The Auto Fabrica Type 6: Reduced to perfection

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
In Japan, there is a design theory called Kanso (簡素)—meaning simplicity, or the elimination of clutter. And every time I see an Auto Fabrica bike, I’m reminded of that fine principle.

The machines that roll out of the English workshop are reduced to the bare minimum, but beautifully finished. And this extraordinary build, called simply Type 6, is Auto Fabrica’s best work yet.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
Most shops have a bike that’s been kicking around since the beginnings of time, and that’s the story with this Yamaha. “It’s one of four XS650s we rescued from a farm in the depths of rural Cornwall,” says shop owner Bujar Muharremi. “A lucky find that effectively kickstarted our company.”

We’ve come to expect stellar levels of craft and finish from Auto Fabrica, but the Type 6 adds impeccable industrial design to the mix.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
“We strived to achieve a bike which was executed perfectly and epitomizes what we see as a ‘real’ custom motorcycle—simplicity in form, complexity in detail.”

Bujar and his crew spend a huge amount of time on preliminary design before they pick up the grinders. Starting with hand sketching and moving on to Photoshop renderings, they create the bike in the virtual world before turning the vision into metal.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
This time, the objective was to push the physical limits with panel beating. “We spent a lot of time trying to balance clean graphics with highly complex and organic surfacing, to achieve a clean yet interesting design.”

Much of that cleanliness comes from the tank and seat base, a single elegant unit formed from 2.5-millimeter aluminum. The XS650 frame has been modified by lowering the headstock two inches and moving it back slightly, creating the strong top line that flows from the headlight to the rear cowl.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
The forks look especially sleek: they’ve been overhauled and fitted with stainless steel covers that conceal the bottom yoke and add a touch of Art Deco style.

The engine of the XS650 was pretty handsome straight from the factory, but it’s been elevated to a whole new level here.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
“Inspired by some other great builds, we took time to design a single carb conversion. We continued the line of the exhausts all the way through to the filter,” says Bujar.

“You can trick the eye by placing the single inlet on the opposite side to the exhaust outlet positions, to create an asymmetric balance.” It might be a trick, but it works well.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
The engine has been fully rebuilt with 0.5-oversize pistons. It looks just as good on the outside as in, with a textured paint finish for the top and raw metal lower down.

Auto Fabrica love the matte finish that aqua blasting gives to bare metal, so the engine casings and aluminum parts all went into the blast cabinet.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
The exhaust pipes are handmade in stainless steel, and bent into perfect curves. They look like unmuffled pipes, but have custom baffles hidden inside.

“We could have kept them straight through and raw, but with the refinement of the bike as a whole, we needed a more refined exhaust note—as well as the correct back pressure.”

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
The rear wheel is built on the standard hub, but it’s now laced to an 18-inch alloy rim with stainless spokes. Up front is a beautiful Laverda SF750 twin leading shoe hub laced to a 19-inch alloy rim, with a custom brake switch located on the TLS arms.

The bodywork is almost impossibly sleek, so it’d be a shame to have clunky bars up front. To maintain the theme, Auto Fabrica fitted slim clip-ons and then created a custom wrap that forms a smooth loop. It’s a neat solution that matches the inverted stainless steel brake and clutch levers.

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.
We’ve only the skimmed the surface of this build, because it’s often the ‘simple’-looking bikes that involve the most work. (As Mark Twain famously said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”)

The Type 6 is for sale. If you’d like to examine it at your leisure in your own garage, contact Auto Fabrica via their website.

Auto Fabrica | Facebook | Instagram | Images: Julien Brightwell, Bujar Muharremi

An extraordinary custom Yamaha XS650 built by the English workshop Auto Fabrica.