Warbird motorcycle

Warbird: the aircraft-engined motorcycle
By guest writer Diesel of Visual Gratification. Say hello to the Warbird. I would rather call this a piece of art than a motorcycle. But this beauty is not just a piece of art, it’s a real bike. It’s the first product from the creative hands of Canadian Ian Douglas, and what separates it from other custom bikes is what’s inside this beast. It’s based on the cylinders and heads from a radial engine, and the accessories related to that motor are from a full-size aircraft engine. This monstrous V-Twin displaces 3129cc, with a bore and stroke ratio of 5.125″ x 4.625″. Ian has literally designed the whole bike—including the crankcase—to house this mammoth, and everything was built or mated or fused by Douglas in-house. He designed and made the casting patterns, and did all the required machining, while the casting itself was done by the OBCO foundry in Richmond B.C. (Many aviation components were provided by Radial Engines). It took Ian two years to create this beauty, but what a product! On the tank, you can see a pin-up girl—the creation of a “very talented local girl named Jennie Persak”—while the overall painting was done by George Kanavaros, an experienced aviation painter. On his website, Douglas says, “Warbird, my latest build, was born out of a combined love of vintage aircraft engines and similar period motorcycles. The engine is a scratch designed/built power-plant that utilizes WWII radial aircraft cylinders and a one-off hand built crank case. The response to the bike has been truly amazing. I must have struck a nerve with people, as we have been flooded with requests for more information.” Visit the Warbird website and check out the photo gallery section while you’re there. This truly is a masterpiece worth appreciating. [Photographer/image copyright Ian Douglas.]

A note from Diesel: This is the fifth and last post from me for Bike EXIF. Chris emailed me to ask if I’d be the guest editor for five days—although he wanted a break, he didn’t want the website to take one. I was more than happy to fill in, and I hope I have been able to maintain Bike EXIF’s high quality of posts. I must say it is no easy job to post something new and exciting every day, especially when the motorcycles featured are so rare and classy! My best wishes to Chris and all the Bike EXIF readers for a very prosperous New Year.