Metal crafter gives iconic bikes
“killer” looks

Words & Photos: John Gunnell

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Biker Hotline caught up with metal shaper Dave Byron at the NEW Motorama in Green Bay, Wis., where he was one of three artisans giving seminars on how to do panel beating. Byron is the spark plug behind a local outfit named Spence Industries that builds some of the prettiest bikes and cars in town.

One bike that Byron brought to the show was a ’67 Triumph Daytona 500 that he’s been playing around with for about 10 years. He likes the bike because it has a “really nice running engine” which has been completely gone through to make it hum in the custom package that Byron is shaping.

“When I got that bike it was a chopper,” said Byron. “Next, we turned it into an ice racer and now we’re doing it as a café racer. It has a custom tank, custom front fender and a custom tail section.”

Byron hand made all the parts for the Triumph and polished the metal himself. In his seminar, he was showing enthusiasts the wood buck he fabricated to shape the tank. He made the buck by hand. “Basically, I drew a side view and top view with the X’ and Y’ axis and then I filled in the Z’ axis.”

Byron said that Spence Industries is involved in quite a few motorcycle projects. “We try to find pictures of old racing bikes we can use for design concepts,” he explained. “One idea is based on a bike that Jean Amarone raced.”

Byron’s next metal working project is customizing a ’71 La Verda. “Because it’s an Italian bike, I thought up an idea for it,” said the metal crafter. “I also like the looks of the Moto Guzzi V-8 with the ‘dustbin’ fairing, so I want to modify the La Verda to look like that iconic design.” 

The Moto Guzzi 500cc V-8 was built for racing from 1955-‘57. It had a 90- degree DOHC engine with eight individual Dell'Orto carburetors. In 1955, it produced 68 hp and by 1957, that was raised to 72 hp.

The Moto Guzzi was actually raced with two different style fairings. One left the front wheel exposed, but the dustbin type covered more of the front of the bike and wheel. The choice of one or the other in racing varied by track and weather conditions. Dustbin fairings were considered susceptible to crosswinds.
For Dave Byron, the dustbin front end is the only way to go. He doesn’t plan to race the bike, he just wants to give it some killer looks. He hopes to finish the custom La Verda by the fall of 2016.


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