocharged Harley Evo-engined special crafted by Argentina’s Lucky Custom.
Dubbed ‘The Cheetah’, this gorgeous bike is the 47th build by the Córdoba-based workshop. So it’s safe to say the team there, led by Lucas Layum, know what they’re doing. They’ve produced all manner of bikes from every manufacturer and in every style you can imagine.
“This time I wanted to do something special to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our shop,” Lucas said. “I wanted something that showed everything we’d learnt in the last 10 years. The problem was… I only had an engine.”
Theory of Evolution
That engine was torn from an old Harley-Davidson Evo model. If you’re not well versed in the timeline of Harleys, the Evo engine was produced in the mid-1980s after the dire days of AMF producing increasingly questionable Shovelheads. The Evolution engine is a very reliable and well-built unit, albeit slower than a Miss Universe entrant. Lucas would change that.
The engine was taken out from 1340 to 1450cc, with a new set of forged pistons upping the compression. On the outside
the Evo is a heavy-looking donk that isn’t well suited to a slimline board-tracker, so Lucky Custom trimmed back the engine fins to make the barrels sleeker. But with plans for a turbocharger afoot, the heat needed to be dissipated somehow, so an oil cooler was added.
Eyes then turned to the frame. The entire tube steel frame was designed and fabricated in-house, but what really makes the whole thing pop is the art deco-inspired front fork. It was pinched from a diminutive 1960s Honda Dream scoot – and the fork could have been a Honda Nightmare for them, but it’s been beefed up to take the extra heft of the engine, and widened to take the massive front wheel. Both wheels are a whopping 23 inches in diameter and run an unusual star spoke pattern.
Up top the fuel tank is in two sections and connected through a series of hoses. A fuel pump is mounted inside one section, ensuring the Cheetah sucks in enough gas to feed the turbo. The oil tank, battery box and all the finned covers you see carefully placed around the bike were all built from scratch in the shop.
Everything was coming together for the team, but with all that assembled, the guys at Lucky Custom felt the bike was missing something. “We needed something to bring the look of the whole bike together,” Lucas said. “It was really difficult until I found a headlight from a 1940 model Ford that set it off perfectly.”
The Ford theme continues with the colour; the blue is a shade from the same time period, matched to some white and gold, with a fine fleck throughout.
The end result is an amazing blend of board-tracker, 1920s decadence and a smattering of 1950s hotrod thrown in for good measure. And with that turbo, the thing screams harder than an Exocet missile.
Lucas is especially proud of this build, for a simpler reason than you’d expect – unusually for a workshop in such high demand, he gets to keep this one.
“What I like most about this bike is that it’s staying mine!” he laughs. And it should, with the motorcycle being the end result of months of careful consideration and hard labour and the culmination of 10 years of work.
“Every part of it took imagination and lots of time to fabricate. And what you can’t see in the photos is how it handles. I absolutely love it!”
WORDS MARLON SLACK FOR PIPEBURN.COM PHOTOS RAUL ORIGLIA